Distance : 6.5 miles/ 10.5 km
Time : 3 hours
MWaW Swellands walk image

Discover the scenic Wessenden valley, ancient woodlands and deep upland reservoirs.

This route takes you to the scenic Wessenden valley, with ancient woodlands and reservoirs, on the Pennine Way and Standedge Trail close to the watershed and above Swellands reservoir.

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 > Swellands walk detailed history notes

Map Data Files

How Tricky Is it? - Swellands

This walk is graded as Difficult

Longer walks around 5-16km.

These walks require a good 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.

Swellands Precis Map

The Full Directions - Swellands

  • From the Railway Station, go down Station Road towards the village centre.

    At the junction, take the right fork, crossing the bridge over the river onto Church Lane (church on your right).

    Leave the road as it bends up to the right, and bear left along the road between the houses.

    Pass the Old Cobblers on your left, cross the river and continue under the road bridge to your right.

    Join Fall Lane and continue away from Marsden to the roundabout.

  • 1Cross the roundabout onto Binn Lane

    Looking towards Binn Lane, on the other side of Fall Lane roundabout

    Walking up the Binn Road, 290m after the last housing on your right, you pass many steps leading down the damside.

    History Notes

    Here stood Ottiwells Mill, run by William Horsfall. In 1812, he was shot by the Luddites. Three men were later hanged for his murder.

  • 2Take the wide track ahead on the right

    View of the junction where you turn right

    Continue along the track with Butterley Reservoir on your right, passing the spectacular listed spillway.

    History Notes

    Note the Yorkshire Water information boards near the top of the spillway, installed in 2017 following remedial work.

  • 3Continue to Blakeley Reservoir

    View of the path gate

    Stay on the main track, passing a ladder style on your right. Cross a cattlegrid and 50m past the embankment pass through a gate in the fence on your right, and down a track beside the reservoir.

    History Notes

    Blakeley Reservoir was constructed in 1903 to supply water to Huddersfield.

  • 4Continue on the path for 700m

    The Marsden Moor Heritage Trail marker at the top of the climb

    Follow the path as it turns right and crosses a bridge. Noting the National Trust ‘Wessenden Moor’ marker, climb a steep path, and at the top, turn right past the stone Marsden Moor Heritage Trail marker and follow the path as it passes above a deep valley to your right.

  • 5The path crosses a stream, and climbs a steep stepped slope.

    The path is crossing a stream

    Continue on this partially flagged moorland path upward for 1.7 km with the stream on your left. Arrive at Black Moss and Swellands Reservoirs.

  • 6Cross the small bridge and the embankment.

    Location of the standing stone, with Redbrook Reservoir and Pule Hill.

    Turn left and continue to follow the flagged path until you arrive at a kissing-gate. Continue, pass through another kissing-gate. As you descend you cross a stream and arrive at a standing stone.

    History Notes

    Ahead is Redbrook Reservoir

  • 7Do not continue on the path to your left.

    The raised causeway, leading away to the right

    Instead, go straight ahead, keeping the standing stone on your right, and almost immediately drop down to a raised causeway. Turn right to follow this path across a stream.

    The route continues past a pond on your right, through a cutting, and over a conduit that goes under the path. You will pass a number of smaller tracks off to the left.

    History Notes

    You are on the 1815 “Second” Wakefield to Austerlands Turnpike Road

  • 81 km after crossing the stream, turn sharp left (almost back on yourself).

    With arrow showing turn

    Follow the broad path and drop down to ford a stream.

    Turn right, cross a bridge over another stream, and clibm up a broad path to the road.

    Turn right along the road for 140m to reach a junction with a road on your left.

    History Notes

    As you cross the second stream examine the structure of the old stone bridge. In 1852 a house called “Old Bridge House” stood here.

  • 9Take the road to the left (Old Mount Road)

    Old Mount Road leading to the left

    After 50m take the broad track which leads off the left towards Hades Farm. Continue along the track for about 800m.

    History Notes

    This is the route of the First Turnpike, constructed by John Metcalfe around 1759.

  • 10Reach a stone bard on your right.

    Showing the place to turn off the track.

    Take the path on your right, leading downhill.

    At the barn, continue to follow alongside the wall. When you come to a wall corner 50m after the barn, take the right fork, and descent to pass a house (Green Top with date 1671) on the left and join Old Mount Road.

  • 11Turn left down Old Mount Road.

    View down Old Mount Road

    Continue down for 900m to the A62 Manchester Road.

    History Notes

    The Foundlers, London workhouse children brought to Marsden to work in the cotton mills at the start of the 19th century, lived at Throstle Nest or nearby.

  • 12Cross the road.

    Crossing Manchester Road

    Go downhill and past the church on the left. At the junction, turn left onto Station Road and follow it up to the railway station.

    History Notes

    Opposite the church is the site of the former church built in 1758 to replace an earlier chapel. Notice the old gravestones, and family tomb of Enoch Taylor, ironfounder.