October Expeditions

October is the month for walking in the woods and relishing the spectacular autumn colours as the leaves turn russet and gold. The steep wooded dales around Hebden Bridge are stunning at this time of year, particularly Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean, where many of these photos were taken.

Walk from the door at Elmet Farmhouse holiday cottage in the village of Pecket Well, where the hills meet the heavens. The views from up here are intoxicating, with Stoodley Pike and Hetptonstall on the opposite hill and the wooded ravines of Pecket Well Clough and Hardcastle Crags in the valley below.

Another nearby valley with mellow autumn hues is Shibden Dale, near Shibden Hall, Halifax, home of the 19th century diarist Anne Lister (‘Gentleman Jack’). The National Trust estate of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal near Ripon also has beautiful centuries-old trees, which are particularly colourful in the autumn. So, as well as the dales on the doorstep, there are many beauty spots in this corner of Yorkshire for inspiring autumn walks.

Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

September Hikes

Landscape and wildlife photographs taken during September in the hills and dales around the Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge. A walkers’ paradise and wildlife haven in one of dramatic corners of Yorkshire, on the doorstep at Elmet Farmhouse holiday cottage at Pecket Well, above Hebden Bridge, near Hardcastle Crags, Haworth and the Yorkshire Dales.

Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

August Ambles

Photographs of landscape and wildlife taken during August walks in the Yorkshire hills and dales around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley in the South Pennines. A walkers’ paradise and haven for nature in one of dramatic corners of Yorkshire, on the doorstep at Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well, near Haworth and the Yorkshire Dales.

Summer Saunters

July jaunts in the Yorkshire hills and dales around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley in the South Pennines. A wildlife haven and walkers’ paradise in one of dramatic corners of Yorkshire, on the doorstep at Elmet Farmhouse.

Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade

The Handmade Parade is one of the highlights of the annual Hebden Bridge Arts Festival held in the town each June. Organised by a team of professional carnival artists, puppeteers, makers, musicians, stilt walkers and performers, the Handmade Parade brings together local schools and community groups from throughout the Upper Calder Valley in a vibrant and colourful spectacle. 

Handmade Parade 2019

Handmade Parade 2016

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

June Jaunts

June jaunts in the Yorkshire hills and dales around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley in the South Pennines. A wildlife haven and walkers’ paradise in one of dramatic corners of Yorkshire, on the doorstep at Elmet Farmhouse.

Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

May Meanders


May meanders in the Yorkshire hills and dales around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley in the South Pennines. A wildlife haven and walkers’ paradise in one of dramatic corners of Yorkshire, on the doorstep at Elmet Farmhouse.

April Peregrinations

April Peregrinations in the hills and dales around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley in the South Pennines. A wildlife haven and walkers’ paradise in one of dramatic corners of Yorkshire

Gentleman Jack

Anne Lister (1791 – 1840) of Shibden Hall, near Halifax – whose story is told in the major BBC TV series Gentleman Jack – was a remarkable woman; a landowner, business woman, diarist, mountaineer and traveller.

Celebrated today as the ‘first modern lesbian’, the diaries kept by Anne Lister from her teenage years until her death at the age of 49 run to around 5 million words. Tall and boyish, she dressed in black and wore her hair in tight curls on either side of her face. With her neck ruff, stout boots, black coat and round hat (rather than a bonnet) she looked distinctly masculine. Nicknamed ‘Captain Tom Lister’ locally during her lifetime, she was later referred to as “Gentleman Jack”.

Anne’s diary entries chronicle her daily life, as well as social, political and economic events and her business interests. Approximately one sixth of the diaries are written in code. This clever combination of Greek letters and algebraic symbols was referred to by Anne as her ‘crypt hand’. The crypt hand entries describe quite graphically Anne’s deepest emotions, her private affairs and relationships with a number of women, including the tactics she used for seduction.

Born on 3 April 1791, Anne Lister lived at Shibden Hall, 2 miles outside Halifax, from 1815 until her death in 1840. As well as rent from farms and cottages, the Shibden estate drew income from its reserves of coal, water, stone and timber. Further income was generated from canal shares, turnpike road trusts and pew rents. Anne inherited the estate in 1836 after the death of her Father and Aunt and made great changes to both Shibden Hall and the estate, adding to their size and grandeur.

Following a series of intimate relationships with female friends over the years, which often ended unhappily, Anne was keen to find a ‘wife’ to live with her at Shibden Hall. In 1832 Anne became reacquainted with Ann Walker, a wealthy young heiress who had inherited the nearby Crow Nest Estate. Their friendship developed rapidly, the two became lovers and Ann Walker came to live at Shibden Hall in 1834.

Anne Lister’s story is told in an 8-part BBC/HBO co-production called Gentleman Jack, starring Suranne Jones as Anne Lister and Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker. Written by BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright (of Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax fame), who grew up in Calderdale, Gentleman Jack was filmed at Shibden Hall and the surrounding area. For more information about the film locations used in the series, please click here.

Shibden Hall near Halifax – Home of Anne Lister – ‘Gentleman Jack’

Shibden Hall, which dates back to the 15th century, is run by Calderdale Museums and is open to visit. For further information about Shibden Hall, please click here

  

March Meanders

March hikes in the hills and dales around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley in the South Pennines. A wildlife haven and walkers’ paradise in one of dramatic corners of Yorkshire

Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick