Tong walk – Oasis in the Heart of West Yorkshire
The last Suma walk was in a wonderful area that was completely new to some of us.
Nestling between the urban sprawls of Leeds and Bradford in a green wedge of land is the curiously named village of Tong and the 16thC Greyhound pub in the centre famous for its collection of Toby jugs was our starting point.
Some of you who regularly read these articles may think that meeting at the pub was a deliberate ploy to ensure a liquid finish option but not this time! Read on….
Tong is the oldest settlement in the city of Bradford and is surrounded by green belt and agricultural land. It boasts Tong Hall dating back to 1702 (which I believe is now office space), a cricket ground, golf club, large garden centre and St James’s Church which is historically important as apparently the only pre-Norman conquest church in West Yorkshire i.e. pre 1066.
Also, down Tong Lane, is apparently a camp site, a motorcycle hill climb venue and a nationally renowned rally centre. A bit surprising for a village only 5km from Bradford.
You may be wondering, like I am, about the origin of the name Tong and sorry to disappoint but this seems to be not entirely certain. One theory is that it lies at the fork or in Old English, the “tang” of two valleys. Answers on a postcard please…
Anyway, history lesson over, and about the walk which from start to finish was in full sun under a cloudless blue sky. Around twelve of us this time (plus a little unborn person as we were delighted that Kari, soon to be mum, joined us for the first time).
From the main street we turned down a lane near the village pinfold which soon became a track taking us quickly away from the cottages over a stream and along the outskirts of the woodland Tong Golf Club.
Ambling steadily through the fields we followed the course of the winding river at which point I bored someone with my sparse knowledge of oxbow lakes (one of the few facts I remember hazily from my Geography ‘O’ level). We said hello to some very laid back horses emerging suddenly to cross a main road.
Immediately on the other side we entered woodland which presumably attracts a considerable number of like-minded folk as the local authority were in the process of repairing some of the paths. Let’s hope they finish before the funding is withdrawn like so many!
We soon came to a clearing and a collective decision in true Suma Cooperative style was made to stop for lunch. (See picture of chilled out folk).
The last part of the four-mile circular walk back to Tong was completed at a slightly faster pace as someone had mentioned finishing at the award winning Goodall’s Farm Ice Cream Parlour with its choice of weird flavours. I pigged out on Double Chocolate Hokey Pokey and reckon that this was the first Suma walk where more calories were taken in than burned. We might try a longer, more challenging walk next time to make up for it – watch this space.