We spent Sunday exploring the Colne Valley with Northern. Our journey began at Manchester Victoria Station with the sound of vintage jazz being played by Silk Street jazz band. Vintage jazz band in tow we hopped on the 10.13am Northern service heading to Marsden, Yorkshire.
I’m always blown away by the array of amazing places just a short distance from the city centre, in a matter of minutes you escape the hustle and bustle of the city and can be surrounded by trees, picturesque waterways and spend the day walking through the countryside sampling some local produce or discovering independent local companies. It took us around 30minutes to reach Marsden station on the Northern service from Manchester Victoria.
Northern is the second largest rail operator in the UK, providing more than 2,500 local and regional train services everyday- with frequent services connecting the city to some of the UK’s most beautiful countryside, there’s really no excuse not to don your wellies and go exploring!
Reaching Marsden station, the fresh air, frost underfoot and bright crisp autumn sunshine was a joy– a proper autumn day. Marsden is a village in the Colne Valley. The Colne Valley is a steep sided valley on the east flank of the Pennine Hills in West Yorkshire, which is a jolly picturesque destination and the perfect place for walkers to enjoy a day out. We set off on our walk down the Huddersfield Narrow Canal heading for Dark Woods Coffee Roasters.
Marsden is steeped in history with large stone mill buildings dotted around the landscape offering a glimpse into the areas prominence throughout the industrial revolution. The Huddersfield narrow Canal boasts an equally as impressive history, being first conceived back in 1793! The canal side offers a rather lovely walk along the route towards the village of Slaithwaite (which I’m informed is pronounced “Slewit”)
With views stretching out for miles and the trees turning all the colours of autumn, we enjoyed a stroll along the canal side –I do love this time of year. The sky was bright blue and under the cover of the trees the water in the canal created the most incredible reflections mirroring all the warm, rich tones of the remaining leaves. It’s hard to beat a bright sunny autumn day with a little chill in the air.
After a brisk walk along the canal we arrived at Dark Woods Coffee Roasters. The Dark Woods Coffee building sits on the banks of the canal and is a beautifully renovated small mill building complete with open log fire, snuggly arm chairs and an impressive array of roasting machines with bags of coffee beans stacked up alongside them. We enjoyed a lovely selection of baked treats from Roger’s (the local bakery) Joined once more by the vintage jazz band we sat by the fire and defrosted sampling some of the Dark Woods coffee blends and flicking through some of the coffee magazines.
Dark Woods Coffee was started by three guys all with a real passion for all things coffee related and all specialists in the field in their own right, a common love of coffee brought them all together to form the company which is now an award winning coffee roasters with an impressive selection of blends to try– so inspiring.We got to see the coffee beans being roasted from their original ‘green bean’ state to the dark brown colour we all recognize, the smell was incredible. Not only did we get to see the roasting take place we also got to sample some of the Dark Woods specialty blends, one of which is claimed to be the most expensive coffee in the World! Take it from me- they have really good coffee. I’m currently enjoying the Under Milk Wood blend, which is perfect at breakfast time with a caramel taste. You can shop the range of coffees available HERE.
It was such a pleasure to spend the day exploring the Colne Valley with Northern, I can’t wait to hop on the train again and see where my next adventure takes me.To start exploring and to discover some fabulous local companies, book your train tickets over on the Northern website– advanced tickets really are a great price.