Take the children to the railway to run off steam
With Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
As we approach the close of the summer holidays with shops displaying promotions featuring the three most dreaded words in the English language “Back To School” (by teachers at least!) here is a suggestion for frazzled parents and grandparents seeking diversion different from the run of the mill theme parks and adventure playgrounds; take yourself off to the South pennines and the Worth Valley Railway.
This attraction – full name Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a little gem offering families a slice of living history from the golden era of steam locomotives when engines had character. Throughout the year the Worth Valley Railway provides a service between Oxenhope and Keighley along a five mile route taking you along a fascinating valley rich in heritage not least being the village of Haworth famed for the Bronte sisters. Little wonder the line and area were chosen in 1970 as the main location for the charming film classic ‘The Railway Children’. Combining a ride and a walk is feasible along the whole route – indeed there is a leaflet available with two short walks based around Haworth (see kwvr.co.uk for details). Here I describe the route the Dotcom Walkers took at the start of the school holidays. It must have been quite a sight for passengers to see a bunch of senior citizens waving from a bridge just like Jenny Agutter, Sally Thomsett and Gary Warren in the film.
Start: Ingrow Station
Finish: Oxenhope terminus of the Worth Valley Railway BD22 9LB. Car users park at Oxenhope Station where there is a large free car park catch the train to Ingrow.
Distance: 5 miles
Time: 2-3 hours
Grade: Moderate. Mainly level with two steep inclines.
Map: OS OL21 The South Pennines
1. From the platform of Ingrow station pass through the ticket hall onto the car park. Turn left and turn left onto the A629 Halifax Road. When it is safe to do so cross to the opposite side and continue walking up the hill. In ¼ mile as the road bends left bear right onto Damems Road. Keep on this as it passes along a residential street and then downgrades to a wide rough track taking you through woodland at times close to the River Worth on the right. When you come to the rear of a factory turn left and soon after cross a level crossing by Damems Station. This attractive little station has the distinction of being the smallest in the country – enough room for one carriage. There follows the first of two climbs. Continue on Damems Lane and keep on it through three transitions of road surface to reach a junction with Bracken Bank Avenue ( ¼ mile from the station). Turn left. Still with open land to the left keep on the lane as it bends right to become Goose Cote Lane. As you near a summit turn left into Harewood Hill and just after the farm turn right onto a footpath in the direction of Cackleshaw. This crosses over four fields to reach a farmyard. Keep ahead following a waymark into a narrow path that emerges onto a broad drive. Follow this past cottages to Station Road. Turn left for Oakworth Station.
2. Oakworth Station was one of the main locations for ‘The Railway Children’ used in several scenes. The next section of the walk will take you to Haworth by a route which takes you to the church first before returning to the valley bottom. Cross the level crossing and almost immediately turn right onto Mytholmes Lane. Follow this as it passes below a factory bridge and bends left. Beyond the factory bear right into a no through road that is still Mytholmes Lane. Passing residences left and right keep ahead as the lane now downgrades to a broad track taking you through woodland. On the far side it broadens out to bend to the right past cottages and then continues straight to the junction with Victoria Avenue. Turn right. After 150yds turn left into Spring Head Road. Keep on this as it crosses the River Worth, passes by converted apartments and continues to a track to the right of double garage painted white. The track takes you to Long Lane. Turn left. Now comes the steepest climb of the walk as Long Lane takes you up between fields into the tourist hotspot of Haworth.
3. The church must contain the saddest corner in Yorkshire with its memorial to the Bronte family. The Rev. Patrick Bronte survived his wife and his six children including world famous novelists Charlotte, Emily and Anne before his death in 1861. What a lonely place the Parsonage must have seemed in his latter years. Returning to the walk head downhill on Main Street branching left for the station at Butt Lane which crosses Rawdon Road before continuing to the footbridge over the railway. Cross the car park and turn right on Station Road. Keep on it past the war memorial and follow the road as it bends left. Just past the bend turn right onto a footpath which forms part of one of the two Railway Children walks. Keep on this path for 1¼ as it wends its way to Oxenhope through the lush fields of the valley bottom always with the railway line to your right.