At the end of last year, our weekends had been a hodge-podge of sorting bits for Christmas as well as clearing things from the house. But making sure that we got our walking in was high on the agenda. The last weekend before Christmas, as well as walking to and from town on Saturday we went exploring Delph.
The Pennine Way
Walking the Pennine Way has been one of the items on my Bucket List for ages and as we live so close to a lot of it, we thought it would be a good start. It is not going to be an easy challenge – especially as we want to do the Welsh Coastal Path too! The National Trail of the Pennine Way is 268 miles long and runs from Kirk Yetholme to Edale. So we have a good opportunity to cover the southern parts on our weekend adventures around Delph and beyond.
To be honest, our weekend visit barely dented the route with only 4.5 miles covered, but it did give us the perfect taster of what’s to come and also chance to get exploring Delph. Which I have to say is a delightful village in a gorgeous setting. I wouldn’t say no to living there …well, perhaps I might in the thick snow.
Before leaving I grabbed a quick map from the Walk Ride South Pennines website to give us something to follow as the evenings draw in quickly and we wanted to get straight out and exploring. When you drive into Delph Village, there is a good size car park to your right when you first get onto the high street. I am not sure whether this is the one mentioned in the route, but it seemed to fit the location. It is where we parked and we were able to get on the route, so we’ll stick with it for next time.
Quiet and Still
Even for a Sunday I expected there to be more people around. It was a lovely cool, but nice day, perfect for walking and hiking yet there was barely a soul around the car park.
You follow the path around from the car park past the lovely stone houses towards a bridge. Just stopping to listen to the water rushing is enough to let you know that you’re out of the city! Even through the scent of the log burners smoke from the chimneys you can still smell the freshness of the fast running water.
The walk is easy to follow even without a map as most of it is marked with the desire line paths. As you meander around the corners, past the water and sheep, however, it might start to look like you’re heading in the wrong way.
Into the yard
When you start heading into the farm yard, you might start thinking that you’re actually trespassing rather than taking the route, but you’re OK. Follow the yard up towards the green door to the left and it will take you down the side of the building and back onto the path. There are plenty of intriguing things to look at while you wander that way too, so keep your eyes peeled for curiosities.
You will eventually get to a tiny little passing to get into the next field and back on track for the route.
As you follow the route round, you will pass through some fields and over a small bridge. The views of the adjoining fields is amazing at this point (especially in Autumn and Winter) as it is uninterrupted with the odd patch of white from the sheep in the distance.
Hot footing back!
Just as we came to the next part of the route we were confronted by a rather large Doberman! We are not scared of dogs, but this guy certainly seemed to want us to stay away by the conviction of his bark! So we hotfooted back to the way we came towards the farm buildings.
Luckily as I was smooching a Boxer dog puppy on our way back we got chatting to the man walking her. He told us about the other side of the route that we could pick up behind the local pub. It would take us to the reservoir on our map, but in the other direction. Once
I had my full of puppy love (could that even be a thing?!) the man and puppy needed to head home we carried on to the pub to continue our walk.
Heading to the White Lion Pub
After a little detour back to the village, we headed up to the White Lion Pub, where you need to follow it around to the back and onto the little path just behind it. (follow the building around to the right of the main road and you’ll see the path to the left behind the pub)
To be honest, the route to the reservoir from this side was lovely too (despite the man with the dog saying that it was bland!) There was a fishing lake just as we got through the first pathway. And some houses with the most stunning of views! Can you imagine being able to work from one of the lovely rooms at the end of the garden? I doubt I’d actually get much done because I would be looking at the views and longing to be walking!
Easy to follow path
The pathway is really easy to follow and winds you through little lakes and along the bubbling brook. The hills in the distance and the moors ahead give you an idea on which way to follow – you’re aiming for the reservoir straight ahead.
As can be expected during the winter months there are some heavily muddy parts, so do come prepared with some wellies or boots. Most of the really muddy bits have desire lines or rocks to help you to cross, but you do need to be pretty good on your balance for some of them. They can be quite slippery too!
As we followed the path around we met very few people – only a small family, a farmer and his dog. It gave us plenty of time to dither and dally to take some photographs and enjoy the views which is perfect on a weekend exploring somewhere new. The path took us through a lush green filed and towards a bridge with lots of dotted sheep in the field beyond. We knew we were close to the reservoir at this point as the ground began to incline – the opposite of exploring Marsden which is nice and flat near the reservoirs.
The nosy neighbours!
As we wandered up to the reservoir edge we realilsed that we had to greet the nosy neighbours in the field before we could continue exploring! The sheep were very intrigued by us and refused to move form the steps before they firstly had an impromptu photoshoot and then we greeted them kindly with a ‘hello cheeky’. They then allowed us past them.
We were able to get seriously close to the cheeky sheep! I love how their fleece is all poofy over their eyes – maybe that was why we had to get so close so they could see us through the fluff? Whatever the reason, I was glad to be able to add to my collection of photos of sheep friends from our walks.
With the height of the edge of the reservoir, it was the perfect spot for us to view where we had come from and to see over to the fields on the other side. It was then that we realised that we have walked to the same reservoir from the other side when we have been hiking around Marsden. Funny how it works!
Dusk drawing in
As the light started to fade we decided to start heading back to the car so that we could at least vaguely see where the large puddles and mud slides where! One of my favourite things about winter and hiking into dusk is the glorious colours that come from the setting sun, the uninterrupted views to be able to see it and the reflections in the water. Just look at it! How could you not want to go wandering when the sun is going down over the hills?
Geese and ducks
On the way past the lake the ducks and geese had arrived for a play. Unfortunately we didn’t have any duck feed (or frozen peas/sweetcorn) on us, so they had to suffice with us just saying hello on the way by. And snapping some pictures, of course!
Heading back past the fishing lake, the sun set gave us a spectacular show through the broken clouds illuminating the sky and silhouetting the trees beautifully. It was so lovely, we actually stopped and stared for some time.
Back to the village car park
Coming back into the village you come out to the church (another walk that we will be doing!) and turn right to head back into the village. I don;t know whether it was just because it was near Christmas or not, but the village was so quiet and peaceful.
On your way back through the village make sure you take the time to look at the lovely old buildings on your way. One great thing about Oldham and Yorkshire is that they still have a lot of the old stone buildings from the industrial era, so you can often find some lovely gems like the Delph Fish and Chip Shop from 1769 (well, the building is from then, anyway!)
And after a short walk through the tiny village we arrived back at the car park just in time to brush our boots down and have a cup of tea and a snack before heading home.
After our visit to Delph, we have decided to explore more of the villages around that way including Diggle, Upper Mill and Saddleworth. Although we have been to them in the past, we have never really spent much time there, so it is something that we’ll be doing this year. Especially as it is so close to home.
Even with a short week, I’m looking forward to the weekend!
Here’s to some more out and about adventures!
We really love exploring Delph and can’t wait to visit again for more. Where do you love to explore?
Let me know in the comments below!
Park at Millgate Carpark, Delph, Oldham, OL3 5DQ