Thursday, 8 February 2018

Kirkstall Forge to Arthington & Bramhope 07/02/18

9.1 miles, via Horsforth Woodside, Horsforth, Cookridge, Breary Marsh, Bramhope,
 Creskeld Hall, Arthington Viaduct, & Arthington Junction.

New Boots! Pair #6b.
Season #7 launches whilst I'm in the midst of an 11 day break from work, taking time out to visit My Parents for a long weekend, and to go see My Sister to catch up on last year, and to also to get this thing started again as we lapse out of the Dark Season, especially as I have new pair of lightweight boots to road test, acquired from Cotton Traders at Batley Mill for not a whole lot of coins, when I wasn't even looking for any, hopefully durable enough to survive me pounding them around the city, whilst my regulars can be reserved for the country trails. So away as Winter sunshine beats down on a Wednesday morning, not starting too early as it's freakishly cold, hopeful that the window of clear skies will last long enough, a familiar risk at this time of year, and so we disembark at Kirkstall Forge at 10.40am, with a trail ready in my mind, plotted as the alternate finale between Aire and Wharfe for 2017, so we shouldn't need maps for this trip. The Kirkstall Forge development still amounts to no more than a single office building, two car parks and a lot of cleared post industrial land, but to seems the first building task was to secure the banks of the River Aire, which bisects the site, to insure the future riverside development doesn't get inundated, and the channel is crossed to follow the new access road up to the A65 Abbey Road, emerging where it crosses Oil Mill Beck. The passage down the wooded clough to the north is the route we will follow, for the third time, by a different route as Hawksworth Road brings suburban living to a ribbon of plots along side the beck and the looming banks of primordial trees, a familiar sight around these parts of Horsforth Woodside, and we soon have risen to meet the Bridge Inn and the mill conversion at the bottom of Butcher Hill, along with the feeling that some points in this city will always be a locus of convergence, where trails from all different directions will meet, cross and disperse. 

All we have of the Kirkstall Forge development so far, plus the Rive Aire.

Hawksworth Road provide suburbia in Horsforth Woodside.

That's the feeling that comes with Low Lane, often seen as it passes over the A6120 Ring Road, by the Miller & Carter steakhouse, this time following it on north rather than breaking west to the town or east to the woods, rising on, as it demonstrates seeming all the periods of Horsforth's growth as a town and development as a suburb, arranged seemingly randomly, and also find St James Woodside hiding away behind the houses as we go. Rise high above the wooded cleft around Old Mill Beck, and admire the TPP building newly built to look old, while further along is the authentically old Troy Mill, at the bottom of Troy Road, which leads us up to Station Road, and here's another familiar convergence point in West Leeds, passing over the bridge at the throat of Horsforth station. Rise to the north, again on a fresh trajectory through a corner well walked, following Tinshill Road as it passes above the spread of suburban Cookridge to the west, with enough remains of the old plantation enduring to give it some distinctive separation from the Tinshill estate to the east, and elevation gives me a chance to test the telephoto capabilities of my new Lumix, taking shots in the direction of the aircraft at Leeds & Bradford airport, far away on a distant hillside. Drop out on Otley Old Road by Cookridge Methodist church, among the crowd gathering to use the crèche, and trace northwards as it passes the edge of the Holt Park estate and the Cookridge Hall golf course entrance, finally arriving on the edge of the city as we depart the pavements to join Pinfold Lane as it traces the Leeds Country Way route around the Old Modernians playing fields and the Scouts hut. We also get a clear view from the high plateau between Aire and Wharfe as sight is glimpsed of Almscliff Crag, looming above Bramhope's rooftops, a direction we'll be setting, away from the route to Golden Acre Park, and testing the new boots on fields as we get some sticky going on the route alongside Marshes Plantation, which thankfully turns to frozen tundra beyond Marsh Beck. Run in to The Sycamores alongside playing fields that seem a bit too grand for the local sports club, which turn out to be the home of West Leeds RUFC, which might explain the outsize grandstand, and then we meet the A660 Leeds Road, by the Wine Shop, and trace it north on Bramhope's suburban edge, getting my first test of my Lumix's battery life before we join Creskeld Lane to start the dive down into Wharfedale, passing through the expensive end of Bramhope on the way, which is probably an apt description for the whole village if we're really being honest.

Low Lane, Horsforth, and its many building periods.

Tinshill Road, Cookridge, suburbia at altitude.

Cross-Countrying it from Cookridge to Bramhope.

Creskeld Lane, at Bramhope's expensive end.

The village growth stretches on past the Breary Lane East corner for quite a way, ensuring some fine views from the many back windows of the houses, which finally ends as we meet the bank with Wood Top farm upon it, swinging around and through the woods to receive a fine view across Wharfedale when we re-emerge, looking across to the Washburn valley and Norwood Edge, with the Snow clad moors rising far in the distance beyond. On down though the woods again, in a deep groove with care take to avoid the traffic again, greeting the Border Collie out patrolling the fields before we swing down into the fields that spread out on the north side of the Wharfe, passing the Swiss Cottage and the bold hedges which surround Creskeld Hall, only briefly glimpsed, and not from its best angle as viewed from its driveway, loitering in the shadow of the railway embankment carrying the line to Harrogate. Attention can focus forward from here, as we run up to Creskeld Grange, home to its own Fresian herd, and the outer western edge of Arthington, clustered around the Chapel conversion, and sight of our destination comes clear, of Arthington (or Wharfedale) viaduct, rising over the Wharfe at the far end of Warren Lane. Down there we head, using the camera to photograph the distant Arthington Hall, and the nearby perching Starling, running right up to the edge of massive railway embankment, and finding some nice house down here beyond Warren Farm, though their location seems tenuous until you find the remains of the old pumping station by the riverside. attention can then focus on the viaduct, soaring over the river on a long 500 yard curve, on 21 broad arches and still going strong since opening in 1849, and I'm frankly delighted to have arrived with the winter sun still in the sky and perfectly located for illumination, which shows I got my timing right to arrive here three hours into the day. I'd loiter for late lunch if it wasn't so damned cold, which the feet are feeling now, so no route will be made down the right of way to the former Castley ford, and thus tracks must be retraced after taking many pictures from both sides of the viaduct's arc, rejoining the track down to the sewage works and doing my best to hammer it out on tiring legs, knowing that the route back will be all uphill as the bus service on the A659 is just too irregular to be useful and a break in the Wharfedale Inn would scupper my day completely.

Wharfedale revealed from Creskeld Lane.

Creskeld Grange, and company, Arthington.

The Waterworks houses, Warren Lane.

Arthington Viaduct, and the River Wharfe.

We still having things to seek out once we've passed under the railway's Pool Bridge though, heading up Station Road, past the previously observed Railway cottages, and alongside the embankment, to find my new camera is much better at looking into the sun than old one was, as we seek out the remains of the of NER Arthington Junction, and its associated station, which ran services through to Otley from north and south from 1865 to 1965. The line is obvious from the tree line heading to the west, and the road passes a big cattle creep before meeting the large bridge below the northern side of the triangle, the lane heading up to the station, now largely concealed by fences but still enduring in private hands, whilst the footpath carries on to the passage below the southern arm, offering no sight of the gasworks building inside the triangle, hidden away by more fences. Pass under the southern arm, hopeful that the line to Pool and Otley may one day revive, and head uphill as the old railway swings west, and the contemporary one runs south to meet the southern end of the triangle, where the station's foot tunnel still endures, meaning it surely had four platforms at its peak, and then we'll stick to the path as it rises south, hopeful of getting a look to the distant Bramhope Tunnel, which can be seen with a telephoto-ed picture, though my eye mistakes the speed limit sign for apparent light from the southern end, more than 2 miles away. Stick to the edge of the railway's plot, as the footpath wanders off towards Staircase Lane, because I want another look at the north tunnel portal, but when I can sneak into the plot, I'm way higher than the top of the portal, deep in the woods below, and it's far to steep to approach directly, and even sneaking around to find the track that rises up through the woods is harder and more treacherous than it need be, so there's surely a lesson in there. So out onto Creskeld Drive to push back though the civilised suburbia of Bramhope, scattered on the hillside that we have to ascend, to Creskeld Cresent and Breary Lane East, just shy of the A660 again, watching the winter sunshine fades away as the walking day comes to its end, checking my time to see that it's been a slow day, as we arrive at the bus stop opposite Tredgold Avenue at 2.45pm. It's a predictably cold conclusion to the day as we await the X84 homewards, but the delay allows me to wield the camera again to photograph the Red Kites flying high above, and despite the soreness in my legs, it's been a good first day out in new boots, with my new toy promising more fun for me as the year unfolds.

Station Road bridge, Arthington Junction, north arm.

Cattle Creep, Arthington Junction, south arm.

Arthington Station subway, at the north end of the junction.

Creskeld Drive, and more of Bramhope's expensive suburbs.

Using the new Lumix for Red Kite spotting at the bus stop.

5,000 Miles Cumulative Total: 3117.6 miles
2018 Total: 9.1 miles
Up Country Total: 2842 miles
Solo Total: 2861.3 miles

Next Up: What trails can we find in Lancashire?

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