Dry Stone Walling Trail

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dry stone walling trail:Layout 1
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The Upper
Colne Valley
dry stone
walling trail
A short walk to learn about dry stone walls in the Colne Valley
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The Upper Colne Valley
dry stone
walling trail
Marsden
Start Location: Marsden Railway Station, Marsden
Start at Marsden Railway Station facing The Railway Pub. Leave
the station in the direction of the head of the valley, turning right,
to cross the railway by the road bridge. Turn right towards Dirker,
away from Tunnel End. Just after the bungalow on the left hand
side, follow the footpath uphill to pass by the side of a double open
fronted garage. Pass through a metal gate and up the stone setts
between the buildings. Walk along the top side of the cottage on
the right (Dirker) until you reach the small metal radio mast. Turn
left at this point up the green lane to the house above (Huck Hill).
1
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The walking is difficult here. This is the longest and roughest uphill
section of the route - the top section can be wet! An alternative is to
bear right along this track past Dirker Bank until you get to the top
of Plains Lane. Take the walled track which leads diagonally
upwards around one of the old Dirker Quarries to rejoin the main
walk at Huck Hill.
The walls here are built of locally quarried
sandstone and are gradually sinking due to
settlement of the foundations [see pics 1 &
2]. This leaning is due to uneven settling
often where the ground beneath one side
of the wall is wet. Bulges in the walls here
are caused by pressure from creeping soil
which builds up behind them.
2
If you look back over the valley from here
you will see Deer Hill slightly to the left, which was
enclosed almost to the top in the 19th Century for the grazing of sheep.
The range house by the rifle range can be seen on the skyline just above
the ribbon of cultivated fields which runs uphill past the disused Chain
Ganister Quarries. The lane you are walking up is similar to unimproved
moorland. Bilberries, which love the acid soil, have established
themselves here on the drier areas. To the right is Binn Moor with Upper
Acre Head just below the skyline. All the flat land suitable for ploughing
and improving forms a tongue of fields up to the farm.
Turn left at Huck Hill (noticeable metal shed here) and follow the
lane in the direction of Tunnel End (heading west). The wall on the
left has been finished with a type of
Topping called Buck and Doe or
Cock and Hen [3]. It is castellated.
This was sometimes added for
decoration or to add additional
height to the wall. It can also make
it difficult for animals to climb over
as well.
About halfway along looking south
west across Marsden the mouth of
2
3
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the Wessenden valley can be seen with the prominent tiered banking
of the lowest reservoir (Butterley).
There are differing heights to the wall
along the two sides of this track. The
uphill wall is high. Some of this is due
to the level of soil behind it, as extra
height is needed to stop sheep running
downhill from jumping or clambering
over. The reverse is true on the
downhill wall. Watch out for an old
lunky hole in the left-hand wall [4].
This was a way through the wall for
sheep and was closed with slabs or boulders. This one is of
unusual construction using a large upright stone to form one side.
4
The next 20 yards of lane are wet, as water crosses
the lane from the field above. There is an old stone
stoop [5] which has been built over, with remains of
leaded-in gate hooks still visible at the corner. If
this was once part of a gate then its partner has
long since gone. The water goes under a set of
stone slabs which cross the lane here. These
cover the stream which starts high up above
Stone Folds Quarries and comes under the wall
5
through a well-built “Waterpen” [6] and provides
water for the farms lower down the slope. Turn
downhill here following the stream which cuts
under the wall on the right, again via a
6
“Waterpen” [7] until you reach the right turn at
the bottom. We cross the stream
again here where it
flows under the
7
lane in a culvert and
then in an open
culvert on down
towards the bottom
of the valley.
3
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Do not turn down here. We now follow the
lane on the flat along to a wide gateway. The
left-hand stoop [8] has the leaded-in hangers
and the right is typical of some shutting stone
posts [9], being shorter than its partner. The top
bar of the original wooden gate often rested on
top and in some cases the gate would then open
both ways. As you walk along this stretch of lane 8
the quality of finish to the walls on the right hand
side suddenly changes. There is a full vertical joint
in the wall to the right where another wall, coming
down the hill, meets it [10]. Before this point, the
quality was typical of solid unpretentious field
walling but from this point the work has a finer
finish to it. It may be
that two different
gangs worked on
this stretch. If you
9
look uphill into the
area called “Stone Folds”, the quality
here is high and there are a number of
structures of unknown function in the
corners of the fields. Even the lane up to
the right has been beautifully walled.
10
You have reached the area of Little Fall
Farm and Hey Fold. Be warned there is
sometimes a loose dog here. The lane
continues down into a small valley.
The wall tops change constantly from
level mason cut stone, through Buck
and Doe and sometimes rough rubble
tops. On the right, the top of one wall
is being pushed over by a Hawthorn
Bush [11]. Trees planted too close to
a wall cause a lot of damage over
time, both by pressing against the
wall and by loosening foundations.
4
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12
The stone type here changes into a softer
sandstone which flakes easily [12] and the
double retaining wall [13] that has been built
on the bend shows this well. The stone on
this has weathered and softened far more
than the sandstone in the previous walls. At
the small group of houses bear right. Hey Cottage has expensive mason
cut toppings [14] to its front walls. We continue right, past a double
cottage joined with an atrium. Listen for the stream and in the vegetation
you can see full round tops to the wall where the stream comes through
another good waterpen [15]. At
the next gate look up to the skyline
on the right. There is an old lunky
hole which allowed sheep to pass
through a section of wall with tall
Buck and Doe tops. This was part
of a ring wall which we meet
again later. The right-hand wall
has some of the tallest Buck and
Doe toppings in the area [16, 17
& 18]. Unusually, they are built
well down into the wall, an
13
interesting way of using these
thin long stones.
We have reached Berry Greave with two expensive stone gateposts in
the wall opposite. This is the furthest point of the short walk (turn
left to return to Marsden and follow the directions on page 8).
15
14
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18
16
17
For the longer walk, turn up the track through the gate just after
passing between the two water troughs. Go through the three gates
and up the track which once served a lodge, possibly used by
shooting parties (only foundations remain) well up on the edge of
the moor. When you reach the first cross wall (largely demolished)
[19], this is the end of the wall with the lunky seen from the group
of cottages earlier, bear left for a 10 yard detour. There is a
surprisingly large retaining wall constructed here [20 & 21], some of
the stone has weathered badly, this enables the stream running
through Purl Clough to be bridged by the cart track. Return and
cross the clough by the track and bear left along the old wall
cutting through the first gap. Aim for the road that can be seen over
the edge of the hill just above the line of trees [22]. Cross the next
wall beside the leaning stone stoop [23].
19
20
21
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22
The typical internal structure of a dry stone
wall can be seen here with throughstone
and coverband much in evidence [24]. Turn
slightly downhill staying close to the edge until you come level with
a dry stone wall below you and electricity poles. Turn back down
the hill to this wall following it to the corner and along towards a
house with sheds. The hill on the
24
left was quarried for stone which
went into the buildings and walls
in this area. Some of the rejected
large pieces of stone was used to
support what once was an
important pathway [25]. At the
house go through the gap into a
path which has been walled on
both sides [26]. The walls on the
two sides are of totally different
construction. To the left there is
a rough boulder wall more
typical of Scottish conditions [27]
and to the right there is a neatly
25
built low wall with triangular
tops faced to the path. When
level with the house, look back
and to the left of a gateway where
there is a good example of how a
23
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wallhead/cheekend should be built [28]. You
pass a step stile on your left where
projecting stones are used as the steps [29]
and then carry on down the track and on to
the tarmac between houses. If you look over
the wall to the right 20yds before the junction,
27
you can see an arch marking the end of a dry
stone culvert that carries the stream which you
crossed high up Purl Clough [30]. Turn left at the
next T-junction. Continue along this road enjoying
the view across to Standedge and Pule Hill until
you reach Berry Greave (you have finished the
longer section of the walk at this point).
Directions to back to Marsden common to short
and long walks
28
Continue on almost to Hey Cottage but turn right
down into what seems a dead end. Look at the two gate posts on the
next page - they would be expensive to produce today [31]. Go
through the gate in front and to the left of you and proceed through
the yard and out through the gate into the field. Follow this path
through several gates in the direction of the back of Tunnel End Inn.
29
26
30
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31
There are the remains of a set of stone
steps to the left of the small gate. There
must have been a well used pathway here
in the past. [32, 33]
32
33
You come out at the side of the Tunnel End
Inn and cross Waters Road following the
lane down to Tunnel End. Cross the canal
by the bridge. Follow the towpath under
the railway and immediately turn right up
the steps into the picnic area. This
contains a demonstration wall with
explanation boards and a pinfold which is
tucked back in the trees.
This demonstration wall was built by the
Dry Stone Walling Association, West
Yorkshire Branch in Spring 2007. This wall
includes a sighting hole for shooting, a
small smoot to allow small animals to
pass through it, a step-through stile and a
9
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34
37
35
36
lunky hole [34, 35, 36, & 37]. All these
features are often seen in field walls
around the area. Straying sheep were
confined in similar pinfold structures and
held until their owners paid a fine. [38]
To return to the start, follow the gravel
path or the towpath back to the railway
station in Marsden.
The parts of a dry stone wall
Copestones
Building stones,
second and upper lift
Throughstones
Building stones,
first lift
Hearting/packing
Foundation, in this view
with scarcement
Cross section
Wallhead or cheekend
10
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Glossary of terms used
castellated – having battlement-shaped topping
cheekend – most free-standing walls end in a wallhead built to end
walls at gateways or to provide gaps for access. Large stones are
usually used
coverband – wide, flat stones used to level off a wall in sandstone
areas where these small flat flags are readily available
lunky hole – larger openings built into the lower part of the wall to
allow the passage of sheep/lambs. Smaller lunky holes are used to
allow the passage of lambs but stop ewes passing through – this
allows lamp access to fresh, young grass
setts - blocks of flat natural stone, hewn from a quarry, in a range of
sizes and rock types
smoot – a small rectangular opening in the base of a wall to allow
the passage of rabbit and hares through or the passage of water
throughstone – a large stone placed across the width of a wall to tie
the sides together
wallhead – a specially constructed pillar that acts like a huge
bookend to strengthen the wall faces and to protect the centre, that
would otherwise weather away and collapse
waterpen – where a wall crosses a watercourse, a smoot (see above)
is constructed to allow the passage of water
38
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Upper Colne Valley dry stone walling project
This trail was developed as part of the Upper Colne Valley Dry Stone
Walling Project, a two-year initiative by Kirklees Council, the Dry Stone
Walling Association (West Yorkshire Branch) and Huddersfield Geology
Group. This project has been made possible by generous grant aid
from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project aims to raise awareness
of the dry stone heritage of the area and to actively involve people in its
conservation. The varied activities in addition to this trail include:
Production of ‘Dry Stone Walling the Essential Guide’ training DVD for
distribution nationally and internationally;
Guided walks to help people find out more about the geology and dry
stone heritage of the Upper Colne Valley;
Construction of a dry stone walling exhibition at Marsden Tunnel End
Picnic Site;
“Sheep in Marsden” project by local artist Cate Clark with Marsden
school children;
A survey of dry stone walls in the area, to enable more effective
targeting of funds and grant aid.
12
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Rocks of the Marsden area
There are two types of rocks in the Marsden area. The most noticeable
are the sandstones, which provide building stones and walls. You can see
from the cross section diagram (below), which is a slice cut through
Marsden, that there are a number of different sandstones piled on top of
each other, like a sandwich, which dip gently towards Huddersfield.
The sandstone type can be easily recognised when viewed through a
microscope and so each has a different name. The Rough Rock from
Shooter's Nab is mostly made of the very hard mineral, quartz. The
angular quartz grains interlock, so that the rock has a gritty texture,
which was ideal for making millstones to grind corn.
Sandstone beds are broken up into convenient blocks by fractures.
Sometimes the horizontal bedding planes and the vertical joints are very
regular, so that the rocks break easily into good-sized blocks for building.
Flags have their bedding places close together, and are, therefore, useful
for making flagstones for pavements and roofing slates for houses.
The shale beds in between each sandstone are much less resistant and
are made of clay particles, which can be easily weathered away. Each
sandstone protects the shale below, so the landscape around Marsden
has alternating steep slopes made of shale, between flatter benches
made of a sandstone layer. As sandstone is a much stronger foundation
rock for buildings, many of our old hamlets and farms are built on the
sandstone layers.
N.W.
Cupwith Hill
S.E.
Shooter’s Nab
Netherwood
Heys
Marsden
Beacon Hill Flags
Shale
Pule Hill Grit
Kinderscout Grit
Rough Rock
Huddersfield White Rocks
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Lower
Great
Owlers
T
D
Great Edge
Berry
Greave
Furthe
Hey
Green
Hotel
Wat er s R o ad
River
Colne
A 62 Ma nc h est e
r Ro
ad
A in
L
s l ey
e
an
Tunnel
Interp
Railway Station
Marsden
Key
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he Upper Colne Valley
Dry stone walling trail
Alternative
route
Scout
Top
Dirker Bank
est point of short walk
Huck Hill
S to
ne
Fo
lds
La
Mount
Pleasant
ne
Stone Folds
Re d
Tunnel End
di
Dirker
sh
er
R
oa
l End picnic site &
pretation Boards
Sta
nd
ed
ge
Tr
ail
R
d
lw
ai
Railway Station
Canal
Start/Finish
St a
h es
Canal
Marsden
B ro u
d
Marsden
Information Point
el
R oa
g ha m
Pe
ter
Colne
d
nR
A62 M an
c
t io
River
St
re
et
Main route
Alternative route
ay
Road
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Dry Stone Walling The Essential Guide
‘Dry Stone Walling - The
Essential Guide’ is a 90
minute, professionally made,
dry stone walling training
DVD filmed on location in the
Colne Valley and costs
£12.00.
It is available from
Marsden Information Point
or by mail order from the
Dry Stone Walling Association Office,
Westmorland County Showground, Lane Farm, Crooklands,
Milnthorpe, Cumbria LA7 7NH, Tel: 015395 67953.
Secretary/Office Administrator: information@dswa.org.uk
Web: www.dswa.org.uk
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Front cover photograph coutesy of “Chris North Photography"
dry stone walling trail:Layout 1
For further information about
walks and other countryside
activities pick up a copy of
Wild About Countryside in
Kirklees (WAC) from council
outlets or contact the
Countryside Access Officer on
01484 234077 or email:
john.gleadow@kirklees.gov.uk
All inside page photographs
by John Gleadow

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