Love hiking, love Elmet
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply enjoy communing with nature in the great outdoors, Elmet Farmhouse provides the ideal base for a walking holiday in Yorkshire. With Hebden Bridge and the spectacular National Trust woodlands of Hardcastle Crags in the valley below, heather moorland on the hillside above and beautiful hay meadows all around, Elmet Farmhouse is ideally located for exploring the dramatic landscape of the Upper Calder Valley, with fantastic opportunities for varied rambles from the door.
Left: Hardcastle Crags with Heptonstall Moor beyond. Right: Heather moorland above Pecket Well
Left: Old Town Mill from Crimsworth Dean. Right: Hebden Water flowing through Hardcastle Crags
Walkers are welcome at Elmet Farmhouse. Located in the Heart of the Pennines, close to the Yorkshire Dales, with Brontë Country on the doorstep, this is spectacular terrain for hikers. Being enthusiastic walkers ourselves, we know just how good the countryside round here is for ramblers. We’re keen to encourage fellow hikers to come and stay so that you too can discover the delights of the Upper Calder Valley and the stunning countryside around Hebden Bridge, Haworth and the South Pennines. We provide maps, walks leaflets and guidebooks, so all you need to bring is your boots and rucksacks. We’ve even compiled notes on our favourite perambulations and we’re happy to give advice on local walks.
Left: Luddenden Dean with bracken in foreground. Right: Walshaw Dean reservoirs and heather moorland
Up hill and down dale
With its dramatic plunging valleys, rolling hills and rocky outcrops, the landscape of the Upper Calder Valley is very striking. One of the joys of walking in this area is that the countryside is extremely accessible, with an extensive network of footpaths, bridleways, ancient causeways and stone-paved packhorse trails dating back for centuries. You’ll find paths at all levels: running along river banks and canals in the valley bottoms, zigzagging up and down the hillsides through the woods, linking the farms on the shoulders of the hills and snaking across ‘the tops’ over the moors or dramatic rocky hilltop ridges.
Left: Hay making in meadow in front of Elmet Farmhouse. Right: Shackleton Hill from Crimsworth Dean
License to roam
Whether you prefer linear walks or circular loops, the area provides great variety and flexibility. There’s plenty to keep you occupied for at least a week in and around Hebden Bridge. Hardcastle Crags, with its bluebells, beech woods and waterfalls, is a walker’s paradise in its own right, with over 14 miles of footpaths crisscrossing the river. But this is just the tip of the iceberg: there are several other equally beautiful steep-sided valleys nearby, each one a hidden gem, including Crimsworth Dean near Pecket Well and Colden Clough near Heptonstall, as well as Luddenden Dean and Cragg Vale.
Left: Junction of Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean in autumn. Right: Rhododendrons in bloom on the banks 0f Walshaw Reservoir
Way to go!
Brontë Country is also within very close range. From Elmet Farmhouse you can hike over to Top Withens via Walshaw or Crimsworth Dean to get a flavour of Wuthering Heights, then amble along the Brontë Way to Haworth. Seasoned hikers can also tackle longer trails, such as the 50-mile Calderdale Way, or try out stretches of the legendary Pennine Way, which runs near Heptonstall and past Stoodley Pike.
Stoodley Pike towering over the high meadows and deep wooded valleys of Calderdale
Stride the Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is also easy to reach from Elmet Farmhouse, another rich resource for walkers. Simply head north to explore Wharfedale and Malham. Whereas the precipitous valleys around Calderdale are formed from millstone grit, the landscape of the Dales is quite different. This is limestone country, characterised by impressive geological formations such as the limestone pavements and dramatic cliffs of Malham Cove and Gordale Scar. A few miles beyond, the landscape changes once more as you enter the lush U-shaped valleys of Wensleydale and Swaledale, another world again.
Limestone outcrops near Gordale Scar in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
Walkers are welcome
So if you’re looking for a base for a walking holiday in Yorkshire, Elmet Farmhouse provides the perfect location. There’s such a wealth of hiking opportunities in this area – from Stoodley Pike and Hardcastle Crags to the Three Peaks and Simon’s Seat – you’ll struggle to pack them all in. Once you’ve sampled the pleasures of walking in the South Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales, we guarantee you’ll be hooked.
Left: Simon’s Seat from Parcevall Hall Gardens near Appletreewick. Right: The Strid near Bolton Abbey in Wharfedale
Hebden Bridge was the first town in the country sign up to the Walkers are Welcome scheme, now a flourishing nationwide movement. For more information about hiking and cycling in this area, including specific routes and specialist walkers’ websites, please follow these links:
© Text and images copyright Lesley Jackson