Colne Valley and Slaithwaite Moor, West Yorkshire
Starts at Marsden Railway Station [SE046118]
5 hours 0 minutes | 8.0miles 12.9km | Leisurely
ID: 0.10552 | Developed by: Neil Coates |
This circular walk follows a peaceful canal towpath from Marsden, through woods and past intriguing industrial heritage in the Colne Valley. The walk then heads uphill beside a beck to extensive moorland, with expansive views of the South Pennines.
Main Route
Alternative Route
Point of Interest
*move mouse over graph to see points on route
Starts at

Marsden Railway Station [SE046118]

Ends at

Marsden Railway Station [SE046118]

Getting there

Marsden is on the regular local train service between Manchester (Victoria) and Huddersfield (03457 484950). Free parking at Standedge Tunnel car park beyond NT Estate Office (opp. The Railway pub).

Route instructions

[1] START Join the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath beside Marsden Station at Lock 42E, water on your L. Beyond Marsden the canal passes Sparth Reservoir, used to top up the canal; opposite is Cellars Clough, a huge millpond that once fed the nearby vast, derelict mill. The energetic River Colne accompanies the canal throughout this attractive stretch, through stands of mature woodland, before the towpath reaches Lock 23E at the heart of Slaithwaite.

[2] Cross the cobbled bridge and bear R to the nearby Shoulder of Mutton. Turn L; then fork L on Nabbs Lane, pass the Silent Woman pub then bend R up beneath the viaduct. In another 300m turn R across the reservoir dam. Beyond the spillway, a channel that controls the release of water from the dam, go L on the narrow footpath above the water. Entering woodland; keep ahead on the widening path, rising R to a lane. Turn L to the bridge at the bottom of the clough.

[3] Join the path R for Merry Dale Clough. Advance up the tranquil vale (keeping beck always to your L) to reach a broken wall in 700m. Turn R wall-side and shortly climb narrow, enclosed steps above cottages before rising to a tarred drive. Turn R; then sharply-L in 50m down a cobbled lane. Cross the beck and rise very steeply to a tarred lane, ascending then to Cop Hill crossroads.

[4] The way is R along Cop Hill Side - the adjoining Rose & Crown Inn is rambler (and dog) friendly, with expansive views from the beer-garden. Stick with the gently rising lane; it levels to reveal panoramic views of moorland and distant tops. Walk along lane to the sharp-R bend at Shaw Lane. Here go straight ahead on the bumpy, walled track. Beyond a gate proceed on the reedy path past the ruinous hut (R); in 750m reaching a wider waymarked cross-track and stone memorial bench.

[5] Turn L (Kirklees Way); dip through Old Clough and climb easily beside the remnants of the fenceline, soon seeing Butterley Reservoir in the middle distance. In another 675m bear L on a developing walled track down to Huck Hill Farm.

[6] Turn R through the complex and accompany the rough lane that bends L, then R and past two remote farms to reach Tong Lee Head cottage. Use the multi-waymarked iron handgate L onto a steep, grassy garden path ahead, closely past the lower cottage (L) to a lane at Tunnel End. Drop to Standedge Visitor Centre and cross to the towpath back to Marsden.


This route was first published in the spring 2018 issue of walk magazine (Walk 58).

Developed by: Neil Coates
Colne Valley walk - old lane above Tunnel EndColne Valley walk - old lane above Tunnel End
Photo taken by: Neil Coates
Slaithwaite MoorSlaithwaite Moor
Photo taken by: Neil Coates
Photo taken by: Neil Coates
Colne Valley walk - view over Marsden from Huck HillColne Valley walk - view over Marsden from Huck Hill
Photo taken by: Neil Coates