Snowmageddon

Snowmaggedon

2018 has been one of the snowiest winters we have ever known, with repeated snowfall from January right through to April. In late February and March we were hit by two onslaughts from the Beast from the East (see snow sculpture portrait below) bringing  icy blasts straight from Siberia. The combination of blizzards and strong winds caused deep snowdrifts on roads and footpaths, so our guests in Elmet Farmhouse were (happily) snowed in for several days.

 

The snow proved a big hit with our February half-term guests, who borrowed our vintage wooden sledge. The gently sloping fields at Elmet Farmhouse are ideal for sledging. Many of our visitors come from parts of the country which rarely see snow, whereas for us, 1000 ft up on top of the Pennines, it’s a fairly regular occurrence during the winter months. This year has been exceptional though and we’re not even sure whether we’ve seen the last of it yet. The last snowfall was over Easter.

 

  

 

© Text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson

The Old Ways – Limers Gate

An invigorating early morning hike from Elmet Farmhouse to watch the sunrise on Limers Gate above the village of Pecket Well. Crisp snow, blue skies and pinkish light on the hills beyond Crimsworth Dean.

Initially climbing up onto Wadsworth Moor along Deer Stones Edge, then up to the trig point at High Brown Knoll, which has been painted with a red heart. From here, walking along Limers Gate in fairly deep snow, the path rather difficult to follow. Amazingly clear views all the way to Upper and Lower Gorple Reservoirs and beyond to Widdop Reservoir, the dam clearly visible covered in snow and the water bright blue.

Dropping down off the ridge to Wilcock Dam, wonderful colour contrasts between the orange grass and the pristine white snow, the dam astonishingly vivid blue. Sublime views of Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike during the descent to Pecket Well.

7  February 2018

Photos of the Month 2018

Elmet Farmhouse Photos of the Month: 2018

A hand-picked selection of recent photos featuring views from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well above Hebden Bridge and snapshots of the surrounding countryside in and around the Upper Calder Valley

 

March 2018

 

Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s been snowy!

 

Very snowy!

 

These are the snowdrifts just outside the door…

 

And these are the drifts around one of the doorways

 

The culprit! Also known as The Beast from the East!

 

Walking has been somewhat challenging as many pathways were blocked…

 

But it was a bit more sheltered under the trees

 

This was the scene at Crimsworth Beck, just along from Midgehole

 

Hidden beneath the snow and ice is a dam in Crimsworth Dean

 

View from packhorse bridge at Wheat Ing in Crimsworth Dean

 

Looking along the river downstream in Crimsworth Dean

 

As well as the snow, there were some stupendous icicles

 

 

Crimsworth Dean near the converegence with Hardcastle Crags

 

Deep snow drifts against the dry stone walls in Pecket Well

 

Footpath through the top field at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Snowy wallscape

 

Pecket Well War Memorial with yet another coating of snow 

 

Kittling Bridge in Pecket Well Clough

 

Packhorse track over Kittling Bridge in Pecket Well Clough

 

Atmospheric misty morning looking downstream in Pecket Well Clough

 

The dramatic view from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well

 

Sun breaking through over Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike

 

Sunlight bouncing off the snow-capped Pennine hills

 

Finally a thaw. Up on the tops near White Hole Farm above Crimsworth Dean

 

Ruined barn on the fringes of the moor, looking towards Stairs in Crimsworth Dean

 

Amidst all the snow, the lapwings are settling into their spring quarters in Crimsworth Dean

 

© Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

 

February 2018

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well on a snowy February morning with Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike on the horizon

 

Sunrise over Stoodley Pike

 

Dappled pink early morning sun on the snowy ridge of Deer Stones Edge above Pecket Well

 

Snowy moorland below Limers Gate

 

Sunrise at High Brown Knoll on Limers Gate above Pecket Well

 

Gorple Reservoirs from Wadsworth Moor at sunrise

 

Wilcock Dam above Pecket Well Mill

 

Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall from Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well

 

Pecket Well War Memorial just poking up above the trees from across the fields at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Elmet Farmhouse with snowy fields and vivid blue sky

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse over the fields towards Hardcastle Crags, Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike

 

The same view but a wider panorama, incorporating Pecket Well War Memorial on Smeekin Hill on the right

 

Spoilt for choice with the spectacular views of snow-capped Pennine hills from Elmet Farmhouse this month

 

The village of Heptonstall perched on the hilltop opposite Elmet Farmhouse 

 

Stoodley Pike towering over the Calder Valley,  as seen from Elmet Farmhouse

 

Frosty morning in Crimsworth Dean near Grain Water Bridge

 

Pair of trees in Crimsworth Dean casting spider’s web shadows

 

Drystone walls running up the snowy hillside near Stoodley Pike with moody skies

 

Triple whammy: Pecket Well War Memorial echoing the obelisk form of Stoodley Pike with Heptonstall sandwiched in between

 

Frozen bullrushes on dam in Crimsworth Dean

 

Sun hitting the steep snowy hillside near Wheat Ing in Crimsworth Dean 

 

A beautifully crafted drystone wall running up the hillside in Crimsworth Dean

 

A dusting of snow in Crimsworth Dean

 

Late winter sunshine bouncing off the meadows in Crimsworth Dean

 

Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean with heather moorland above

 

Drystone walls and leafless trees at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

On the tops above Walshaw looking towards Blake Dean at the head of Hardcastle Crags

 

Gorple and Widdop Reservoirs beyond Blake Dean at the far end of Hardcastle Crags

 

A row of leafless trees heralding the approach to Walshaw Lodge above Hardcastle Crags

 

Looking across Hardcastle Crags from Walshaw with Slack Heptonstall on the ridge and Stoodley Pike beyond

 

Hazy February afternoon in Crimsworth Dean, looking along the valley towards Stoodley Pike

 

Pair of leafless trees at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

Big sky above the three reservoirs at Walshaw Dean

 

Snowy hillside on the tops above Hebden Bridge

 

Sunset from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well with Hardcastle Crags in the valley and Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike on the far hilltops – 27 February 2018

 

© Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

 

January 2018

View from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well with Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall Church on the horizon

 

Crimsworth Dean on a frosty January morning

 

Grain Farm and Cross Ends Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well with sun streaming through the clouds over Heptonstall

 

The village of Hpetonstall from Pecket Well

 

 

Expectant ewes on Shackleton Hill in Hardcastle Crags

 

 

Bracken-covered slopes of Hardcastle Crags at Blake Dean

 

Roe deer in Crimsworth Dean

 

Crimsworth Dean above Midgehole

 

Winter sunshine on Shackleton Hill from Crimsworth Dean

 

View along Crimsworth Dean near Grain Water Bridge

 

Afternoon sunshine in Crimsworth Dean – still full of colour even in the middle of winter

 

Bracken in Crimsworth Dean near Lumb Falls

 

© 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

 

 

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

Jumble Hole Clough

Jumble Hole Clough

 

Jumble Hole Clough is one of the many delightful spurs off the Upper Calder Valley near Hebden Bridge. Steep, narrow and densely wooded, it is hard to believe that this was once a hive of industry. A series of water-powered textile mills once tapped the river running through this valley, including the picturesque Staups Mill, seen in these images.

Fay Godwin photographed these intriguing ruins for Ted Hughes’s book Remains of Elmet in the 1970s. Amazingly, the building is still just about standing, although the clough itself is more overgrown than ever. 

Just one of the hidden gems to be discovered on walks near Elmet Farmhouse. 

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

Bluebell Bonanza

Bluebell Bonanza

May is a fabulous time of year in the valleys around Hebden Bridge because the woods are awash with bluebells. This year’s display was particularly intense because of the hot spring weather. These photos were taken in May in the beautiful wooded dales of Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean, both  just a short walk from Elmet Farmhouse. 

 

Photos copyright Lesley Jackson