Many of the footpaths mentioned here, whilst still in use, pass through housing developments. Some have probably been diverted a little in order to make the new developments more efficient. However, we still have our public footpaths, many going back for centuries. Fortunately some are almost as they were 100 years ago except the footpaths tend to become overgrown by grasses and weeds due to our villagers not making full use of their beauty.
These footpaths are on plans held by the local authorities identified by a number which is followed by a short description of the route, The following are recognised public paths in Stanley.'-Ref- SE32 SW3424 path No.6 is a footpath commencing at its junction at Canal Lane and proceeding in a north and north-easterly direction to its junction with Moor Road and a branch to the Rothwell boundary. The surface is earth and it is 258 metres in length and within it is one stile.
Footpath No.8. Map Ref SE32 NW3425 is a footpath known as Fenton Road, commencing at its junction with Lee Moor Road and proceeding in a northeasterly direction to the Rothwell boundary. The surface is ashed and earth and it is 547 metres in length.
Footpath No.9. Map Ref SE32 SE3524 is a footpath commencing at its junction with the Wakefield and Aberford Road (A642) south of Newmarket Gate and proceeding north-westward to its junction with path 8. The surface is earth and it is 966 metres in length.
Footpath No.10. Map Ref SE32 SE3264 SE32 NE is a footpath commencing at its junction with Bottomboat Lane and proceeding in a north-westerly direction across the railway to the Rothwell boundary. The surface is earth and it is 322 metres in length, crossing one railway bridge.
Footpath No.11. Map Ref SE32 3524 SE32 SW is a footpath commencing at its junction with the Wakefield and Aberford Road (A642) at Stanley Institute and proceeding westward to its junction with Mount Road adjoining the schools. It is an ashed surface, 403 metres in length, known locally as Bull Wagon Road.
Footpath No.12. Map Ref: SE32 SE3524 SF32 SW is a footpath commencing at its junction with Bottomboat Lane at Bottomboat old schools and proceeding in a south-westerly direction to the River Calder, thence southwards to its junction with Ferry Lane. Surface arable, 2060 metres in length crossing a footbridge where a stream enters the River Calder.
I walked this path on one occasion during the summer of 1993 and it has changed very little since I first walked it with my parents 70 years ago starting from Bottomboat. The cut is still there and local villagers were sat on its banks fishing. They told me that it was well stocked with fresh water fish. A local farmer was working in the surrounding arabic land.
Although only a 1000 metres away from the main roadways, it was like being on a new planet compared to the road I had just left behind me with its never-ending flow of traffic. It gave me great pleasure to see the swans and ducks once again on the River Calder. A rabbit a few yards away from the path looked at me for a few seconds, decided there was nicer scenery to look at and scampered away. There was an abundance of birds along the whole length of the walk. I took a careful look at the stream as it enters the River Calder at the footbridge and noted that there were sticklebacks swimming at the entrance and plenty of frogs and roads and the occasional water rat. The church in the background looked as it was in 1824.
70 years ago there would have been some of the villagers swimming in the river on this nice summer's day; perhaps in the very near future if the river continues to be less polluted we may see a repeat of those days. When I made my exit on to Ferry Lane I had a short walk around the Aqueduct area and, had my legs not been tiring a little, the walk alongside the side of the canal towards the ex-Parkhill Colliery area can give so much pleasure.
Footpath No.13. Map Ref SE32 SE3524 is a footpath known as Lake Lock, commencing at its junction with the "Wakefield and Aberford County Road adjoining the Inn and proceeding in a south-easterly and easterly direction to the junction with path 12. An ashed path, 177 metres in length - only a short distance but within it there is an abundance of Stanley history. The remains of the Inn (1700), now re-built as the Thatched House. The rhubarb sheds in which Fred Crossley made his debut on the TV garden programme 'Growing Rhubarb'. Some old and some new dwellings but all blended into this medieval walk with the care of good planning.
Footpath No.14 Map Ref: SE32 SW3424 SE32 SE is a footpath commencing at its junction with Lime Pit Lane and proceeding in a north-easterly direction to its junction with Beaumont Housing Estate. The path re-commences at the Wakefield Aberford County Road (A642) and proceeds north-eastwards to its junction with path 12 at the River Calder. 177 and 306 metres in length.
Footpath No. 15 Map Ref: SE32 SW3424 is a footpath commencing at its junction with the Aberford Road (A642) and proceeding in a north-westerly direction across Lake Lock Road to its junction with Long Causeway - a distance of 322 metres and 161 metres, the latter is now surfaced with Tarmac. There is, within the first section, the following points of interest:-
1) The Vicarage - a fine residence built of stone, The parsonage early 19th century.
2) The ex-Garden Gate innearly 20th century, now used as a residence.
3) Old Charlesworth's local pits (now filled in and capped).
4) Evidence of two wells which would no doubt serve the residents in that area shown on 1850 plan.
Footpath No. 17, Map Ref SE32 SW3425 is a footpath known as Water Lane at its junction with path No.12 and proceeding in a north-westerly direction to its junction with the Wakefield and Aberford County Road (A642). An ashed/tarmac surface 258 metres in length and 10 feet in width. This is a well-used road, being a means of access to the sewerage plant.
Footpath No.18, Map Ref SE32 SW3324 is a footpath commencing at the junction with Canal Lane and proceeding southward, then westward along the old railway embankment to its junction with Baker Lane. Surface of earth, 177 metres in length.
Footpath No.19. Map Ref: SE32 SW3324 is a footpath commencing at the junction with Baker Lane and proceeding in a southerly direction across the old light railway track to its junction on Rooks Nest Road. This path has an earth surface and is 306 metres in length.
Footpath No.20. Map Ref: SE32 SW3323 is a footpath commencing at its junction with Rooks Nest Road at ex-Moxons Fold and proceeding in a south-easterly direction to Fish Pond Wood and thence south-westward to its junction with path No.28 with a branch proceeding north-eastward to its junction with Finkin Lane. It goes through arablc land and is 1304 metres in length. In Finkin Lane there is an old 18th century house, Erringtons Rouse, which was then used as a residence and workshop for weavers.
This walk brings back a few memories of the 1930's. During the summer it was a favourite walk for villagers, so much so that often a local brass band would play from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm in an open field approximately 200 metres from the wood. The villagers sat on the grass and enjoyed the music.
Footpath No.28. Map Ref: SE32 SW3422 is a footpath commencing at its junction with the Wakefield and Aberford County Road (A642) and proceeding in a north-westerly direction to its junction with Ouchthorpe Lane at Field Head, thence proceeding south-westward to its junction with path No.37.504 and 483 metres in length passing through two stiles and the kissing gate.
Footpath No.29. Map Ref: SE32 SW3322 is a footpath commencing at its junction with Ouchthotpe Lane and proceeding in a north-easterly direction to its junction with path No.20 with a branch proceeding eastwards to its junction with the Aberford County Road. Total length- 435 - 161 metres. There is a kissing gate on this path.
All the paths in this area were often walked in my early memory and the number of kissing gates' suggests that young and old enjoyed perhaps a kiss at an appropriate place? The kissing gate was so designed to prevent cattle passing through. It was always open in one position and closed in another and no matter how they moved the gate and whatever position it was left in, cattle or horses could not pass through.
Footpath No.30. Map Ref: SE32 SW3322 is a footpath commencing at its junction with path No.28 and proceeding in a north-easterly direction to its junction with path No.31. 547 metres in length, there was a field gate and three stiles.
Footpath No.31 Map Ref: SE32 SW3323 is a footpath commencing at its junction with Ouchthorpe Lane south of the Prince of Wales public house (now demolished) and proceeding eastwards to its junction with path No.20.547 metres in length.
Footpath No.21 Map Ref: SE32 SW3422 is a footpath commencing at its junction with path No.20 and proceeding in a north- easterly and thence a south-easterly direction to its junction with Finkin Lane. Length 113 metres.
Some changes in identification are no longer there; for example the Prince of Wales public house has been demolished. I doubt whether the kissing gates are still in operation.
The footpaths connected from Rooks Nest Road to Ouchthorpe Lane and the Wakefield Aberford Road are surrounded by open fields, mainly for corn, potatoes and vegetables. In addition there is a nature reserve, known as Marsh Way, which commences from Lime Pit Lane and through woodlands and lakes there are paths through to Ouchthorpe. The view of the village of Stanley from the highest point on Ouchthorpe Lane on a clear day is worth a few minutes just to stand there and stare. The footpath from Rooks Nest Road to Lime Pit Lane on the old tramway, locally known as the Nagger Lines, is through open fields, Many times I have enjoyed the taste of fresh watercress from the stream running parallel to this road. If you are in luck you may see a fox in the surrounding fields; for many years the vixen have dug their dens in the surrounding woodlands.
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