Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve, 427 Elland Road, Brighouse
Lovely environment, endless different paths and routes to take, plenty of access to water. Enough open areas for a good chase. If you keep to the gravel paths it’s fine in winter.
Directions: if travelling from Brighouse to Elland, pass Casa hotel on the left and look for brown road sign and turn down left. Looks a bit industrial but don’t worry. Small car park, go across Crowther bridge over canal and through the kissing gate into the reserve. Lots of good 1-hour circular walks.
Alternative arrangements are to access via Brookfoot Lock – turn down by the Avocet sign. This means a bit of a walk along the towpath until you get to a gate into the reserve. Can be a bit cyclist-heavy on fine days.
Rating: my favourite
Wellholme Park, Bradford Road, Brighouse.
Drive up past the police station and swimming pool on your right, and turn down right into Thornhill Beck Road. Cross the ford and park in car park. Good mixture of steep oak woods, massive park, and a stream for drinks and paddles. Can be very busy. Children with picnics can be a hazard in the summer holidays. Used to get very waterlogged in winter but there is now a 1km gravel path around the perimeter of the park.
NB: beware the ford in high water!
Rating: easy option, nearly always other dogs to play with.
Norland Moor, Norland.
Love it on Norland Moor – there’s a proper deep ‘swimming hole’ for dogs – labs love it. I park by the children’s swing park – but it’s a concealed turning. Typical heathery, peaty terrain. Very exposed on a wet and windy day – no shelter at all! Lots of peaty, boggy puddles for dogs to get extremely dirty in. Plenty of other dog walkers but it’s a huge area. Often horse riders too. Have got a bit lost up there when chatting with a friend and the walk ended up well over two hours long…
Drive up Rochdale Road from West Vale and turn right…
Rating: best 180 views ever!
North Dean Woods, Just outside Greetland.
Park up at historic Clay House and keep dogs on leads until you get into the woods. Keep heading up and bearing right until you come to a fork in the path. Take the downward path and eventually you will come to a little bridge over a stream and little grotto for drinks and paddles. (Can dry up in summer.) Don’t meet many other dog-walkers here. When you get back down there is a playing field for more chasing, and access at one point to the river.
Rating: lovely walk, can get very muddy in winter.
Stainland Rec and ‘the rocks’, Stainland
I live down Drury Lane – opposite the Duke of York in Stainland – which is a public footpath. Follow it down past all the allotments and eventually it opens out into ‘the rocks’ – the old quarry. Cross the bottom of the old quarry and head uphill and you come out onto Stainland Rec which is the size of about six football pitches. There are several detours from the rocks, but beware it is an old quarry and there are some steep drops, especially in the lovely old beech woods. Only downside, no water. You can also park up by 1885 and go straight into the rec, and then take a little foray down to the rocks. It’s quite a sloping park which seems to make all dogs want to run like the wind!
Rating: great apart from having to carry your own water. Also the public footpath route can be a quagmire in winter and quite overgrown with nettles