Curlews for Company

A walk from The Crossroads Inn, Wainstalls, Halifax | 6 miles

A former mill village 300 metres above sea level and just below moortop turbines, Wainstalls feels further away from Halifax than three miles and provides the starting point of a varied, three-part walk.

A pair of reservoirs are followed by a trek across lonely moorland before the finale of Luddenden Dean with its woodland nature reserve and fine views down the valley towards Booth.

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Head to and through Wainstalls. Beside the sign for Castle Carr Road turn right over a stile onto a footpath.

Cross a wall via a stile then a second wall and at the road turn left.


Keep ahead where the road becomes a gravel lane. Just after a private road sign turn left over a step-stile and bear right.

Ascend a slope to the first reservoir (Leadbeaters) and, at the first corner, bear right heading to and up a slope to the second reservoir (Haigh Cote).


Bear right then left on the track to pass Haigh Cote Barn. As the track bears right towards Moorlands Farm keep ahead and up a track past a telegraph pole.

Turn left at the road and after the windfarm building fork left down a track and through a gate. Immediately bear right away from Withens Head Farm.


In front of Slade Farm cross the track and follow the path to the left of the wall.

Head to and through a metal gate then out on a sometimes indistinct path across the moor heading to the left of the Rocking Stone, diverting if you wish to visit.


After the Stone the path is cairned and easier to follow.

Descend to the road at the Castle Carr gatehouse (see below). Turn left onto the road. Where it bears left continue ahead passing a sign saying 'No through road'. At a farm with lots of cars fork and bear right to descend past another farm.

To visit Luddenden Dean churchyard turn right at the road and continue for 0.3 miles then return.


At the road turn right then soon left towards The Hullet.

Pass to the right of the house and bear left to descend into the wood.

Ignore a sign for Saltonstall and at a t-junction of paths bear left to pass a reedy lake.


Go through a gate and turn left and up a steep bank via steps.

Cross the road and continue up the bank on more steps. Turn left at the road.

As it bears left turn right signed to Long Ridding Farm then after 20m left down a stony track and later path.


Eventually, pass over a stile and up to and through a fieldgate. Turn left onto the concrete lane.

Follow it as it bears sharp right and up to the Crossroads Inn.

And what about lunch?

The Crossroads Inn, Wainstalls. A traditional West Riding hostelry with six en-suite letting rooms. Choose a "proper Yorkshire roast dinner" on Sunday or perhaps try the early bird menu between 12 noon and 2pm and 5pm and 7pm during the week.

What are the best bits?

Wainstalls: The Wainstall Waifs were 250 girls who moved to the village from the workhouses of Liverpool in the late 19th century to work in Calvert's mills. They benefited from the fresh moorland air and learnt a trade of worsted spinners. Some of the girls were buried in the Luddenden Dean church yard nearby. The main employer in the village today is Heights which manufactures graphic arts equipment here. Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockcroft was a pupil at Wainstalls primary school.

Castle Carr gateway: A gateway of two castellated towers connected by an arch leads to the Castle Carr estate (private). The castle was a mock Tudor/Norman structure built in the 1860s with a water garden featuring a 130ft tall fountain, the second highest in England. The site was too isolated, the building was damp and disputes with locals over rights of way meant it was never fully inhabited. The castle was largely demolished in the 1960s.

Luddenden Dean: In the wood look out for long-tailed tits high in the trees, woodpeckers, treecreepers and nuthatches as well as overwintering redwings and fieldfares. Celandines and wood anemones brighten the woodland floor in spring followed by bluebells.

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