A delightful valley and views of Huddersfield's most prominent landmark.
Distance 4.5 miles (7.2km)
Minimum time 2hrs 30min
Ascent/gradient 360ft (110m)
Level of difficulty Medium
Paths Field paths, a little road walking on quiet lanes, 18 stiles
Landscape Arable, rolling countryside and woodland
Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 288 Bradford & Huddersfield
Start/finish SE 162125
Dog friendliness Can be off lead but watch for traffic
Parking 200yds (183m) up Butts Road by church in Farnley Tyas. Park in lay-by by recreation field
Public toilets None on route
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1 Enter the recreation field and follow the wall to your right. Squeeze past two gates, onto a walled track to meet a road. Go right (this is Moor Lane).
2 100yds (91m) past Ivy Farm bear right down a walled track, with School Wood to your right. You get views of Castle Hill ahead - a landmark you will see for most of this walk - and beyond to Huddersfield. To the left is Meltham, with the uplands of Meltham Moor behind. When the track bends right, towards Ludhill Farm, take a path on the left, between walls. Walk downhill to take a stile next to a metal gate, keeping left across a field, to another stile, and more steeply downhill towards a few houses. Keep left at a fork of paths and walk between thick hedgerows, soon bearing left again to accompany a sunken path down to meet a road.
3 Go right, downhill. Bear right, after a small terrace of cottages, on a track into woodland. Bear left, after just 50yds (46m), on a lesser path that descends to a stile. Continue across a field (aim towards a farm ahead), cross a stream on stepping stones, then walk up through a spur of woodland. Cross the middle of another field, keeping to the left of High Royd Farm. Squeeze past a gate to join the farm's access track, walking uphill to meet a road by High Royd Cottage. Walk right, up the road, for 100yds (91m). Where the road bears right take a gap stile in the wall on your left by a gate. Follow a path between a wall and a fence; take another stile by a gate and bear right, uphill, along the field edge. Through a gap in a wall, cross another small field. Follow the edge of the next field, keeping a hedgerow to your left. The path levels out as Castle Hill comes into view again, and you meet a road.
4 Go right here, for just 20yds (18m), bearing left through a gap stile in the wall. Keep to the right of a short holly hedge, then follow a field-edge path, soon having a wall on your right. 150yds (138m) before you come to a wood, take a waymarked gap in the wall on your left. Follow the wall (now on your right) downhill, over a stile, and keep to the right-hand edge of the next field, with a little wooded valley on your right. Keep straight ahead at the next stile, now leaving the wood behind, but getting a sight of Emley Moor mast to your right. Go through Lumb Head farmyard and join the access track to meet a road. Go right here, downhill. After a couple of cottages, pass through a gap stile in a wall on the right.
5 Walk down into the valley, following the wall on your right. Take a stile and a few stone steps to cross a meandering stream, Lumb Dike, on a plank bridge, at a delectable woodland spot. Bear left, uphill, soon bearing left to follow the river, but at a higher level, through Molly Carr Wood. Descend to where two streams meet (you need to jump over this second beck). Follow the combined watercourse along the valley bottom and cross another side-beck. By taking a few paces to the right, uphill, you'll soon be able to join a more substantial track, through a gate and past a couple of houses, to come out at a road.
6 Go right, uphill; 75yds (68m) past a sharp left-hand bend in the road, take a waymarked track sharply to the right, signed 'Farley Bank'. Pass a house; when the track bears right, to Farnley Bank Farm, take a stile ahead, and follow a field path uphill. Meet a road, and walk right, uphill, with good valley views all the way, back into Farnley Tyas. At a T-junction, by the Golden Cock pub, bear right, then left by the church on to Butts Road and return to your car.
Despite its proximity to Huddersfield, the area to the south of the town is surprisingly rural. As you gaze down into the Woodsome Valley from Farnley Tyas, you may feel a long way from the mills and terraced houses that typify the county. Farnley Tyas and the fortification of Castle Hill face each across the valley, and across the centuries. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book, as 'Fereleia', but the history of Castle Hill extends at least 4,000 years. The site was inhabited by neolithic settlers who defended it with earth ramparts. Axe heads and other flint tools dating from this era have been found here during archaeological digs, and are now displayed in Huddersfield's Tolson Museum. The Stone Age settlers were just the first of many peoples who saw the hill's defensive potential. Its exposed position, with uninterrupted views on all sides, made it an ideal place for a fortification.
Almost 900 years ago the de Lacy family built a motte and bailey castle here, having been given land as a reward for their part in the Norman Conquest. Though the structure was demolished in the 14th century, the site has been known ever since as Castle Hill. Most of the earthworks and ramparts that can be seen today date from medieval times.
The name of Farnley Tyas, an attractive hill-top village, sounds rather posh for workaday West Yorkshire. Once plain Farnley, the village gained its double-barrelled moniker to differentiate it from other Farnleys - one near Leeds, the other near Otley. The 'Tyas' suffix is the name of the area's most prominent family, who owned land here from the 13th century onwards.
Originally a farm, the pub has been at the centre of village life - in every sense - since the 17th century. During the 19th century a group called the Royal Corkers used to ride over from Huddersfield to enjoy supper at the Golden Cock. Corks were placed on the dining table, with the last person to pick up a cork having to pay for supper for the whole party. Any newcomer to the group would naturally pick up a cork - but none of the regulars ever did - thus leaving the newcomer to pick up the bill.
The Castle Hotel, on top of Castle Hill, has an enviable position - enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. It's a popular place for a meal out; as is the Golden Cock in Farnley Tyas.