South Pennines Walks
Ovenden Moor & Soil Hill
Date: 10th September 2011
Distance: 9.8 miles
Ascent: 1261 feet
Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE066309
Route Summary: Ogden Water - Ogden Clough - Ovenden Moor (Nab Hill) - Cold Edge - Ogden Water - Soil Hill End - Soil Hill - Causeway Foor - Ogden Water
Walk Summary: It was a really murky morning as I set off in the car and when I had to turn my fog lights and set my windscreen wipers going I didn't feel too optimistic about the prospects for the day. Thankfully the cloud began to lift and as the walk progressed I was able to enjoy some good views and even a few periods of sunshine.
I was actually out doing a spot of route checking for a charity walk that I am involved with at work. While I'd been up on Ovenden Moor before I'd not approached it from Ogden Water before. I also wanted to test a few route variations and as I then decided to tag Soil Hill on at the end of the walk I ended up walking nearly 10 miles.
Ogden Reservoir has rebranded itself as Ogden Water and while it looked just like dozens of other reservoirs in the area there are a number of pleasant paths in the surrounding woods. The most enjoyable is the one that leaves the reservoir behind and follows Ogden Clough upstream before finally climbing out up on to Ovenden Moor.
Once out of the clough I enjoyed a fine stride across the moor. The windfarm was a constant presence for the next few miles but there were also fantastic views to be had, not least from the large cairn on Nab Hill at the northern edge of Ovenden Moor. From there I enjoyed a superb view over the villages of the Worth Valley towards a distant Dales skyline.
After eating some lunch and testing out my new zoom lense I left the moorland paths for a mile and a half of walking on the quiet road overlooking Warley Moor Reservoir. It was a breezy day and a trio of windsurfers were fairly flying along the surface of the reservoir.
Upon reaching the former Withens Hotel, once the highest pub in West Yorkshire, I left the road for a broad path that descended past Halifax Golf Course to arrive back at Ogden Water. From there I made a 'there and back again' visit to the top of Soil Hill, a prominent top in the area.
It wasn't the most enjoyable of diversions. Though there are numerous footpaths shown on the map there was little evidence of any on the ground nor any signage at all to help guide walkers through farmyards and round private dwellings. Eventually I made it up on to the summit which was quite frankly an appalling mess. A passing local told me that the local landowner had filled in an old quarry and was supposed to be re-grassing the area but had never got round to doing so. Perhaps this also explains the disappearance of the higher of two trig points on the top of the hill.
After a brief visit to the surviving trig point and a sudden and vast view of the suburban sprawl of Bradford I retraced my steps back to Ogden Water where I treated myself to an ice cream.
Apart from the unnecessary detour at the end this was a fine walk with great views. If the weather is as good on the day of the sponsored walk everyone will be in for a real treat.
1. Ogden Clough
2. Some lovely little waterfalls in Ogden Clough
3. Gritstone outcrops in the upper reaches of Ogden Clough
4. Ovenden Moor and Windfarm
5. Approaching Nab Hill
6. The large shelter cairn on Nab Hill
7. Enjoying the view from Nab Hill
8. A zoom shot of Leeming Reservoir
9. Warley Moor Reservoir
10. A few of the turbines of the Ovenden Moor Windfarm
11. Ogden Water
12. Looking across Soil Hill Farm towards Ovenden Moor
13. The churned up top of Soil Hill
14. The surviving trig point on Soil Hill