Canal walks have a strong pull with their unfolding landscapes, wildlife, alternative and intriguing lifestyle options and the general calm and peace they bestow on all who walk along them.
Take a turn from the West Yorkshire industrial town centre of Huddersfield, away from the view of the historic landmark of Castle Hill and the Victoria Tower dominating the skyline and onto the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal for a walk with lots of offer.
Walking along this 8 mile stretch of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal you pass through the villages of Milnsbridge, Linthwaite, Slaithwaite and Marsden before finally reaching the Standedge Tunnel – Britain’s highest, deepest, and, at 3.25, miles its longest canal tunnel.
The scenery along the towpath is full of dramatic contrasts – urban life, crumbling historic mills, industrial buildings, leafy woodland before it then opens up to stunning views of the rolling, rugged Pennine hills.
It is quite simply a walk that has everything and more, starting with the industrial centre of the town then emerging into the tranquil greenness of the Colne Valley as you leave Milnsbridge behind and head towards Slaithwaite with beautiful open countryside and long distance views of villages sitting high above the valley.
Leaving Huddersfield, along the Milnsbridge to Slaithwaite section, at Linthwaite, to the left you pass the imposing Grade II listed Titanic Mill dating back to 1911.
The mill was originally named Lowestwood Mill, but became known locally as Titanic Mill due to its status as one of the largest woollen mills in the Huddersfield area and the fact it was built the same year RMS Titanic was launched.
The mill is now home to 130 apartments and a luxury Spa.
The Slaithwaite to Marsden section is particularly picturesque, leafy and green with the striking contrast of the black and white locks.
Along this stretch of canal, intriguing paths shoot off from the main towpath enticing the walker to explore the woodland paths and delve deeper into the countryside.
Back onto the towpath this canal walk stops at the landmark Standedge Tunnel with an opportunity to take in the views, have refreshments at the Watersedge Café and visit the Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre which tells the story of the tunnel, from its planning through 200+ years of history, including the story of its rescue, restoration and reopening in 2001 after being derelict for 50 years.
This is a fabulous walk with so many options along the way and opportunities to leave the towpath and visit the beautiful, buzzing, canal side mill villages of Slaithwaite (pronounced ‘Slath-wait’ or ‘Sla-wit’ if you are local) and Marsden where you will find an abundance of independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
The towpath itself offers some fabulous options for refreshments including the Zapato Brewing taproom and riverside beer garden, the gorgeous, quirky Wild Café and the Olive Branch restaurant and beer garden.
Returning back to the start of your walk is easy:
- If you are feeling fit a return 8 mile walk retracing your steps and continuing to take in the lovely scenery back to Huddersfield.
- Bus/Rail – There are train stations and bus routes at the villages along the way taking you straight back to Huddersfield.
This walk of everchanging landscape arriving at the edge of the wild beauty of the Marsden Moor Estate is a celebration of the collaboration of industry and nature, of the manmade and natural and of the history between the two.
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