Walk l
West Field, River Wharfe and the mill settlement

Walk down Main Street with Green Terrace on your right. At its south end is Angle House with its 1877 datestone in Chapel Lane. Continue along Main Street past School House, thought to have been rebuilt in the early 1700s from a sixteenth century building of cruck construction.

Take the next right (Church Lane), passing on the left Green Cottage with its semi-circular projecting chimney stack. At the top of the lane is Hebden Church, consecrated in 1841 as a chapel-of-ease. Prior to this date parishioners made much use of the path across the fields to the "mother church" at Linton. It starts directly ahead, passing through a field gate (1 on the map), alongside which is a sign "Footpath to Linton and Grassington".

The path runs through the centre of the medieval West Field, rich in history and still displaying signs of the time when it was largely arable. With a wall on the left, head towards a gate in the corner of the first field. Keep close to the wall in the next field and at the far corner climb a step stile. With a wall now on the right, climb sharply towards another stile, this time with a small gate at its top. At this point (2) it is worth looking back at the wall snaking towards Hebden church, its reverse "S" shape clearly reflecting the pattern of medieval ploughing and the need to have suffi-cient space to turn a large ox-team.

The path now enters the area known in medieval times as Cross Thornes (today Crawthorns), a name suggesting a hedged enclosure. Hawthorns and ash trees growing along lines of former walling are still to be seen. After crossing another step stile straight ahead, the path suddenly becomes less obvious. Turn right immedi-ately over the stile and keep hard by the wall on the right to reach a signpost. Follow the direction indicated, heading just to the left of a prominent ash tree to a narrow gate in the corner of the field (3).

From here the route is clear as it continues in a virtually straight line, cutting across long and narrow enclosures. Their shapes are a reflection of medieval strip cultivation, as is the fact that one was still in triple ownership at the time of the 1846 Tithe Award.

A clearly signed "dog's leg" takes the path over Howgill Beck and into Grassington township. The route continues to be either obvious on the ground or signed where there might be doubt, eventually dropping down to cross Hebden's original western boundary at Isingdale Beck. Keep straight ahead until the River Wharfe and the step-ping stones to Linton church suddenly appear in view (4).

Turn round and briefly follow the same route in reverse, forking right after a few yards to join the Dales Way long-distance path. This heads across a large field and then hugs the wooded banks of the River Wharfe. Howgill Beck is crossed again to re-enter Hebden.

Eventually the Dales Way reaches the suspension bridge (5), a lasting memorial to the skills of local blacksmith William Bell, who built it in 1885 (page 78). After a last look at the Wharfe, head back towards the village, turning right onto the "Skuff" road and then immediately left once across the bridge over Hebden Beck. On the right is The Grange (6), formerly the corn mill.

The route runs between two houses, beyond which on the right is the high retain-ing wall of the now demolished cotton mill built in 1791. A signpost showing four separate paths is soon reached. To continue on Walk 2 and thus create a figure-of-eight route, turn right at this point and follow the "Bank Top" sign.

Otherwise veer slightly left (signed "Hebden") and cross the beck again, passing both the former mill dams and today's fish farm. The prominent mound on the right is the spoil from the Hebden Moor Mining Company's last great venture (page 62) and on top of it are the ruins of William Bell's smithy. The path stays close to the beck before climbing up a cobbled causeway to regain Main Street.

Maintained by Hebden Parish Council

Top