Start and end at the Queen’s Head in Scissett for a circular rural walk
A GRADUAL climb from the industrious valley bottom leads through lush meadows and pretty copses uphill to a quiet country lane that affords wondrous views over the surrounding countryside.
An exploration of the darkest depths of Deffer Wood beckons as the path loops round through the trees, before the return downhill trip through Bagden Wood and the grounds of Bagden Hall on the way back to the village.
From the Queen’s Head, walk up the A636 Wakefield Road in the direction of Denby Dale, passing Nortonthorpe Mill on the left. Turn left down Cuttlehurst, with the mills on the left and a millpond on the right.
Cross the narrow road bridge and follow the road up the hill as it bends round to the left. Walk past all the houses to where Lower Common Lane leads off to the left. Keep going up what is now Wheatley Hill Lane until a footpath sign is reached on the left hand side. (Be careful, as it can be difficult to see in the undergrowth). Go through a metal kissing gate and head up the field aiming for the right-hand edge of the copse on the skyline. Climb the stile and go straight ahead, with Wheatley Hill Farm up to the right. This forms part of the Clayton West Village Trail.
Walk to the end of the farm track and climb the stile next to a double field gate on the right (next to an electricity pole). Cross the field towards the right-hand corner of Riding Wood, and follow the wall down to the right. Climb the stile and cross a farm track over a stream. Walk up the rise into the next field and follow the path up through the middle of this field, to join Upper Common Lane by way of a metal kissing gate.
Turn left and then turn right through a stone slab stile and follow the footpath up the field side. The stile may be overgrown during the summer months, but there is a gateway beside it. Keep the hawthorn hedge on the left and walk up the hill to a wall and stone stile. Climb the stile and turn half right and aim for the left-hand side of the small copse, with the farm buildings just showing beyond. Continue towards the farm buildings keeping to the hedge side (where possible) to meet the road.
Turn right on Hollin House Lane. Where Hollin House Lane meets Wheatley Hill Lane, just before Toppit Farm, turn left over a stile and down a walled lane into Deffer Wood. Once in the wood turn left and keep left, following the track down hill. There is an open area of new tree planting to the right where wild flowers flourish.
At a T-junction in the track, turn right. At the next junction take the footpath straight ahead through the dense rhododendron foliage. Follow this path through this dark jungle until the edge of the wood is reached. (The stile ahead leads to Cannon Hall).
To continue the walk, do not leave Deffer Wood, but turn right and follow the path that leads along the bottom edge of the wood. Keep the boundary fence on the left and meander through the trees, gradually going deeper into the woods. At the next track, turn left briefly to visit the beautiful stone summerhouse, which is an ideal spot to sit and rest whilst enjoying wonderful views over the rolling countryside.
Return to the path and turn left and left again. Keep to the bottom edge of the wood. At the next junction turn right beside some tall pine trees.
After a short distance a track comes in from the left and then another from the right. Keep going straight ahead, up the main track, to Bagden Lane.
Turn left along Bagden Lane for about ½ mile (¾km), passing Ackin Royd on the left and Upper Bagden Hall on the right. Take the footpath on the right just past this farm, and cross the field to a stile in a green wooden fence. Follow the hedge down the field and cross the small stream by a green wooden bridge. Keeping on the same line as the bridge, cross the field to a stile into Bagden Wood.
The small path winds through the trees to the left, crossing a wider track before reaching the bottom of the wood. Pass beneath a large holly tree and take five stone steps into the field. Walk down the field (beside concrete posts) to a metal kissing gate, and stay on this line to another kissing gate in the far hedge beneath large oak trees, which leads out onto a lane. Turn left for a short distance and turn right just before the small lodge, into the grounds of Bagden Hall.
Follow the golf club instructions and keep to the path through the centre of the golf course, marked by white circles painted onto a line of mighty oaks. At the stile, turn left down the lane coming out beside the once-grand entrance lodge to the hall beside the millpond. Cross the small bridge and turn right, back along the main road to the Queen’s Head.