Walk: Clayton West Village Trail #1

Autumn. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Last weekend’s walk was all about colour – autumn colour. The poet has recently upgraded the lens on his camera but not really had much chance to try it out. Our walk the previous weekend was a start, but it was a gloomy day, so he didn’t take many pictures in the end. For this walk, we chose the best part of the weekend, weather-wise, which was Saturday morning.

This time we chose another walk of a similar length to the last one as 3 miles had really been enough for me as we build stamina and fitness back up again.

Bokeh. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The Clayton West Village Trail is another 3-miler, and it has short-cuts. If this one turned out to be as long as the previous “3-miles” then at least we knew we could do it. And if it proved longer (as did the previous one), then we could take one or more of the short cuts.

Clayton West became a village in the late 18th century. The name is believed to have come from “settlement on the clay”, but the textile industry is what brought people here in recent history.

We started our walk at the entrance to Cliffe Woods, which is at the top of the village – literally, up the hill. It was very windy in this car park and felt a lot colder than we thought it was going to be. But once inside the woods, alongside the bowling green, the wind dropped.

Young cow. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

From Cliffe Woods we followed some steep steps down and walked alongside a maize field towards Duke Wood. The maize was a full crop and we were surprised to see it hadn’t been harvested yet.

The walk leaflet said that this wood had been “disfigured”, but we thought it was beautiful. True, in both woods we could see evidence of industry beneath our feet, but otherwise both were very full in leaf and with autumn “litter” on the ground.

We even forgot there was a mine shaft here.

Emley Mast looking down on the village. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

All along the walk, whether just inside the woods or around the outside, we had some stunning panoramic views. Seeing “Sister Emily” so close reminded us of how close we really did get to her the previous week. (Members of the NUJ fondly refer to the Emley mast as Sister Emily.)

We left the field we were in over a small stile next to some bungalows and down a very narrow public path, which brought us out onto a road. We then walked up the road for a few hundred yards before climbing over another stile back into another field.

Here we had a short but steep climb towards a very small clump of trees. (The leaflet called it a copse, but there were only a few trees there.)

Autumn colour, looking straight up. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Here we took the first short-cut, which took us right through a field filled with adult cows, who were very curious and wanted to follow us.

With our recent experience of living with cows, we reckon they thought we might have food. (I was sure the poet took a picture of these cows, but there wasn’t one on the disk when he gave it to me …)

Eventually, this led to a public footpath alongside a farmer’s field. The field had recently been ploughed, leaving the walker around 12 – 18 inches of “footpath” to walk on, alongside a fairly steep drop.

Holly bokeh. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The public footpath in turn led to another road, and we walked along this for some time, passing some hidden houses at the end of some long driveways.

At the bottom of the slope, we turned left into Cliffe Woods again, to take the second short-cut, where we saw a small group of young cows. They were quietly minding their own business but ran in the opposite direction when they saw the dog.

Then we were back where we started at the entrance to the woods next to the bowling green, and at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable and surprisingly interesting walk.

We walked 2.05 miles in an hour and thirty minutes, burning just 351 calories. I’m not going to share the MapMyWalk map again because there’s already one on the walk leaflet linked to above and, besides, this panoramic shot is much more interesting.

Wind turbine and “Sister Emily”. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)