A Walk Round Slaithwaite

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Lock 18 on the way to Slaithwaite

Today’s post is going up later than usual, because my weekend was a little disrupted by the reopening of (outdoor) swimming pools. Having mastressed the online booking system, I took myself over to my parents’ side of the hills and got in an early Sunday 35 lengths at the newly refurbished Hathersage Pool. I also got to see my parents for the first time in four months, albeit at a distance. All that excitement was unexpectedly tiring, and then I had dayjob stuff to do, but now we can get onto the main topic of my post: Slaithwaite, the next village-but-one to where I live.

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Looking back towards moorings, Lock 21 and Spa Mills

Slaithwaite, pronounced ‘Sla-wit’ or ‘Slath-wait’, is around an hour’s walk along the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal for me, with 12 uphill locks along the way. It’s a pleasant enough walk, taking in mills (most now converted into flats or awaiting restoration), farms, and a small nature reserve. The village is well supplied with independent shops and cafes as well as a range of arty activities. It also has a railway station, and moorings for canal boats.

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Spa Mills viewed from the road side

Since the lockdown began, I’ve visited Slaithwaite a lot more frequently than before, mostly to visit friends, but also to buy pastries from the Handmade Bakery, and have taken a fair number of photos on my excursions. Some of these have inspired me to carry out a little historical research, while others seem to want to inspire new stories.

The impressive looking Spa Mills was a steam-powered woollen spinning mill built in the 1860s, presumably taking its name from the spring-water spa that was established in the early part of that century and survived in one form or another for nearly 100 years. The mill building overlooks both the canal and the fire station.

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This sign needs a story

This intriguing sign advertising a molecatcher lies a little way outside the main village on the far side of the A62 Manchester Road. I do wonder what manner of people passing it are likely to have problems with moles, and how many of them write down the number on display.

A lot of knitting and other fibrecrafts were on display along the railings between the main road and the narrowest part of the canal in June. I particularly liked the piece that was almost reflecting the view across the street from where it was hanging.


I’ll be back in Slaithwaite this coming weekend, I expect, if only because I need to drop off come glass for recycling. However, I’m also planning an expedition to the village that lies between here and there, Linthwaite, in order to research one of our famous suffragists: Florence Lockwood.


  1. A good local molecatcher is a fine thing. I need to call ours soon because the ground where we had a conifer removed has been thoroughly undermined by one of the little black velvety buggers to the point where it’s dangerous to walk on now.


    • We seem to be lacking moles in the pony fields, which is good for the fields, but disappointing in terms of my wanting to see the ponies meet one. A previous pony was fascinated by the mole she spotted on a grass verge.


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