Under the dam

The other day, one of my nice neighbours told me about a walk to Scammonden cotton spinning mill. It was built but never saw any active use and is now a ruin in some woods near to Scammonden dam. The hamlet of Scammonden was flooded to create Scammonden reservoir which was built at the same time as the M62 running along the top of the dam. The reservoir filled up in 1969 and the motorway was opened in 1970. The reservoir has good paths around it and is often busy so I haven’t tried walking there during lockdown.

I decided to make the most of the dry morning and to do a longer walk and try to find the mill. The only slight problem being that my neighbour gave me a very rough idea of where it was. I looked online and found a hand drawn map which is not to scale making this quite a challenge.

I walked down my road and onto a footpath which was delightful, almost a hollow way in parts and sprinkled with bluebells, a bit gone over but great now that I know they’re there for next year. Down to a brook, across a footbridge and onto Hey Lane. Some smart houses with manicured gardens there in a converted mill complex, but not the cotton spinning mill I was looking for. Up Hey Lane and then I took a track off to the right. Before long I was passing through a mucky farmyard that looked like something out of James Herriot. On to another farm, a crude sign saying “private keep out”, a large barking dog and a public right of way padlocked up. For once, I wasn’t at all frightened by the dog but I decided not to continue (it would have meant climbing the padlocked gate) and retraced my steps. I continued up Hey Lane which is a very pretty narrow lane running higher up alongside old woodland, with a brook and waterfalls. Marred by the litter and fly tipping as I neared the motorway. I looked along the water to see if the mill was in sight but nothing showed up and I felt I wasn’t quite in the right place. There was another footpath I wanted to try but even though it is illegal to close a public right of way I decided to observe the request of the land owner not to use the path at the moment. I don’t want to annoy anyone if they feel that strongly about it.

I got up to the motorway and was surprised that the road continued underneath it. I went under to look at the motorway from the far side and there was a wide open gate leading straight onto the westbound carriageway! I went back under the way I’d come and looked from the north side where there was a matching gate which was shut. As I looked across to the open gate, a car zoomed off the carriageway and through the gateway! I was taking some photos of the motorway when an unmarked police car came to where I was to open the gate to go onto the eastbound carriageway. I told them I’d just seen a car go through the opposite gate and they laughed and said it was them!!

That reminded me of when Chris and I returned to our flat on City Road in Bristol. There were some dodgy looking men outside the entrance and a police officer in uniform was standing on the corner so I went up to him and said those people hanging about our door look very suspicious. It turned out they were plain clothes officers raiding the flat below ours!

I went back down Hey Lane and took quite a long route back to my house. It was fun seeing my house from across the valley. I saw very few people and didn’t get rained on. I did about 9 km and was out for 2 and a half hours. I didn’t find the mill but am going to give it a go from the other side of the valley. It was lovely finding new places to explore.

Author: Jak

Mountain Leader

2 thoughts on “Under the dam”

    1. I’ve reported it using the Ramblers Pathwatch app which makes it easy to do the location and photo at the same time. They pass it on to the local authority. I reported the fly tipping to the council.

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