23.07.2020 The Great Northern Trail

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Fri, 24th Jul 2020, 10:52am

On Thursday a party of six (Joan, Julia, Donald, Sally, Lorna and myself) met at the bottom of Station Road Wilsden for a walk of approximately one and half miles along the Great Northern Trail from the Hewenden Viaduct to the Cullingworth Viaduct. The railway contecting Halifax, Bradford, and Keighley was built in the second half of the nineteenth century. It has been called "the Alpine Trail" because of the stunning scenary and sequence of tunnels and viaducts. It is part of the National Cycle network. Sustrans has supported its use as a cycling and walking route (now exceedingly popular with local people). A local forum spanning a variety of interests has been responsible for its development and maintenance. In particular one of our group members Lorna has taken responsibility for enlarging the biodiversity of plants surrounding the path. 

In her introduction Joan told us of how  young school boys needed to walk two miles every day from Wilsden to the station ( the first point on our walk) to catch the train to Keighley in order to attend the grammar school. Umbrellas were required at the start of our walk however conditions improved through the morning. It was noticeably windy as we crossed the Hewenden Viaduct.

Joan was keen to point out the extensive flora that lined the route. Some of the plants seen included: Zig-zag clover, Mignonette, Hedge Bedstraw, Oxeye daisy, Nipple wort, Meadow Cranesbill, Raspberry, Bramble, Honeysuckle, Yellow Pimpernel and Yellow Loosetrife. Knapweed which was extensive was just coming into flower. The ferns Harts Tongue and Maidenhair Spleenwort were found clinging to the walls of a bridge.Towards the Cullingworth end garden escapes were predominant. Bird species seen included  Swallows over the farm, Gulls near the Reservoir and a pair of Mistle Thrush in the woodland. 

The group returned to their cars at their own pace walking back from Cullingworth along the Trail having enjoyed the morning which was full of good information and chatter. 


See photos here      

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