Infamous in the local urban legends of my childhood, the Appleyards are a singularly dark and oppressive place.
There were tales of people being nailed to trees in years gone by and that kind of thing, urban legends and nothing more.
The area named “The Appleyards” is actually a lauded local beauty spot, offering a unique picnic site to visitors and residents alike. My own experiences of the Appleyards have been anything put picnic-esque.
That being said, my own experiences have been nocturnal at best and not focused on the picnic area itself. The notorious area that many think of when they hear “The Appleyards” is the wooded area between the picnic area and the canal.
As a youth in Linthwaite, I would often visit friends in Golcar and the route through the Appleyards was often the quickest way there and back. Not for those wary of elevation, the pull from the canal up to Town End is a relatively steep one.
From the second lock down from Lowestwood Lane, I would cross the packhorse bridge and pull up past the Appleyards to venture further towards Golcar Baptist Church and then up to the main hub of Golcar. A long pull but that didn’t bother me in those days.
For some the way back is a lot harder still.
I would often return home around eleven at night, a sense of dread settling as I entered the narrow ginnel alongside Golcar Baptist Chapel. Hastily making progress alongside the graveyard, the dread would increase as I came closer to the Appleyards. Then came the final push; the last of the street lamps ahead I knew I would soon leave it’s soft orange sanctuary to pass under the viaduct and make the run past the Appleyards and down to the canal towpath and perceived safety.
Only once did I actually run. The pressure of total malevolence emanating from left as I approached the viaduct was such that I ran all the way to Lowestwood Lane. I was young then, less brave.
As an older youth, as my interest in self-improvement developed, I would use the route as a means of concurring fear. As a life long gnostic and paranormalist, I have even been back on occasion to “investigate” the area. Not in an Yvette Fielding kind of way, you understand, more in a John Constantine manner.
There have been more notable experiences. Those with a sensitivity for these things claim to sense something of the Appleyards as far away as Milnsbridge and even go as far as to suggest that the sense of “other” doesn’t really leave you until you come off the canal at Slaithwaite.
Huddersfield Narrow Canal has a fantastic collection of sections for those interested in experiencing the paranormal, especially between Milnsbridge and Marsden.
I had a situation once regarding a place on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal called the Appleyards. It’s a picnic area on the other side of the canal from the towpath. It is where I encountered a spidey sense so strong that both myself and a friend collapsed to our knees at the same time.
Anyway, the place has consistently evoked that sense for myself and other friends whenever we have been through. I used to go there just to test the feeling, using it as a benchmark.
There was a time maybe 7 years ago. I had met up with an ex-girlfriend who was interested in the paranormal. She was a thelamite (I believe that’s the term for those who have studied and practice the teachings of Crawley). One night we set off from her flat, with a couple of other friends one sceptic and one other occulty type and walked the canal to the appleyards… it was about 1am by the time we got there (Student days eh? Never an early night )
The others were more interested in lighting their cigarettes and discussing the scenery but I led her down into the epicentre of the area… normally by now my spidey sense would be flaring and I’d want to run… but this time there was nothing. My friend looked at me with a smirk… I think she jokingly accused me of trying to get her on her own in a dark wood. I apologised as she turned to head out… as she got to the edge, I had been spinning trying to look into the trees to see anything… trying to push my sense to their maximum… as she disappeared over the edge of the path to rejoin the smokers I thought out loud
“Thanks a lot… I don’t ask for much do I… you’re probably scared”
And with that I turned my back and took a step… as that step fell it was like a lead curtain had been dropped behind me… my spidey sense flared up … not as much as it had done the time I had collapsed but it was strong and the things that seem to hang about that area were most definitely about.
I started to run up the path and was greeted by my friend, tears streaming down her face… she had felt it as it opened up.
So the embarrassment didn’t last long… even the sceptic had felt it but he still maintained his scepticism.
And again on Ghosts-UK.
One place on Huddersfield Narrow Canal, called the Appleyards, has been notorious in local stories. Urban Legends of people being nailed to trees for any number of reasons in centuries gone past. The place has such an energy at times it hurts… honestly (a friend and I were walking along the canal late one night and both doubled over… the feeling was that strong that our stomachs had knotted and legs had just gone to jelly… I’ve also seen things in the shadows and trees… the place is thronging with activity at times). I once took a group of people there, again just after the witching hour. I took them to show just how active it was… they were sceptical (of the place, all were aware of and interested in paranormal activity).
We got there and it was deader than a dead thing. Nothing, not a tingle on the old spidey sense. I took them off the canal and into the actual area (something i had never dare do at night before, the feeling was so strong normally). Still nothing. The others drift back to the canal and start talking about heading back… whilst I and one other do a circuit of the area… by now I am astounded and quite disappointed. I apologise to the lady with me and we head back… ladies first. As my lady friend stepped out of the boundary of the area it all came flooding in… like a thousand mocking and silent voices rolling in at once. Well.. it was nearly laundry time for me luckily the lady with me also felt it… the thing(s) had been holding off… purely because we had gone there deliberately.
More recently I have passed through again and taken time to explore the area in the soft summer dusk – dusk is a time of transition, a good time to experience those experiences that might be experienced when you look to experience them.
There is still something in the atmosphere of the Appleyards. Nothing I would say I had brought myself but something desperately alone and craving attention.
“Don’t look at me!” whimpered whilst thinking “Never leave me!” would be a way of describing the gathered thoughts that the area emotes.
A friend of mine remarked that he feels unclean when passing through the area, like wading through an air of ordure with particles that never quite leave you once you have passed through.
Oddly, while exploring the actual picnic area, I noticed a great many manhole covers, through which I could trace a number of waterways running through the area. This led me to a division of possibilities.
Firstly there is the scientific explanation-de-jour for paranormal experiences that is Infrasound – often said to be caused by running water (albeit hundreds of miles away).
Yet on the other hand, there is a thinking born of watching too many episodes of Supernatural: what if the waterways were deliberately crafted here, to hold something in? Certainly a theme I may call upon for a future work of fiction…
Discussing the area after a visit, I was prompted to put down the following verse to describe my feelings about the Appleyards.
Cold damp surroundings
Dusky feculent embrace
A presence claws out
Running water conduits hold
Innocence drawn in
Foetid miasma cloys
Eternally unclean henceforth
Freedom is sullied
The area is still there and still active; it is certainly worth a diversion if you’re walking in the area.