Another day, another lumb

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Historian Mike Harwood concludes his look at packhorse bridges...

In a previous piece (September 24), I talked of the packhorse bridge at Lumb Foot down in the Worth Valley near Haworth and, long before the coming of the railway or even the canals, of the crucial part these bridges played in the transport network of the emerging industrialisation of the north of England – the Industrial Revolution, as it came to be called.

There is another packhorse bridge with a like name – Lumb Bridge – today perhaps frequented by the shadowy ghosts of the packhorses and their drivers – the jaggermen as they were commonly known here in the north (from the jaeger the German breed often used as packhorses) - perhaps winding their way up over the moorland trail towards Burnley and Lancashire. From Hebden Bridge walk up the A6033 pointing on over the moor towards Haworth and Keighley. Just a little way along – no more than about a mile - you can turn off to the left down Midgehole Road and into the wooded land of Hardcastle Crags, nourished by Hebden Water. Within again no more than a mile or so you can turn off right through the National Trust car park and up the track leading north beside Crimsworth Dean Beck (flowing down there at the bottom of its steep-sided, wooded valley (Crimsworth Dene) to join Hebden Water); up and up and more up; maybe 2-3 miles and at the left side of the track there is (hopefully still is when this is being read) a signpost pointing steeply down to the right into the valley. There at the bottom of what must have been part of the packhorse trail (identified on the OS Explorer, OL21 1:25000 as Sunny Bank and still marked as a bridleway) is our Lumb Bridge. The word ‘lumb’ may mean well for collection of water in a mine and evolved to mean a pool.

Read the concluding part next week...