West Nab rocks Meltham Hike

Mooching above Meltham – a jaunt up West Nab

West Nab above Wessenden Valley and Meltham

I didn’t have time for a big walk this weekend but I did want to check out a ‘peak’ which might form part of my half-baked Marsden 3 (or possibly 5) Peaks walk which I fancy doing at some point. I say ‘peak’ like ‘that’ because they’re aren’t really any peaks, in a mountainous sense, near to me. There are high enough spots to get a trig point and to command some great views – and to be really challenging in sometimes atrocious weather – but they’re not that Peaky.

Anyway the peak Brodie and I jaunted up to was West Nab, which is an outcrop of rocks (glacially carved and mucked about with) that has Meltham below to the east and the Wessenden valley to the West. It is definitely one of the higher areas of land in the horseshoe of moors that surrounds Marsden, with the trig coming in at 500m. And it felt exposed whilst we were up there, a strong wind providing a white-noise backdrop to our bog-skipping meander towards Raven Rocks further to the west (and looking over Wessenden valley). The gritstone rocks up there are impressive, with bowl-shaped gouges in some – I think glacier-carved rather than anomalies from the lagoon-bed of yester (yester x millions) year?

An industrious past

It’s a remote-ish bit of land although a popular excursion (based on our mooching about up there) for folks parking their car at the side of the road down below. And it doesn’t really ‘go anywhere’ as such in that the northern end is fenced off and bounded by the rifle range way beyond at Shooters Nab and the western side (by Raven Rocks) is fenced off by the National Trust, with no footpath available to get down to the Wessenden trail. So it’s a destination rather than a thoroughfare as it were. And therefore not conducive to a circular walk as you have to come off the top the same way you go up it and pick up the road again.

Interesting area though and I gather it was another one of the industrial zones for neolithic folks (like March Hill),  with some tools being found at some point up there. It was also the site (from the 1850s I believe , from some googling) of a small colliery and coal workings. As was its sister Nab to the north, although I don’t think they were ever big operations as such.

West Nab trig point Meltham hike
West Nab trig point overlooking Meltham, with the Emley Moor transmitter tower on the horizon over on the right
West Nab rocks
West Nab rocks – with some great shapes carved and transported by water, wind and glacial ice


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