The Hunt for Shirl Fork

In the course of writing my books, there are places I end up going back to repeatedly, normally because I have missed something first, second and third time. Chatsworth Moors, the furthest straggle of the gritstone peat moors of the Pennines down towards Matlock, hold their secrets close. While the moor directly above Chatsworth is … Continued

The Brontë Stones

Over the early part of this year, I have been involved in a side-project created by Michael Stewart, writer and senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield. He devised four great walks around a series of stones carved with new poems about the Brontës and asked me to provide the maps and route … Continued

In Search of Houndkirk

Houndkirk Road is a fantastically named ancient highway across Burbage Moor between Ringinglow and Longshaw, but seems something of a barren trudge across a lonely shoulder of moor. My school used to use it for its cross country races, bussing the whole year to the far end of the track and then letting us race … Continued

The Rhiangoll Valley

There is an intriguing and beautiful valley between the western flanks of the Black Mountains and their offspring outliers, Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse. From above, it is a gentle green valley of woods and scattered farm buildings far below the great broad shoulders that the table topped peaks of the Black Mountains thrust out … Continued

The Old Road

A number of times over the past dozen years I have been summoned to mid-Wales to undertake a rather unusual Rights of Way survey. It is the same as many others I have done except the paths just aren’t there, so it feels like walking a series of notional lines on a map which may … Continued

Woodland Heritage Survey

It was probably not the day many of us had imagined when we signed up for the Celebrating Woodland Heritage survey at Hardcastle Crags, a small hardy group of us gathering in the car park amid light but persistent rain. Snow had been forecast but only touched the higher ground, and down here the slushy … Continued

Midwinter Solstice

Dawn on December 21st is at 8.23am in West Yorkshire, late enough to allow even those out the night before to join in the winter solstice celebrations. I have been invited to join a large group of Calder Valley fellrunners “aiming to see if Chris Goddard is right about the sun rising out of the … Continued

In Judy Woods

The West Yorkshire Woods had been out all of a week when my friend Mark looked at it and remarked ‘I see you haven’t found the cross in Tinker Bank Wood.’ I thought I had, but it turns out I was wrong. A few days later I explored the overgrown corner of the wood he’d … Continued
Sketch of dog at Tinker Bank Wood

Tinker Bank Wood

Tinker Bank Wood is much like any other pocket of woodland in the Calder Valley – it is steep, muddy and littered with rocks – yet it is endlessly fascinating. I visit it several times a week to walk the dog and see it in all seasons and all weathers, and I never tire of … Continued