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Footpath from the Bradford Millennium Way down to Broad Head Lane
Footpath from the Bradford Millennium Way down to Broad Head Lane

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Route No. 688 - Thursday 14 September 2017
Morkin Bridge, Keighley Moor Reservoir,
Millennium Way, Broad Head Lane, Whitehill Rd
6km circuit - Keighley Moor, South Pennines . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL21 South Pennines


Note: Although this is a short walk and easily accessible along the Water Company access road, most of the route is at an elevation of over 300m with the risk of very changeable weather conditions requiring the right equipment and experience to deal with any eventuality.

The car park at Morkin Bridge where we started our walk
The car park at Morkin Bridge where we started our walk

Leaving the car park on the Water Company access road
Leaving the car park on the Water Company access road

Sturdy trailer, but what was it used for?
Sturdy trailer, but what was it used for?

From the car park we set off along the Yorkshire Water access road to Keighley Moor Reservoir heading generally south west following the valley of Morkin Beck. The Bradford Millennium Way (72km) follows the access road up to the dam. The access road climbed steadily and after about 500m we came to the gamekeeper's lodge at Higher Intake.

This morning my friend, Jim, and I drove out to the car park at Morkin Bridge (map ref. SE 002 404) below Keighley Moor and about 5km north west of Haworth. Overall the weather forecast for today expected heavy showers all over the place but here it was expected to stay fine and bright until this evening.

Following the access road up on to the moor
Following the access road up on to the moor

The gamekeeper's lodge at Higher Intake
The gamekeeper's lodge at Higher Intake (already over 300m)

Looking back along the valley of Morkin Beck as we climbed up to the moor
Looking back along the valley of Morkin Beck as we climbed up to the moor

Group of Swaledale ewes as we entered the open access land
Group of Swaledale ewes as we entered the open access land

Taking advantage of a large boulder to admire the view
Taking advantage of a large boulder to admire the view

Jim climbed onto the boulder to enjoy the fine view down the valley of Morkin Beck. We continued along the access road for another 1.5km from the gamekeeper's lodge to the northerly end of the dam at Keighley Moor Reservoir.

At the gamekeeper's lodge the access road passed through a gate in to the open access moorland to be greeted by a group of Swaledale sheep. We came to a large boulder by the access road.

Continuing along the access road towards the reservoir
Continuing along the access road towards the reservoir

Crossing the bridge over the spillway at the reservoir
Crossing the bridge over the spillway at the reservoir

Looking along the crest of the dam from the spillway bridge at Keighley Moor Reservoir
Looking along the crest of the dam from the spillway bridge at Keighley Moor Reservoir

Crossing the dam at the Keighley Moor Reservoir
Crossing the dam at the Keighley Moor Reservoir

Just here there was a very substantial steel pillar about 300mm in diameter and about 1.4m tall. I had noticed a similar pillar at the other end of the dam but I don't know what they are there for. I am guessing that they are something to do with reservoir safety measurements but I could be completely wrong of course.

At the dam we turned left and crossed the bridge over the reservoir spillway and walked along the grassy track on top of the dam. At the far end of the dam we turned left to continue along the Bradford Millennium Way.

Sturdy steel pillar, one at each end of the dam
Sturdy steel pillar, one at each end of the dam

Keighley Moor Reservoir seen from the southern end of the dam
Keighley Moor Reservoir seen from the southern end of the dam

Following the Bradford Millennium Way from the dam
Following the Bradford Millennium Way from the dam

then the path became even wetter
. . . and then the path became even wetter

The heather was fading fast now but still gave the moor a purple sheen. About 850m from the end of the dam, at map ref. SD 994 387, we turned left off the Bradford Millenium Way.

From the dam we followed the Bradford Millennium Way route across the moor. It was quite wet and boggy in places. We were glad of our sturdy hiking boots that kept our feet dry despite splashing through the soggy terrain.

The path became quite boggy
The path became quite boggy . . .

The fading heather still gave the moor a purple sheen
The fading heather still gave the moor a purple sheen

Turning left off the Bradford Millennium Way on to the footpath to Broad Head Lane
Turning left off the Bradford Millennium Way on to the footpath to Broad Head Lane

Footpath across the moor to Broad Head Lane
Footpath across the moor to Broad Head Lane

Joining a metalled access road that becomes Broad Head Lane
Joining a metalled access road that becomes Broad Head Lane

Passing the entrance to a cattery & dog kennels
Passing the entrance to a cattery & dog kennels

At this access road we turned right and walked along the access road for another kilometre to Broadhead Farm. About 200m before we reached the farm the access road becomes a public road.

From the Bradford Millenium Way we followed a public footpath across the moor in a north easterly direction. This path too was quite boggy in places. We followed this path for about 1km to a metalled farm access road at map ref. SE 002 391.

Footpath across the moor to Broad Head Lane
Footpath across the moor to Broad Head Lane

Following the access road towards Broadhead Farm
Following the access road towards Broadhead Farm

Passing the entrance to another cattery
Passing the entrance to another cattery


Our turning left off Broad Head Lane to join a footpath across the field

Track across a small watercourse called Broad Head Gutter
Track across a small watercourse called Broad Head Gutter

A few metres along the road there is a wooden field gate into the field that the path crosses and we decided to go through this gate into some rough pasture land and picked up the public footpath at a small stream that crosses the field (map ref. SE 010 396).

My map shows a public footpath coming through Broadhead Farm to the road and opposite this path we saw a footpath sign on the road side. My map also shows the path continuing across the fields on the opposite side of the road to the farm but we could not find any means of crossing the stone wall at the top of the bank at the road side.


Route of the footpath across the field

Way marked stile at the field boundary
Way marked stile at the field boundary

Round fencing stakes roughly on the route of the path
Round fencing stakes roughly on the route of the path

About halfway across the field we passed three round fencing stakes roughly on the line of the path. The stakes seemed to be part of an abandoned enclosure in the field. As we approached the far corner of the field we could see the next way marked stile in the fence about 20m in from the field corner.

We continued along the route of the footpath to the field boundary where there is a way marked stile into the next field. This next field is very rough moorland with large tufts of coarse grass making walking awkward. The route of the path crosses this field diagonally.

Way marked stile at the next field boundary
Way marked stile at the next field boundary

Looking back from the stile to the round fencing stakes that we used as a landmark to cross the field to the stile
Looking back from the stile to the round fencing stakes that we used as a landmark to cross the field to the stile

Passing one of the top soil embankments
Passing one of the top soil embankments

This is the edge of the field where the route of the path is shown on my map so we crossed the field to the east of this embankment and at the end of the field we came to a gate that opened onto the road.

Over the is stile the next field was even worse to cross. The top soil seems to have been stripped from the field and dumped in rough embankments. One of the embankments ran along the edge of the left hand side of the field.

Heading for the gate on to the road
Heading for the gate on to the road

Leaving the fields to join Whitehill Road
Leaving the fields to join Whitehill Road


The stile we would have used if it could be reached

Apparently the path used to be maintained
Apparently the path used to be maintained

About to turn left into the car park
About to turn left into the car park

I'm afraid that more work seems to be long overdue. We continued along the road down the hillside into the valley of Morkin Beck. After about 500m we reached the car park at Morkin Bridge and the end of our walk. The whole route had been about 6km and it had taken us two and a half hours to walk. The weather had stayed fine and bright and we had dodged the showers again.

At the road we turned left and walked along the road for about 25m. Here there was a stile, in reasonable condition, at the corner of the field we had just left. Looking over the stile along the route of the public footpath there did not seem to be anywhere to walk between the embankment and the dry stone wall. There was an old sign fixed to the stile informing us that work on the path had been carried out by the Bradford Countryside Service.

Route of the footpath between the embankment and the wall
Route of the footpath between the embankment and the wall

Heading down Whitehill Road towards the car park
Heading down Whitehill Road towards the car park

Looking across Morkin Beck to the car park
Looking across Morkin Beck to the car park

Heading down Whitehill Road back to the car park by Morkin Beck at the end of our walk
Heading down Whitehill Road back to the car park by Morkin Beck at the end of our walk

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