Pennine Horizons has a series of online guided walks. There’s a map which tracks your progress so you can see where you are and at various points you stop and listen to a description of what’s in front of you – it’s history primarily. So off I went, bound for Jumble Hole. I’d been to this steep valley with its mill ruins once before, in 2016. This is what I’d written about that day:
“A Lazy Day in Lumb – July 6, 2016
I’m sitting in the 700 year old Hebden Bridge Mill having tea (Yorkshire tea from Harrogate, of course) and chocolate shortbread. I’ve just hiked from my mill to the tiny village of Colden through the historic Colden Valley, a place full of evidence of man’s impact on the landscape during the industrial revolution, and the use those mills buildings, waterways, cobbled packhorse trails and stone foot tracks are being put to today. I’m now getting used to hikes that claim to be flat and are ‘suitable for any reasonable fit person.’ They are, in fact, never flat and often involve going up and down hillsides that are so steep that they require steps. At times I found myself high above Colden Beck looking down on an almost vertical hillside where trees and ferns cling to life in places that the sun never ever reaches. I passed the two chimneys of Upper and Lower Lumb mill rising like giant monoliths to some long-forgotten god of the forest. I tried to conjure up the ghosts of the people whose clogs have worn grooves into the steps and stones on which I’m sitting. Above the mill I passed over the dam which once held in the mill pond but now it only holds reeds. The clapper bridge was unusual in it being 2 stones wide, and lucky for me an iron rail has been added 🙂 I wasn’t too keen on the gap between the stones through which I could see the raging torrent.
“Brave dreams and their mortgaged walls are let rot in the rain.
And the nettle venoms into place
Like a cynical old woman in the food-queue.
And the sycamore, cut through at the neck,
Grows five or six head, depraved with life.
Before these chimneys can flower again
They must fall into the only future, into earth.”
(from ‘Lumb Chimneys’ by Ted Hughes)
Coming out of the dense forest lining the valley I now found myself on ‘t tops. I’d looked up the New Delight pub, Colden’s main claim to fame, so I already knew that it was closed from 3-5 pm. I hadn’t copied down the return path directions and I didn’t much fancy the idea of trying to follow my outward direction backwards so I found a bus stop by the campsite, with a timetable, and waited 20 minutes for a zippy bus, being entertained by watching all the parents coming to pick up their children from Colden school. “
I followed the road from Stubbings Wharf to Underbank since the canal towpath had been closed since the February flooding. For 200 years Stubbings Wharf has catered to traffic on both sides, the turnpike road to Todmorden on one side and the canal bargemen on the otherI once went to a meeting of the Ted Hughes society in the upper room but I had no idea until I listened to the audio guide today that ’40 years before Hughes was born his grandfather was pulled drunk from the canal and proceeded to spend the rest of the even ing wrapped in a sheet singing contentedly to anyone who would care to listen.’ It’s a place I always take family and friends when they come to visit. Above Jumble Hole is the tiny community of Winters (which most people I’d spoken to in Hebden Bridge hadn’t heard of, it’s so small) which I’d explored for the first time in November. Once of my ancestors once kept a beer house there – see Winters blog post.
I elected not to take this steep cobbled path that this person was walking down with a cup of tea in hand! He lives at the house on the left.
I’d taken my painting supplies with me for the first time today and I soon found a large fallen gatepost to perch on and happily sat for 45 minutes painting with the watercolour pens Anna had sent me for Christmas, and having a lovely picnic of Wesleydale cheese with cranberries and with apricots. I was surrounded by ruins of mills and houses and the background music was the rushing of the river which powered the mill. I listened to the audio commentary.
In the early 19th century Jumble hole was an industrial centre with four large mills and several houses. I’m a little confused as to which mill I was sitting in – Jumble or Staups, but I thin it was Jumble.
As I was sitting a couple of vans went up the road and so after my picnic I set off to see where the road led. After a very steep section with loose gravel I realised I wasn’t going to be able to come down this same path. Just at that moment a lady was coming down the path and I verified that this path led to Winters. She told me that the really slippery section was only for a short time and that soon I’d find myself on a cobbled track that had be recently cleared of debris, and this led to Winters. once I knew that I was fine.