The woods of Coxley Valley; we live at the northern end.
TODAY I’M DRAWING a map for my walks booklet but, in the mean time, as that won’t
be in print until mid-autumn, here’s a Google-map view of Wild West Yorkshire. Embedding
Google-maps is something that I haven’t attempted before, so I hope it works for
This section of the Calder Valley(above) means a lot to me because it was where
I wandered with my friends as a schoolboy and, when I started at art college, after
a 9 til 5 day in the studio in a tower block in the centre of Leeds, I’d come back
home, have a bite to eat, and then set off into the valley with my sketchbook.
As you can see, there’s plenty of opportunity for the fledgling natural history illustrator;
marsh, river, farmland and strips of woodland. In the early 1970s, an old colliery
spoil heap (in the lower left) added to the diversity of habitats. Using the canal
towpath and a riverside footpath I would make a circular tour in an hour or so, pausing
to sketch anything that took my interest.
In the spring of 2004 a pair of storks attempted to nest on a power-line pole by
the canal (centre left by bridge), the first record for over 500 years. But, long
before that, to me, this home patch was a very special place.