Marsden Moor heritage trail south
Climb up above the Wessenden Valley on this challenging 8 mile circular walk. You'll be rewarded with views across the valley whilst learning about the history of this magnificent landscape. Whilst exploring the rugged scenery of Marsden Moor you may spot some of the moorland plants and birds that make this area internationally important. The weather can change very quickly across open moorland - so please come prepared!
Take a walk on the wild side
Marsden Moor Estate Office, by train station, grid ref: SE046118
From the estate office, head down Station Road through Marsden and cross the A62. Walk through the park, past the band stand to come out on Carrs Road. Cross the road and take the path at the end of the row of cottages. Follow the path past a newly-renovated house behind the other houses, keeping the wall on the left and then, after a short distance, turn right. Head uphill and over a stile until you arrive at a house and stables. Turn left, then go over another stile and follow the path behind the house. Keep right until you reach a choice of three gates. Take the left-hand gate to head up the slope, where you cross a stile which takes you onto a track. Turn left and head past Upper Acre Farm to meet the Deer Hill Conduit. Turn right and follow the conduit until you reach waymark number 9. Here you can take in the view of Marsden and its mills and appreciate how important the mills were to the local economy.
The moorland around you has been used for thousands of years, from hunter-gatherers ambushing prey to packhorse roads taking goods to market. You will walk past reservoirs and conduits supplying water to the people of Yorkshire, feeding the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
Continue along the conduit to reach waymark number 10 and take in the fine views over the Butterley and Blakeley reservoirs. Keep walking along the conduit, crossing over a stile. Just before you get to the next stile, head down the field boundary to the corner stile and take the path behind Wessenden Lodge.
When you meet the main Wessenden track, turn right and follow the path in front of the Lodge and continue down this track for about 880yd (800m). Follow the Pennine Way steeply down into the bottom of the valley and then even more steeply back to the top to meet waypoint 11. Here is a good point to catch your breath and admire the views of the Wessenden Valley and former shooting lodge.
Marsden is host to an array of moorland species such as curlew, grouse, golden plover, dunlin, merlin, short-eared owl and even the rare twite.
Follow the Pennine Way to the right, along Blakely Clough and up steps onto the moor to reach the Black Moss and Swellands reservoirs. More information can be found on the interpretation panel here.
Cross the dam wall and follow the path left towards Black Moss other dam wall, then head right and follow the path northwards through one of the National Trust sheep enclosures. The area you are walking through was once very badly eroded, but by eliminating grazing and spreading heather brash and seeds the plot has recovered. Still vulnerable to wild fires, the plot was almost burnt in spring 2009. Keep walking along this path until you meet the Pennine Bridleway. Turn right and walk along the bridleway to meet Mount Road where you will find an information board about the turnpikes.
You may find common upland species such as heather, bilberry, crowberry and a variety of grasses and, if you are lucky, you might come across the carnivorous sundew.
If you fancy getting some stunning views of the estate from the top of Pule Hill, follow Mount Road left/westwards until you come to a signpost on your right pointing out the Standedge trail which contours around Pule Hill. This path is very boggy at the beginning but soon dries out. Continue around until you come to the path that leads you up past the quarries where you can turn back on yourself to walk along the edge to the summit and waypoint 14. Walk straight back down to join Mount Road and retrace your steps to the information board.
The National Trust carries out important restoration work on Marsden Moor to help conserve it for the future. Work includes gully blocking using wooden dams and heather bales to keep the peat wet and stable and prevent it from being washed away. We also re-vegetate bare peat with cotton grass and heather to prevent erosion and provide food and shelter for birds. If you would like to help with the restoration of the moor or help with guided walks and community events contact the office on 01484 847016.
Carry on past the information board until just before the cattle grid where you turn left onto Old Mount Road and then follow the footpath along a track towards Hades Farm until you reach waymark number 15. The path leading off the track leads down to meet up with Old Mount Road where you turn left and head back down into Marsden. Cross the A62 again and walk past St Bartholomew's church to Station Road and back to the car park.
Station Road car park, grid ref: SE046118
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