We finally made it on the Hewenden Viaduct walk, a family walk I had been itching to try for ages. It was rather more adventurous than I had anticipated and so I have given several options at the bottom of the post for those with little legs, who prefer wheels or don’t like the idea of ditch diving. Yes, really!!
Hewenden Viaduct is near Cullingworth and Wilsden and I found a walk on the Bradford Council website of just over 5 miles. We started in Hare Croft on Station Lane, parking at the side of the road. Our walk started with us ignoring the viaduct, that could be glimpsed behind us, and walking up the hill to find the first public footpath. This footpath started as a nice wide lane but quickly disappeared into what we later realised was an overgrown ditch. What looked like a slightly obscured stile, was in fact a 6 foot drop down into the ditch, and the ‘footpath’ was overgrown with grasses, thistles, nettles etc for as far as the eye could see. It was so thick I had to kick my way along it to create a path through. As I had gone first the rest of the family couldn’t see me! We decided to plough on, checking all the maps we had on us that this was a footpath. It wasn’t the greatest idea with Little Legs sporting a cast on her arm which was potentially broekn. Despite every effort been made to obscure it, we made our way through to the end of this section, finding a footpath sign at the other end had also ‘fallen over’. This has been reported to the council so hopefully no one else has similar problems. I wouldn’t suggest going this way and there are a few alternatives if you look on the OS map, depending on how much of a detour or how long you want to make your walk.
The rest of the walk was rather uneventful after that in comparison. We walked through woods and fields, sadly skirting but not seeing Goit stock falls at Goit stock woods. So that’s another walk for another day.
Once in Cullingworth we found the Great Northern Railway trail, part of the National Cycling route, which eventually took us across the Hewenden viaduct. It is an impressive structure, said to be one of the highest viaducts in Britain it has 17 arches. Just before walking across there’s a small viewing section and information board so that you can appreciate how vast it is. There were children cycling across and the odd walker, but apart from them, we had the viaduct to ourselves. From here we followed the path that brought us to the bottom of Station Road, and it was a slog up the hill back to the car. We may have been covered in thistle and nettle stings from the adventurous section but had enjoyed the rest of the walk.
I would suggest that you plan an alternative to the ditch diving we did. The OS map in this area shows they are several public footpaths that could get you around this section. Ordnance Survey have an online route planning function.
If you would like a short walk that takes in Hewenden viaduct and a smaller one further along the path, then the Great Northern Railway trail is for you. This is also more accessible for little legs, pushchairs, wheelchairs and cyclists. The path can be accessed via Station Road at Hare Croft or via Halifax Road at Cullingworth. We spotted pubs in Hare croft and Cullingworth (I was well behaved and didn’t stop!) but there are no facilities on route.