Starting in Todmorden town centre. This walk goes up the hillside, a circular rout to emerge on the main Burnley (A646) road.
Arriving in the town I headed off to see the Quaker Graveyard and look around the Church that has a huge black spire dominating the town on the hill in the Salford area. On a previous walk I had confused the route into Todmorden after coming down from Stoodly Pike through Lumbutts out along the long lane and instead of continuing, I took the Millennium Marked Calderdale Way at Croft Farm. So missing the Quaker graveyard.
CALDERDALE WAY Logo
The Calderdale Way at some junctions can be extremely confusing, as one sign is known as the Link Path which links to others and to the nearest local transport (Bus). The other shown here is the onward route sign. Great idea in theory but in practice must lose lots of walkers.
You cant miss the tall blackened church spire behind the pub as you walk from the Town hall and the main roundabout along Rochdale Road:
Built by the sons of ‘Honest John’ Fielden it was modelled as a small cathedral in 14th century Gothic style. John Gibson being the architect (who had worked with Charles Barry on the Houses Of Parliament) had previously built for the brothers; the nearby Debroyd Castle. He later was responsible for the Town Hall and the Fielden’s school. The family dominated the town being rich farmers, mills and land owners. “At the time when Henry VIII reigned there lived a Jeffrie ffielden a yeoman farmer. His son James Fielden, also a yeoman farmer, had a daughter Elizabeth and she married her cousin Abraham Fielden. Abraham was the son of Nicholas Fielden and Christobel Stansfield” – From the Fielden Society.
The church was opened in April 1869. Curiously inside the Todmorden Unitarian Church the large round stained glass window celebrates several spinning Sun motifs. Rather curios for a church? Somewhat reminiscent of other locations, with Swastika like wheel spokes and resembling certain Masonic mandala likened ‘ sun’ iconography.
On close inspection the ‘spinning arms’ are curved leaves, even so such symbolism has nothing that I can establish being associated with Christianity.
Walking up the steep lane past the church and just before open countryside,with rough moorland and the dominating Tower of Stoodly Pike (built 1815 commemorating the Battle of Waterloo and defeat of Napoleon.) There is a a location surrounded by huge Beech trees. It was a windy day but here it was peaceful and sheltered. This walled beach tree garden reminded me of the tree sanctuaries of the ancient Druids as detailed by Robert Graves in his book The White Goddess. Another to that is that Mytholmroyd poet Ted Hughes was a student and friend of Graves. It is here that the Shrewbread Quaker Burial ground (1668) is located:
Quaker Burial Ground (1668) Todmorden
Back down the hill to to town you come to Fielden Square with its mill machinery and information plaque. Turn left away from the town centre and cross over and go along along Rochdale Road until you see the John Fielden (MP) house:
Almost immediately after the house turning left at Dobroyd Road, go up the lane, crossing the canal bridge and then up over the railway crossing then going right and up the hill in the forest:
Going up Dobroyd Looking back – a train passes below.
Heading up a steep winding tree-lined road, to come out at the gatehouse to Dobroyd Castle. Passing the entrance straight ahead onto and along Stones Road.
Go along Stones Road, continue around a sharp bend and up again. Magnificent views of the valley below:
ZOOM: Train Line and Masons arms far away in the valley below.Eventually you rise enough to see the blackened stone of Debroyd Castle and over in the far distance Stoodley Pike. Eventually Stones Road runs out at a small group of houses (The Stones) and the Calderdale way is then signposted to the right through a grassy area with lots of Horse Chestnut trees. I almost took this route without thinking, but as I looked at the path alongside the wall enclosing the houses a huge stone in-front of one house over the wall caught my eye.
Looking over the wall, almost tumbling into the house is a large stone. It looked to me like a dislodged capstone, perhaps once ontop of stones beneath and covered with earth: a Neolithic Dolmen or Tumulus? This got me interested so I went further up the rack to go around the back of the stone to see more. But around the rear was a huge wall, probably built to shield the small hamlet from the winds, which swept across from the open moorland behind. Then as I looked at the moor; right in front of me below in a field was a huge black standing stone:
I was very surprised as I know or thought I knew the area and I had never heard a mention about such a large standing stone near Todmorden. I soon realised why this small hamlet was called Stone. It had Stone Road leading up to it and around the side another lane wound around and past the standing stone and off into the distance: Stones Lane. Everything around was to do with Stones – Neolithic ones. Here follows some more pictures of the standing stone or Menhir.
Mid October and the Toadstools and Mushrooms were opening around the Stone. Coincidence as both Standing Stone’s and such Fungi are associated with Witchcraft. I heard later after this walk that the area of Todmorden is known in UFO circles as: The Pennine UFO Triangle – a UFO hot spot. The town according to some sits on 3 lay lines, and has a history of unusual things taking place including large black panther looking cats a policeman supposedly abducted by aliens, and a witch called Sybil. This lady allegedly sold her soul to the devil near Eagles Crag above Cornholm further up the valley along the A646, and not far from the Catholes Stone near Lydgate, the Great Bridestones and the Whirlaw stones causeway and its Megalith rock art. There was a witchcraft associated murder here in 2003. So its no wonder the Town has been passed over time from being in Lancashire to now being in Yorkshire! And I can’t help associate my sighting of a UFO on the morning I set out for this walk – with such coincidences that I found out about later.
I looked around the field and went over to more stones – small ones adorning an entrance to a spring, or maybe another stone once stood here too? Then in the top corner of the field I saw another Stone this time a much slender looking one. Another walker mentions these Stones in his blog Ravens Rambles, it shows the slender Stone on a bright day. Notice in his picture the contrail or ‘Chemtrail‘ in the sky, there is a major amount of this activity in the area.
Now that is a curious stone, very slender, tall and set into a round base stone, it sits ontop of a mound the same height as the possible stone ‘Tumulus’ remains at the house opposite. The location is called; Centre Hill, but known locally as Beacon Hill. This stone may possible have been moved to this position and had the base specially made to support it, or maybe it was always so. Whatever the case it has all the appearance of being ‘looked after’. It made me wonder what is beneath it? And this episide reminded me to watch again a great set of videos: Standing With Stones.
I went back down the field and out through the gate and back down the track passing again the Stone ‘Tumulus’ house back to continue on the Calderdale Way: The photograph below shows the signpost and from this angle it looks like its pointing directly to the position of that stone I was just sitting next to up there on the hill just behind the Beech trees:
A lady on the path told me that the area, after I had asked, “was linked to witchcraft in the past, around the houses and the stones”; she said. The lane goes past two odd square houses on the right, which are attached to a large ruin behind. And in front a small cottage; with several stone heads with medieval appearance possibly also representations of the ‘Green Man’.
The views across the valley towards Stoodley Pike and showing the Dobroyd Castle, both built by the Fielden’s and curiously lining up to some extent with the hill of the Stones on this opposite Beacon Hill to the one at Stoodley Pike: could this be a Ley-Line?
According John Michell and in the book The Sun And The Serpent: by Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst: the Earth energy flows like a snaking river and not in a straight line, but certainly meeting at nodal points along its path: Castles, Standing Stones, Cairns, monoliths churches etc.
Back to the cottage and a close up of the heads on the building and a pixie figure inlaid in the wall opposite the house:
Straight on past this cottage to a wooden style. Instead of going straight on along the wall in front go instead left and diagonally up the hill. You find yourself on a cut out track. It looks like an ancient earthwork snaking up the hill. It was also full of Toadstools and Mushrooms like those near the first Standing Stone; but here all types and varieties.
So, up the hill and through a style in a wall, then keeping the wall on the left continue along through several open stone styles, until you reach the road.
Going straight ahead along the road (Parkin Lane) for a short few yards and turn sharp right and down the track towards some houses.
At the bottom of this short lane at Kailys Barn, the track curves round and at the edge of the garden there is an almost covered-over-path. There is a sign-post pointing at it.
Take this walled path (Todmorden Edge) and go right down to a gate with an unusual Cast Iron post with a spring and a stream and a dangerous drop below on the left. Be careful here.
Entering the woods, the view across the valley:
Follow the path down through the woods.
Reaching the road turn left and go right along, down through Ewood until you reach the main Todmorden Burnley road ( A 646).
Passing the Fielden centre:
At the main road I turned left and back to Todmorden, making this a fairly short walk, but very interesting (apx 4 miles).To continue on the Calderdale Way go left towards Lidgate.
Another description of this same walk can be found at: SMASHINGHILLS.com
Some further notes:
Stoodly Pike dominates the entire landscape in the area, one time long before the Freemasons erected their tower the spot was associated with previous probably Neolithic monuments. It was a beacon hill – in line with another with the same name. Standing stones and towers have ancient beginnings. England was once covered with a vast network of standing stones, monoliths. Such structures were very important in ancient Egypt. (It could be said that such towers have a subconscious imperative in human conciousness, Stoodly Pike like a stone version of its modern London eequivalentnt: The Shard)
An Earlier Fielden – Joshua – Stoodly Pike and Local Freemasons
Todmorden. An obelisk, it’s part of a trend which Alan Moore called ‘the great Masonic obelisk siting drive of the nineteenth century’. The obelisk design of the tower is a ‘…reflection of patron Samuel Fielden’s Freemasonry’ and of the society of the time’s obsession with Egyptology.
The commitee for the building of the Monument: Stoodly Pike:
Chairman. John Fielden of Dobroyd.
Treasurer. Samuel Fielden of Centre Vale.
J. Ingham, Joshua Fielden of Stansfield Hall, John Eastwood,
Edward Lord, John Veevers, Wm. Greenwood of Stones, J. Green (architect), John Lacy and Mr. Knowles of Lumb (secretary).
Taken from part 4 of the Fielden Trail.
More local connections with Fielden’s and Stoodly Pike
The Fielden Trail a Walk with History
NEXT ON THE CALDERDALE WAY
The end of this walk links to the next stage of the Calderdale Way: Links to the next stage going through Harley Wood up onto the moor and on to Blackshaw Head. Todmorden To Blackshaw Head.