To continue where I left off yesterday with my little jaunt across Marsden Moor, I was on the top catchwater path heading round towards the Wessenden Valley. A path runs virtually parallel to the reservoirs along the valley from the village of Marsden at it’s foot, to the road at the top, three miles away which links Holmfirth (West Yorks) with Greenfield (Lancs).
I have tried to find out where the name Binn originated from. Most place names in this area have definitions which fit with the landscape, and there are some odd prefixes and suffixes to anyone not familiar with them: Bents, meaning grass-like reeds; Carr, meaning marsh; Clough, meaning steep gully, valley or ravine; Ing, meaning pasture; Shaw, generally meaning a wooded area. A lot of the names have originated from old Scandinavian, but Binn I have not dredged up so far.
What I did discover was some 1881 census information for the hamlet of Binn, above Marsden. There was a population of 78 in 18 households, whose occupations consisted of 5 farmers, 4 weavers, 3 fettlers, 2 stone quarrymen, 2 pupil teachers, 2 servants, 2 stone masons, 2 warpers, 1 woollen merchant, 1 gamekeeper, 1 auctioneer’s clerk, 1 tailor’s apprentice, 1 shawl twister, 1 weaver/farmer, 1 box mender, 1 teaser, 1 woollen knotter, 1 piecer, 1 iron planer and someone living on their own means, presumable who was also the employer of the 2 servants and possibly others.
A lot of these jobs were mill-work, and linked to the main industry of the Colne Valley, which was textiles, principally wool.
Crossing one of the many little streams, I noticed this old rusting metal contraption which looked like it might have been a cog or winding wheel of some kind, and linked to the original construction of the reservoirs.
I assumed the top path may bring me out somewhere further up eventually, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know if the catchwater stopped part way along, and with it the track. I’ve never walked along the top before!
A friendly cyclist said there was a way down. About half a mile further on, round the bend, over a stile, and with a house below, was a way, of sorts. He’d seen some people go that way. It was steep, unmarked, but clearly worn into a path. I thanked him and walked a bit further.
Round the bend-over a stile (bashing my leg hard on it!!!) -and with a house below- later, I thought said path had been located. It should lead down to where Blakeley Reservoir meets Wessenden Reservoir (pictured). Right, I thought, looks a bit steep, does this. Only one way to tackle this! As I’m a bit of a bugger for falling over, I reckoned if I went down on my backside, I’ve cracked it (descent, not backside).
So, propelling myself along, I slowly slid downward to where it became safe enough to walk. Then uh-oh! I found myself faced with a deceptive drop, and no visible track. I’d ended up in some boggy ground which I had to navigate through with no obvious means of descent. Still, where there’s a Jill, there’s a way, so I blundered through it all till I noticed where I could get to a footpath by those trees. It doesn’t look quite so far, or so dicey in this picture, but trust me, it was. At one point I was considering whether I should have to scramble back up again!
Having ended up on the main Wessenden footpath at last, it was time to follow it upward to Wessenden Head, the top res in the valley.
In part 3, I will be having a squint at the reservoirs of the Wessenden Valley.