Glorious Gardens

Dove Cottage Nursery and Garden

Shibden, near Halifax

 

An outstanding nursery specialising in hardy perennials with a wonderful hillside garden  featured several times on Gardeners World, most recently in August 2017. The planting is lush and impressionistic, mixing grasses with tall herbaceous perennials to create a wild naturalistic effects with plants cascading over the winding paths. The garden is open from mid to late summer when the flowers and grasses are at their peak. Most of the plants in the herbaceous border at Elmet Farmhouse came from Dove Cottage Nursery.

Shibden Hall Road, Halifax HX3 9XA

Tel. 01422 203553

Email: info@dovecottagenursery.co.uk

www.dovecottagenursery.co.uk

Nursery open March-September. Garden open June – September

 

Slack Top Alpine Nursery and Garden

Heptonstall, near Hebden Bridge

 

 

If you’re interested in alpines, the award-winning Slack Top Alpine Nursery and Garden near Heptonstall, above Hebden Bridge, is the place to come – not just in Yorkshire, but nationwide. Situated in a stunning location on top of the Pennines above Hardcastle Crags, the nursery specialises in hardy alpine plants which flourish at high altitude. Run by  alpine experts Michael and Allison Mitchell, Slack Top Alpines has been profiled in the RHS magazine The Garden and featured on Gardeners’ World. All the plants are grown on site and many  can be seen in the adjoining garden in specially-made troughs and striking rock and scree beds. Whether you’re an alpine lover or a novice gardener, Slack Top  is an inspiring place to visit and offers one of the best selections of alpines in the UK.

Slack Top Nursery and Garden, Alpine House, 22A Slack Top, near Heptonstall, Hebden Bridges, West Yorkshire HX7 7HA

Tel. 01422 845348

Email: enquiries@slacktopnurseries.co.uk

www.slacktopnurseries.co.uk

Open from March to September, Fridays-Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, 10am – 5pm

 

Parcevall Hall Gardens

Skyreholme, near Skipton

 

A renowned plantsman’s garden located at the heart of Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Located at the head of a small valley, there are 24 acres of formal and woodland gardens which rise up the hillside for 200 feet giving wonderful views in every direction. The gardens were laid out by the late Sir William Milner from 1927 onwards, and are planted with specimens from around the world, many collected from Western China and the Himalayas. The gardens have many different facets, including woodland walks, formal south facing terraces, a bedrock limestone rock garden and a beautiful rose garden, all set against the stunning back-drop of the Yorkshire Dales.

Parcevall Hall Gardens, Skyreholme, Skipton BD23 6DE

Tel. 01756 720311

Email: parcevallhall@btconnect.com

www.parcevallhallgardens.co.uk

Open daily from April – October, 10am – 6pm

 

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

near Ripon

 

 

The picturesque ruins of 12th century Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, make a splendid excursion from Elmet Farmhouse. Adjoining the abbey grounds are the serene 18th century water gardens created by John and Wiliam Aislabie on their Studley Royal estate. Newly restored by the National Trust, who own both properties, the gardens consist of a series of lakes, ponds and canals adorned with classical statues, overlooked by temples, towers and viewpoints. These vistas, along with the stunning views of nearby Fountains Abbey, combine to create an unforgettable landscape experience.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, near Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 3DY

Tel: 01765608888

Email: fountainsabbey@nationaltrust.org.uk

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey-and-studley-royal-water-garden

Open daily 10am – 6pm

 

York Gate Garden

Adel, near Leeds

 

 

An exquisite one-acre garden lovingly hand-crafted by the mother and son duo of Sybil and Robin Spencer during the second half of the 20th century. A highly personal creation, York Gate is divided into small intimate areas by yew and beech hedges, with beautiful paving and choice plants. Highlights include the Herb Garden with its unusual topiary and the Dell with its attractive shrubs and hidden stream. A wonderful combination of architectural structure and inspired planting, York Gate is run by the charity Perennial (formerly known as the Gardeners’ Benevolent Society), to whom it was bequeathed in 1994.

Back Church Lane, Adel, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS16 8DW

Tel: 0113 267 8240

Email: yorkgate@perennial.org.uk

www.perennial.org.uk/garden/york-gate-garden/

Open Sunday to Thursday (and Bank Holiday Mondays) 12.30 am – 4.30 pm

 

 

© Text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

Piece Hall Halifax

Halifax Piece Hall – An Architectural Gem

 

 

After several years of renovation, Halifax’s magnificent 18th century cloth market – The Piece Hall – reopened on 1 August 2017 (Yorkshire Day). Originally built in 1779 as a market hall for merchants selling hand-woven woollen and worsted cloth produced by independent yeoman clothiers from the surrounding area, this spectacular Grade I Listed building is an architectural masterpiece.

Constructed from fine-grained local sandstone with a stone slate roof, the Piece Hall is the most significant surviving monument to the domestic textile industry in Britain. The building takes its name from the 30 yard lengths of cloth, known as ‘pieces’, which were the mainstay of its trade, along with raw wool.

A large rectangular building housing 315 small rooms, the Piece Hall is believed to have been designed by Thomas Bradley, a Halifax architect and builder who was Surveyor for the Calder Navigation Company. Taking the form of a quadrangle, the Piece Hall has a large open square in the centre measuring approximately 110 yards by 91 yards. Constructed on a slope, the western side has a ground floor with one upper storey, while the east face is on three levels, with internal staircases at each corner.

Classical in style, the Piece Hall draws inspiration from Roman and Italian Renaissance buildings. The merchants’ rooms are set back behind elegant colonnades. The lower arcade has round-headed arches on square piers. The middle level has Rustic pillars with Tuscan capitals. The upper colonnade has circular Doric columns.

There are arched gateways on three sides of the buildingThe north gateway, which was originally the main entrance, has a pediment topped by  a classical urn, and is inscribed ‘Opened January 1st 1779’. The west gateway has a classical cupola with a bell, surmounted by a Golden Fleece and a weather vane. The south gateway features elaborate multi-coloured cast iron gates dating from 1871.

Trading at the Piece Hall was strictly regulated and took place between 10 am and 12 noon each saturday morning. Originally cloth was transported to the Piece Hall by packhorses after being collected from farms and cottages on the surrounding uplands where it was made. The cloth was then distributed throughout Britain and Europe.

Following the Industrial Revolution, textile manufacturing processes were mechanised and production shifted to water- and steam-powered mills in the valleys. This radically altered the system of trade, as a  result of which the Piece Hall rapidly became defunct. From the early 19th century onwards the building was used for a variety of additional purposes, including firework displays, religious sermons and political rallies. In 1867 the Piece Hall was transferred to the Halifax Corporation and from 1871 onwards it was used as a wholesale fish, fruit and market. This continued for the next 100 years.

By the early 1970s when the wholesale market ceased, the Piece Hall had fallen into disrepair and was threatened with demolition. Thankfully it was saved, however, and after being renovated, the building reopened in 1976 housing shops and an outdoor market.

Following another major restoration project grant-aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Piece Hall has been given a new lease of life in 2017. Now managed by the Piece Hall Trust, it incorporates shops, galleries, cafes and bars, as well as displays about the history of  this iconic building. A varied programme of outdoor events – from street theatre to art installations and concerts – will be held in the repaved central square, a stunning public space.

Adjoining the Piece Hall  is the newly-extended Square Chapel Arts Centre, a lively arts complex including a cinema, theatre and cafe bar. Housed in the historic Square Chapel, a red-brick Georgian chapel dating back to 1772, this is a key element in Halifax’s new Cultural Quarter, along with the new Central Library and Archive incorporating the spire of the 19th century Square Church. The library houses a Visitor Information Centre and provides direct access to the Piece Hall from Halifax railway station and  neighbouring Eureka! The National Children’s Museum.

 

 

www.thepiecehall.co.uk

www.squarechapel.co.uk

www.historicengland.org.uk

 

 

© Text and images copyright Lesley Jackson

Bingley Five Rise Locks

Bingley’s Five Rise Locks

One of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways

 

 

Less than 3 miles from Saltaire along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal are the famous Five Rise Locks at Bingley, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Built  in 1774, the five adjoining locks raise boats over 59 feet (18 metres) over a distance of 320 feet.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, connecting two major cities on either side of the Pennines, spans 127 miles and is the longest canal in the UK. Bingley’s Five Rise Locks are 16 miles from Leeds. Known as staircase locks because they open directly into each other, with the top gate of one lock forming the bottom gate of the next, Bingley’s Five Rise Locks are the steepest in the  country. A few hundred yards along the canal is another shorter flight of locks: the Bingley Three Rise Locks.

Designed by John Longbotham of Halifax, the Five Rise Locks were built by four local stonemasons: John Sugden of Wilsden and Barnabus Morvil, Jonathan Farrar and William Wild of Bingley.

The locks are a remarkable feat of engineering and are still in use today, operated by lock keepers. The photographs show two narrow boats passing through the Five Rise Locks in August 2017. 

 

For more information, follow these links:

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Pennine Waterways

Canal and River Trust

www.penninewaterways.co.uk

© Text and photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

Looping the Loop

Looping the Loop: Crimsworth – Walshaw – Hardcastle Crags

 

 

Walkers are spoilt for choice in the countryside around Elmet Farmhouse, with its dramatic and varied landscape and the dense network of paths. On a fine clear day, there’s no better hike than the Crimsworth Walshaw Loop, a high level walk up on ‘the tops’ with glorious views of wooded valleys, hilltop hay meadows and rolling heather moors. Spring, summer, autumn or winter, if the sun is shining, this is the place to be.

These photos record an extended version of the Crimsworth Walshaw Loop in mid August when the heather moorland is in full bloom and turns a rich deep purple. The walk begins at Grain Water Bridge at the far end of Crimsworth Dean, then veers off up the hill over to Walshaw. After dropping down to Walshaw Lodge, it climbs up over Walshaw Moor to the string of reservoirs at Walshaw Dean, where it joins the Pennine Way. 

On meeting Alcomden Water, the route follows a track for several miles from Blake Dean to Shackleton Hill, with ravishing views across Hardcastle Crags towards Slack Heptonstall, with Stoodley Pike in the distance. Eventually it meets a footpath which curves back round through Crimsworth Dean. 

Inspiring and invigorating, this has got to be one of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales.

 

© Text and images copyright Lesley Jackson

Heavenly Heather

Heavenly Heather

 

“I have fled my country and gone to the heather” 

Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë was right. August is the time to head to the hills and immerse yourself in the glorious heather moorlands. Because the hillsides of the Upper Calder Valley are so steep, the carpet of heather on the plateau-like uplands is barely visible from down in the dales. It’s only when you venture up onto ‘the tops’ beyond the hay meadows on the shoulders of the hills that you encounter the purple haze.

Good spots for heather walks are Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well, Midgley Moor above Luddenden Dean, Heptonstall Moor above Colden, and Walshaw Dean and Widdop Reservoir above Hardcastle Crags. On a hot summer’s day with the sweet scent of the heather and the bees buzzing all around as they gather the nectar for honey, it’s an intoxicating sensory experience and a visual spectacle not to be missed.

 

High Waving Heather
Emily Brontë

High waving heather, ‘neath stormy blasts bending,
Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars;
Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending,
Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending,
Man’s spirit away from its drear dongeon sending,
Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.

All down the mountain sides, wild forest lending
One mighty voice to the life-giving wind;
Rivers their banks in the jubilee rending,
Fast through the valleys a reckless course wending,
Wider and deeper their waters extending,
Leaving a desolate desert behind.

Shining and lowering and swelling and dying,
Changing for ever from midnight to noon;
Roaring like thunder, like soft music sighing,
Shadows on shadows advancing and flying,
Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying,
Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.

13 December 1836

High Summer on Midgley Moor

The moorland  above Luddenden Dean is carpeted with heather, which blooms throughout the month of August and into early September.  As the heather comes into flower, the moors take on a vivid purple hue, which becomes more and more intense. 

These photographs were taken on a walk from Pecket Well to Luddenden Dean over Wadsworth Moor and Midgley Moor. Perched on the hilltop overlooking the Luddenden valley are two small reservoirs where the heather grows right up to the water’s edge. 

 

Walking on the Wild Side at Widdop

 

Two hikes near Widdop above Hardcastle Crags in mid August with the heather in full bloom.

First walk along Great Edge, the ridge above Widdop Reservoir, early one sunny morning. Tramping through the heather via a series of  rocky outcrops known variously as Slack Stones, Raven Stones and The Scout that lead up to Great Edge. Beyond, a sea of heather on Widdop Moor, sliced through in the distance by the blade-like rocks of Dove Stones.

Returning along a bridlepath by the shores of Widdop Reservoir. The low water levels revealing sand and rocks give the impression of a beach. Looming above, the sheer cliffs below Great Edge. Very few humans, just a solitary buzzard and a few skylarks.

 

 

Second walk starting at Widdop Gate and climbing up to Gorple Lower Reservoir via Low Moor and King Common Rough, looking down on the narrow gorge of Graining Water. Ascending over the tussocky slopes of Flask to Cludders Slack, a fine vantage point high up above Widdop Reservoir at 390 metres, with dramatic views  towards Great Edge. 

Circling the shores of Widdop Reservoir, then cutting across to Alcomden Water and along to Blake Dean at the top end of Hardcastle Crags. A blustery afternoon which started out with dark brooding skies but culminated in bright warm sunshine. Captivating light effects on the purple hills and the steep lush heather-covered slopes of Blake Dean.

© Text copyright Lesley Jackson

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

Walk on the Wild Side at Widdop

Walking on the Wild Side at Widdop

 

Two hikes near Widdop above Hardcastle Crags in mid August with the heather in full bloom.

First walk along Great Edge, the ridge above Widdop Reservoir, early one sunny morning. Tramping through the heather via a series of  rocky outcrops known variously as Slack Stones, Raven Stones and The Scout that lead up to Great Edge. Beyond, a sea of heather on Widdop Moor, sliced through in the distance by the blade-like rocks of Dove Stones.

Returning along a bridlepath by the shores of Widdop Reservoir. The low water levels revealing sand and rocks give the impression of a beach. Looming above, the sheer cliffs below Great Edge. Very few humans, just a solitary buzzard and a few skylarks.

 

 

Second walk starting at Widdop Gate and climbing up to Gorple Lower Reservoir via Low Moor and King Common Rough, looking down on the narrow gorge of Graining Water. Ascending over the tussocky slopes of Flask to Cludders Slack, a fine vantage point high up above Widdop Reservoir at 390 metres, with dramatic views  towards Great Edge. 

Circling the shores of Widdop Reservoir, then cutting across to Alcomden Water and along to Blake Dean at the top end of Hardcastle Crags. A blustery afternoon which started out with dark brooding skies but culminated in bright warm sunshine. Captivating light effects on the purple hills and the steep lush heather-covered slopes of Blake Dean.

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

 

 

Hepworth 2017 Museum of Year

The Hepworth

Wakefield

Winner of Museum of the Year for 2017, The Hepworth showcases an outstanding collection of sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in a stunning modern building by leading architect David Chipperfield. One of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century, local artist Barbara Hepworth was inspired by the Yorkshire landscape where she grew up. The Hepworth celebrates her achievements and forms part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, along with the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Leeds Art Gallery. The museum also hosts a stimulating programme of exhibitions, mainly focusing on 20th century and contemporary art. 

Gallery Walk, Wakefield WF1 5AW

Tel. 01924 247360 

www.hepworthwakefield.org 

 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

West Bretton, near Wakefield

 

 

Part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle – along with Leeds Art Gallery and The Hepworth in Wakefield – the award-winning Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a fantastic indoor-outdoor venue for exhibitions of modern sculpture. Major exhibitions are held in the museum’s striking hillside galleries and on the surrounding landscaped estate at Bretton Hall. The nearby chapel provides another stunning venue and large-scale works by Henry Moore sculptures are also displayed in the open countryside in the adjoining country park. Museum of the Year for 2014, YSP is an excellent place to visit for both adults and kids.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4LG

Tel. 01924 832631

www.ysp.co.uk

Hiking in Hardcastle Crags

A Summer Saunter through Hardcastle Crags

 

 

A summer saunter through the woodland paradise of Hardcastle Crags in Hebden Dale near Hebden Bridge on 22 July 2017. Starting at Widdop Gate, looping around via Blake Dean, then climbing up to the Crags before dropping down to Gibson Mill.

Returning back through the woods along the banks of Hebden Water, criss-crossing the river over the three footbridges, then ascending to the top of the woods, looking across to Walshaw Lodge before climbing back up the steep steps to Widdop Gate.

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Deer oh Deer!

Deer oh Deer!

 

This beautiful roe deer…

 

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… gave birth to this tiny kid in our hay meadow last week (June 2016)

 

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Mother and child doing well – here’s the kid having a feed

 

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And this is where it all happened – in the long grass of our hay meadow – with the backdrop of Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike. You can see just see the hind in the field on the lower right….

 

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And here she is leaping through the buttercups and sorrel, circling round protectively while her kid is curled up in the grass

 

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Roe Deer

Roe deer are regularly spotted in the wooded valleys around Hebden Bridge, especially early in the morning, sometimes venturing into the hilltop meadows or up onto the moors. The stags have small antlers and, when alarmed, they make a loud barking noise that echoes for miles around. These photographs were taken in Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags.

 

 

Getting down with the kids!

 

As if 2016 wasn’t good enough on the roe deer front, this year at Elmet Farmhouse we have been blessed with twins. Presumably it’s the same hind who has returned, or possibly her grown-up kid from last year. Either way, she clearly feels at home in the hay meadows at Elmet Farmhouse as she has chosen to come back and establish her nursery here again.

We spotted the twins in early June among the long grass with their mother but at that stage they were hard to see. It wasn’t until the hay  was cut in mid July that we were able to get some photographs. These images were taken by Ian in the late evening sunshine at the bottom of the field near our newly-planted trees.

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick