Cat Holes

Distance : 2.5 miles/ 4 km
Time : 1.5 hours
Cat Holes Main Image

Explore a variety of terrains along the canal, past mills and over hills with one short uphill climb.

Detailed History Notes

As well as the main Map Leaflet or GPX and MPA digital files (below), you can also download a fuller set of history notes for this route. These were researched and supplied by Marsden History Group for the original version of this walk, first published in 2012.

Click here to download > “Cat Holes detailed history notes

Map Data Files

How Tricky Is it? - Cat Holes

This walk is graded as Moderate

A medium length walk requiring a reasonable level of fitness, crossing hilly ground or moorland with rising and falling levels.

Paths may be rough and uneven, with some steeper slopes, or longer sections of ascent and descent.

Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing essential.

Cat Holes Precis Map

The Full Directions - Cat Holes

  • From the Railway Station join the towpath eastwards away from the road bridge (which crosses the canal and railway)
    Immediately pass under two bridges.

  • 1Lock 39E

    View of Lock 39E

    Shortly after lock 39E the towpath drops down under a road bridge (No 56)

  • 2Lock 42

    View of the Winding Hole (round pool)

    Pass a winding hole below canal lock 42. (A round pool for turning narrow boats around).

  • 3Bridge 54

    View of Bridge 54

    Continue on the towpath passing by a wooded area. After the woods, ahead of you there is large millpond on your right and Sparth Reservoir on your left. After Lock 33E leave the towpath and cross the stone bridge 54 over the canal.

    History Notes

    To your right is a millstream taking water from the river to maintain the level of the millpond. Once every mill had one; this is a rare survivor.

  • 4Sparth Reservoir

    Sparth Reservoir

    Turn right onto a flagged path beside the reservoir.

    History Notes

    The reservoir was built in 1807 to feed the canal.

  • 5Left onto a broad track.

    Broad Track turning left

    Continue until you reach a broad track. Turn left with a row of cottages on your right.

  • 6On to Netherwood Lane

    Footpath Sign at the turn up to Netherwood

    Continue up to the road. Turn left for a few yards then right onto an unmade track; Netherwood Lane.

  • 7Under the Viaduct

    Route under the railway viaduct

    Proceed under the Viaduct. Ignore the first right turn and continue up the hill.

  • 8Bear right at the fork

    Right hand path

    At a fork in the track bear right up the hill into a wooded area.

    History Notes

    Across the clough is the hamlet of Slaithwaite Hall which dates from the early 16th century.

  • 9A sharp left

    Two Gates

    The track eventually turns sharp left by the disused quarry, passing through two stone gate posts.

  • 10Netherwood Farm

    Netherwood Farm

    Continue up the hill, ahead is Netherwood Farm.

  • 11Turn left over a stile

    Stile with Footpath Arrow and Walkers are Welcome Waymarker

    100m before the house turn left over a stile.

  • 12Through the field

    Route over the wall

    Cross the field through a broken-down wall.

  • 13Proceed to a stile in the far wall.

    Cross onto a track. Turn left and walk down the track for several metres.

  • 14Join a narrow path

    Path into the wood

    Join a narrow path on your right by the way marker post and a gap in the wall with woodland on the left and fields on the right.

  • 15Continue along the path

    Eventually crossing a stream that falls into a deep clough. The path turns left along the edge of the clough, then right and reaches a track below a cottage.

  • 16Emerge into an open area with views of the Colne Valley.

    Turn left and follow the track as it curves left to a large metal gate. As you pass the gate another track climbs steeply on the right. Ignore this and carry on, soon dropping down to an open area with views of the Colne Valley and Marsden.
    When you reach the triangular junction keep right along the road passing houses on your left.

    History Notes

    On the left are old settlements including Old House, Dirker Bank and Dirker. These were once inhabited by clothiers who combined a little farming with woolen weaving.

  • 17Returning to the Railway Station

    At the cross roads continue straight onto Springhead Lane until you arrive at a short grassy track. Take the grassy track to a large white house on your right. Turn left onto the tarmac track under the pine trees. At the bottom turn right onto Dirker Drive, then left over the railway bridge onto Station Road and return to the start.