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

Photos of the Month 2018

lmet Farmhouse Photos of the Month: 2018

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

 

September 2018

Hardcastle Crags, the National Trust estate running through Hebden Dale

 

Hebden Water, the river running through Hardcastle Crags to Hebden Bridge

 

One of three footbridges crisscrossing Hebden Water in Hardcastle Crags

 

Trees spilling over the river banks in Hardcastle Crags

 

A canopy of green in the beautiful wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags

 

Bracken on the turn in Hardcastle Crags

 

Hardcastle Crags is internationally renowned for its fungi

 

The gorge-like valley of Hardcastle Crags provides the perfect breeding ground for fungi 

 

Late September and October are the best time for a fungi foray in Hardcastle Crags

 

Colourful and characterful fungi sprouting up everywhere in Hardcastle Crags

 

© Photographphs copyright Lesley Jackson

 

August 2018

Dramatic rocky outcrops on Great Edge above Widdop

 

Widdop Reservoir from Great Edge

 

Gritstone outcrops emerging from the heather at Widdop

 

On the rocks at Great Edge above Widdop Reservoir

 

Upturned  rocks at Great Edge

 

Widdop Reservoir from Great Edge with the road snaking past

 

Weathered  boulders at Great Edge

 

An elemental landscape sculpted by the weather at Great Edge

 

Great Edge above Widdop Reservoir

 

View from Great Edge looking over the moor towards Blake Dean and Hardcastle Crags

 

Looking back along Great Edge with Widdop Reservoir below

 

Gritstone rocks scattered along Great Edge above Widdop Reservoir

 

Low tide at Widdop Reservoir after the prolonged summer drought

 

Bracken, rocks, heather moorland and high hilltop meadows at Widdop

 

A blade of gritstone cutting through the heather on Widdop Moor

 

The beach at Widdop Reservoir exposed after a summer of minimal rainfall

 

Vibrant purple heather on Walshaw Moor above Hardcastle Crags

 

Heather-clad clough high up on Walshaw Moor

 

Heather moorland at Walshaw with Hardcastle Crags in the valley below

 

Roe deer high up on the moor between Crimsworth Dean and Walshaw

 

A stag and a hind silhouetted against the skyline

 

Roe deer on Walshaw Moor

 

View over the heather on Walshaw Moor

Crimsworth Dean looking towards Stoodley Pike

 

Heptonstall Church peeping over the hill at the far end of Crimsworth Dean

 

View along Crimsworth Dean from Grain Farm

 

Stoodley Pike from Crimsworth Dean

 

Roe deer in Crimsworth Dean

 

Much-needed rain greening up the hilltop meadows at Pecket Well, triggering swathes of mist in Hardcastle Crags

 

Roe deer on Wadsworth Moor

 

Hare in field above Pecket Well

 

The last of this season’s lapwings

 

© Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

 

July 2018

Barn Owl on one of his regular dusk hunting missions around Pecket Well

 

The hay meadows at Elmet Farmhouse provide a rich hunting ground

 

Field mice and voles offer rich pickings for the Barn Owl, who takes them back to the nest and feed his chicks

July was incredibly dry so the hay meadow at Elmet Farmhouse turned whiter and whiter each day

 

Kestrel in Crimsworth Dean

 

Buzzard riding the thermals over Crimsworth Dean

Lapwing chick in Crimsworth Dean, the last of this year’s fledglings

 

Curlew hidden among the long grass in Crimsworth Dean

 

Curlew hanging out with the sheep in Crimsworth Dean, the long grass provides cover

 

View along Hebden Dale and Hardcastle Crags towards Hebden Bridge from Pecket Well War Memorial on Smeekin Hill

 

Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike from Pecket Well War Memorial during this summer’s drought

 

Crimsworth Dean looking incredibly parched during the long hot dry summer

 

Bleached meadows above the green wooded valley of Crimsworth Dean

 

Sheep sheltering from the sun under a tree at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

Willow warbler catches an insect among the bracken in Crimsworth Dean

 

Willow warbler with an insect in its beak in Crimsworth Dean

 

Meadow pipits are ubiquitous throughout the area, particularly in Crimsworth Dean

 

Meadow pipits are often seen on the high meadows and up on the moorland alongside the skylarks

 

Meadow pipit with a juicy morsel

 

Another idyllic summer evening at Elmet Farmhouse, one of many this year

 

The evening light from the west bathing the hay meadow and spilling over the hills

 

Highland cattle in Pecket Well – alarming horns but tranquil temperament

 

Highland cattle near Sprutts Farm in Pecket Well, overlooking Pecket Well War Memorial and Hardcastle Crags

 

Mini-beasts: Highland cattle calves

 

Pair of Herdwick sheep on Deer Stones Edge above Pecket Well

 

A rare sighting of a Redpoll at Colden

 

© Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

 

June 2018

Little Owl giving me the hard stare near Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

Ahem, are you looking at me?

 

Little owls frequent this particular spot below Cross Ends in Crimsworth Dean and even have a cottage named after them

 

On the wire – kestrel suveying its hunting grounds in Crimsworth Dean

 

Golden plover on the moor above Crimsworth Dean

 

Golden plover amongst the bog cotton

Bog cotton near the Haworth Old Road at Stairs above Crimsworth Dean, a haven for Golden Plovers

 

Golden plovers amongst the bog cotton in the early morning sunshine

 

 

 

Crimsworth Dean is Curlew Country

 

Curlew in fine voice in Crimsworth Dean

 

Curlew making a hue and cry

 

Curlew on a mission, striding through the hilltop meadow at Thurrish above Crimsworth Dean

 

 

Oystercatcher stepping out in Crimsworth Dean

 

Lapwing near Deer Stones Edge above Pecket Well

 

Recently fledged lapwing chick with small crest

 

 

Female pheasant on the moorland near White Hole Farm above Crimsworth Dean

 

Crimsworth Dean resplendent in the early morning sunshine

 

Foxgloves in Crimsworth Dean – who needs a garden?

 

The sensuous contours of Crimsworth Dean – a valley that never disappoints

 

Crimsworth Dean and the uplands beyond

 

Perfect end to the day at Elmet Farmhouse – Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall on the horizon

 

Early evening sunshine on the hay meadow at Elmet Farmhouse in Pecket Well

 

Looking across the fields from Elmet Farmhouse towards Pecket Well War Memorial and Hardcastle Crags

 

Hebden Water running through Hardcastle Crags towards Blake Dean

 

Climbing up the steps from Blake Dean through the bracken

 

Blake Dean at the far end of the National Trust estate of Hardcastle Crags

 

Looking down on Hebden Water from Widdop Gate towards the wooded section of Hardcastle Crags

 

Blake Dean from Widdop Gate at midsummer

 

‘To the Crags’ – the rocky outcrops on the top of wooded knolls that give Hardcastle Crags its name

 

Gibson Mill in Hardcastle Crags

 

Gibson Mill reflected in the millpond

 

Beech grove in Hardcastle Crags

 

Footbridge crossing Hebden Water in Hardcastle Crags

 

Hebden Water

 

Bridges crisscross the river in Hardcastle Crags

 

Although the river levels are low this summer, these bridges have been regularly washed by floods in the past

 

Hardcastle Crags in all its verdant summer glory

 

Bracken-covered slopes of Hardcastle Crags near Widdop Gate

 

Two small reservoirs on the tops above Luddenden Dean

 

Sun glistening on the water in the sunken reservoir above Luddenden Dean, a wildlife oasis

 

Looking down on Crimsworth Dean from High Greave

 

Hay meadows at Thurrish Farm above Crimsworth Dean

 

Crimsworth Dean from near Grain Water Bridge

 

Spring view along Crimsworth Dean towards Stoodley Pike

 

Big skies above Grain Farm and Cross Ends in Crimsworth Dean

 

Meadow pipit with a juicy morsel in Crimsworth Dean

 

Looking up through the hay meadow towards Elmet Farmhouse in early June

 

Cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse in June

 

A constellation of candelabra primulas in the garden at Elmet Farmhouse – pinky orange Harlow Carr just love it here!

 

 

Eating out at altitude – dining room with a view at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Hay meadow at Elmet Farmhouse in peak condition at the end of June

 

Bleached fields near Heptonstall as the drought starts to take hold

 

Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall from Pecket Well, with Elmet Farmhouse hay meadow looking more like a field of wheat in the foreground 

 

Lapwings come to breed and rear their chicks on the uplands above Hebden Bridge each year

 

June is the best time to see lapwings at close quarters as the fledgling chicks are still on the ground

 

Lapwings abound on the fringes of the moor above valleys such as Crimsworth Dean

 

Golden plovers are another of the ground-nesting birds that return to the area each year to breed

 

It’s only when you see them close up that you can admire thee golden plumage that gives these plovers their name

 

Other coastal birds such as oystercatchers also head inland to the Pennine moors to breed

 

Bog cotton near Limers Gate on Wadsworth Moor

As its name suggests, bog cotton thrives on the blanket bog on the moor

 

Curlew among the bog cotton on Wadsworth Moor, another of the ground-nesting birds that favours this area to breed

 

Snipe at Wilcock Dam about Pecket Well, with its extraordinarily long beak

 

Lapwing in Crimsworth Dean

Curlew perched on a wall in Crimsworth Dean

 

A remarkably cooperative curlew posing in Crimsworth Dean

 

The early morning light and blue sky make for good photographs

 

The curlew’s long curved beak is ideal for digging into the ground for worms

 

Curlew at Thurrish, one of the highest farms in Crimsworth Dean

 

Curlew in the buttercup meadow at Thurrish in Crimsworth Dean

 

 

Juvenile pied wagtail near White Hole Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

Goldfinch in Pecket Well

 

Greenfinch in Pecket Well

 

One of the many warm sunny evenings we enjoyed this year at Elmet Farmhouse

Beautiful soft evening sunshine on the hay meadow at Elmet Farmhouse with Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike in the distance beyond Hardcastle Crags

 

Roe deer kid born in the field at Elmet Farmhouse at the end of the May, growing fast, changing colour and becoming more independent during June

 

River of mist at Elmet Farmhouse on 10 June 2018

The swirling mist shifts around in the valley minute by minute, as this photographic sequence shows

 

Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike hovering above the river of mist

 

Sun trying to break through, creating a pinkish glow

 

The view framed by plants in the garden

 

An atmospheric view of Heptonstall church

 

Homage to Fay Godwin’s photograph of Heptonstall on the cover of Ted Hughes’s Remains of Elmet

 

The bigger picture, taking in Pecket Well War Memorial as well as Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse with cows in the foreground and a river of mist in Hardcastle Crags below Pecket Well War Memorial

 

Lumb Bank, an 18th century millowner’s house, once owned by Ted Hughes, now the Yorkshire base for the Arvon Foundation

 

Arched recesses for beehives built into the hillside below stables at Lumb Bank in Colden Clough

 

© Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

 

May 2018

Bluebellerama!

 

A sequence of photos taken in Hardcastle Crags during May

 

…when the bluebells were at their peak

 

This year the bluebell season was short but sweet…

The start of the bluebell season was delayed by the long winter…

 

 

… and the length of the bluebell season was curtailed by the extraordinarily hot dry spring

 

Bluebells amongst the ferns

 

The dramatic steep wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags in spring

 

Bluebells aboung on the slippery slopes of Hebden Dale (aka Hardcastle Crags)

 

Heavenly walkway through the bluebells in Hardcastle Crags

 

Narrow path through the bluebells on the precarious upper slopes of Hardcastle Crags

 

It’s the ground that’s sloping, not the camera!

 

Intoxicating aroma and good enough to eat

 

A deep pile carpet of bluebells in Hardcastle Crags

 

Bluebells cascading down the hillside in Hardcastle Crags

 

Bluebells and stitchwort, the perfect combination

 

Three views of Stoodley Pike, here with bog cotton in the foreground

 

You can tell it’s a dry spring – look at this sandy path along the ridge to Stoodley Pike

 

Blue skies behind Stoodley Pike – the perfect day for an ascent with the reward of magnificent views

 

 

Pecket Well Mill across a buttercup meadow

 

Wild flower meadow in Pecket Well with red clover in the foreground

 

Green, yellow and white – the multi-coloured meadows of Pecket Well

Wild flower meadow with abundant clover below Purprise Farm on the slopes of Crimsworth Dean

 

Highland cattle near Sprutts Farm in Pecket Well

 

View from above Pecket Well village towards War Memorial and Hardcastle Crags

 

Hilltop hay meadows full of buttercups at Pecket Well with Heptonstall beyond

18th century Elmet Farmhouse with peonies and chaerophyllum in the foreground

 

Cottage garden in full bloom at Elmet Farmhouse at the end of May with irises and aquilegia

 

Harlow Carr hybrid candelabra primula coming into flower in the garden at Elmet Farmhouse

Idyllic early evening scene at Elmet Farmhouse in Pecket Well with roe deer in hay meadow

Watchful roe deer hind amongst the saplings at the bottom of the field in front of Elmet Farmhouse

 

Roe deer hind surveying us from the bottom of the meadow at Elmet Farmhouse, having just given birth to triplets, which she doesn’t want us to find

 

New-born roe deer kid with beautiful markings no bigger than a kitten, curled up in long grass at the bottom of the field at Elmet Farmhouse

 

We thought there was only one kid but we later discovered that there were three!

 

The proud (and protective) mother of the infant roe deer above

 

Watchful roe deer hind in the meadow at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Roe deer hind with early evening sunshine on the meadow at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Triple take – Pecket Well War Memorial on Smeekin Hill in the foreground, Heptonstall Church on horizon and Stoodley Pike floating in the mist

 

Looking over a buttercup meadow towards Old Town

 

Disembodied mill chimneys near Lumb Bank in Colden Clough

 

Stoodley Pike from across the Calder Valley near Blackshaw Head

 

Stile above Todmorden

 

Stone-paved causeway through the bilberries and heather above Todmorden

 

Early morning sunshine in Crimsworth Dean

 

A perfect spring morning in Crimsworth Dean

 

Lambs sunning themselves on the steep slopes of Crimsworth Dean

 

Meadow pipit in Hardcastle Crags

 

Bridge over Hebden Water in Hardcastle Crags

 

Cliff-like banks in the river gorge in the heart of Hardcastle Crags

 

Newly-unfurled leaves on the trees on the riverbank in Hardcastle Crags

 

Looking over Hardcastle Crags from the Widdop Road

 

Golden meadow by Pecket Well Mill, just across the road from Elmet Farmhouse

 

Cottage garden in the spring at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Geums in the cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Chaerophyllum thrives in the cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Stoodley stoat, spotted on the slopes of Stoodley Pike

 

Although it’s early May, he’s still wearing his white bib and tucker as it’s been a long hard winter

 

Stoodley Pike from Mankinholes

 

Blue skies over Stoodley Pike – spring has finally sprung

 

Gadding about at Gaddings – the beach in the corner of the hilltop reservoir

 

Gaddings Dam, hidden away on top of the moor above Todmorden

 

May Bank Holiday – blue skies reflected in the reservoir

 

Stoodley Pike just visible on the horizon across Gaddings Dam

 

Rushes on the edge of Gaddings Dam

 

Stoodley Pike on the skyline on beautiful day in early May

 

Meadow pipit on Wadsworth Moor above Elmet Farmhouse

 

Glorious early spring view from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well with the leaves just coming out on the trees in Pecket Well Clough and Hardcastle Crags

 

Swaledale ewe and lambs at Plumpton Farm in Pecket Well

 

A cosy nook for two Swaledale lambs

 

The toad he went a-courting

 

New foliage unfurling on the trees below Walshaw in Hardcastle Crags

 

View across Hardcastle Crags with Slack Heptonstall on the ridge and Stoodley Pike on the horizon

 

Hazy May day in Crimsworth Dean with Old Town Mill chimney on the hillside

 

The first bluebells of the season unfurling in Hardcastle Crags

 

Bluebells taking hold in Hardcastle Crags

 

A sea of bluebells in Hardcastle Crags

Beech trees in Crimsworth Dean

 

A river of ramsons in Crimsworth Dean

 

Or a gorge of wild garlic, take your pick

 

Crimsworth Dean, looking towards Midgehole

 

Fifty shades of green on Shackleton Hill

 

Tiptoe through the bluebells in Crimsworth Dean

 

Bluebells on the steep slopes of Hardcastle Crags

 

Cuckoo flower in Crimsworth Dean

 

A flotilla of ducklings in one of the dams in Crimsworth Dean

 

The first cut: early haymaking in Crimsworth Dean

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

 

April 2018

Sun burning off the early morning mist in Crimsworth Dean 

 

Percy the Pheasant on the garden wall at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Percy’s handsome plumage

 

Blue skies on a cold frosty morning in Crimsworth Dean

 

Sheep in Crimsworth Dean

Icy wall in Crimsworth Dean

 

Crimsworth Dean on a crisp April morning

 

Valley slopes below Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

Ice-coated dry stone wall in Crimsworth Dean

 

Winter meets spring: frost-coated green meadows

 

Long shadows cast by a leafless tree in Crimsworth Dean

 

Snow-capped Stoodley Pike from Crimsworth Dean

 

Hungry sheep chasing farmer delivering fodder in Crimsworth Dean

 

 

 

Crimsworth Dean with Grain Farm in the foreground and Stoodley Pike on the horizon

 

Pied wagtail in Crimsworth Dean

 

New-born lamb in Crimsworth Dean 18 April 2018

 

Digging in the dugs with their tails wagging behind them

 

Pooped, one and all!

 

Blue tit heralding the spring with a good old sing!

 

Pecket Well blue tit

 

Stoodley Pike from Wadsworth Moor with early morning mist in the Calder Valley

 

Skylark with crest, all-pervasive on the moors above Elmet Farmhouse but almost impossible to photograph

 

Formation lambs at Colden

 

More of a free-for-all at Colden

 

New-born lambs at Colden, all present and correct

 

Twins snuggling up together in Crimsworth Dean

 

‘I’m all ears!’ Curious lamb at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

Swaledale lambs literally tucking in near Hilltop Farm at Pecket Well

 

 

New-born Swaledale lamb in Pecket Well

 

 

‘Just stretching my legs’

 

Billy Goat Gruff in Crimsworth Dean

 

Oystercatcher in Crimsworth Dean, dirty beak belies a recent spell of digging

 

Top o’ the world- Big skies on the tops above Crimsworth Dean

 

From moor to meadow – no mistaking the division with the shift in colour

 

Bright skies and skudding clouds on the path over to Walshaw from Crimsworth Dean

 

Yorkshire palette in April: bright green hilltop meadow and bleached tussocky moorland

 

Crimsworth Dean lambs near White Hole Farm

 

Mother and child standing their ground in Crimsworth Dean

 

New-born twins, still a bit wrinkly until their creases drop out

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

 

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

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

Deer oh Deer!

Deer oh Deer!

 

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This beautiful roe deer…

 

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… gave birth to this tiny kid in the hay meadow at Elmet Farmhouse in early 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

 

Getting down with the kids!

 

As if 2016 wasn’t good enough, in 2017 our resident roe deer hind produced twins and in 2018  we were blessed with triplets. Presumably it’s the same hind who has returned, or possibly one of her grown-up kids. Either way, she clearly feels at home in the hay meadows at Elmet Farmhouse as she has chosen to  establish her nursery here again.

We spotted the twins in early June 2017 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 take some photographs in the late evening sunshine at the bottom of the field near our newly-planted trees.

The images from late May 2018 show one of the new-born triplets curled up in a ball. Another photograph taken a few weeks later shows how the kid has grown.

 

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.

 

 

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

Making Hay while the Sun Shines

Making hay while the sun shines

 

 

The fields surrounding Elmet Farmhouse are grown for hay each summer. As well as feathery grasses, they are full of wild flowers, including buttercups and sorrel. During the spring they turn from bright green to golden yellow tinged with red, providing a wonderful backdrop to the cottage garden. Watching the meadows grow to their full height is one of the pleasures of midsummer.

 

 

Hay-making normally takes place at Elmet from mid July to early August, depending on the weather. Roger and William Tennant from Horse Hey Farm just along the road at Crimsworth Dean cut and bale the hay for use as winter feed by their cattle. Their brother Jonathan, who delivers milk to the farmhouse, also lends a hand.

After the grass has been cut, it is left to dry for a day or two, then turned so it dries out more. The cut grass is then gathered up into long rows so that it can be sucked up and compacted into bales. The bales are stacked up in the field, before being loaded onto trailers and driven off to the farm.

That’s it for another year. All that’s left behind is pale stubble. But the grass is so lush that it soon starts growing again. Within a week or two the fields are green once more.

 

 

Haymaking August 2016

 

 

Silaging July 2017

 

 

© Text and images 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. The last two years’ displays have been particularly intense because of the hot spring weather. These photos were taken in May 2017 and May 2018 in the beautiful wooded dales of Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean, both  just a short walk from Elmet Farmhouse. 

 

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Photos of the Month 2017

Elmet Farmhouse Photos of the Month: 2017

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

 

December 2017

View from Elmet Farmhouse in the snow, with Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall on the horizon

The snow-capped hilltop village of Heptonstall, directly opposite Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well

The towering monument of Stoodley Pike on the snowy ridge above Hebden Bridge

 

Trig point at High Brown Knoll on Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well, a short walk from Elmet Farmhouse

 

Looking towards Warley Reservoir from High Brown Knoll on a snowy December morning

 

A lovely snowy winter walk up onto the tussocky moorland above Elmet Farmhouse

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

November 2017

Late autumn in Crimsworth Dean – the bracken has turned to russet but the grass is still a vibrant shade of green

 

Charolet cattle grazing in their scenic hilltop meadows above Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags

 

The precipitous bracken-covered slopes of Blake Dean at the top end of Hardcastle Crags

 

 

Late autumn splendour at Blake Dean

 

Blake Dean, where Alcomden Water and Graining Water meet to form Hebden Water, running through Hardcastle Crags

 

Hardcastle Crags, one of the most beautiful woodlands in the country, on the doorstep at Elmet Farmhouse

 

Stoodley Pike on a fine November day – no better destination for a hike near Hebden Bridge

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

October 2017

 

Elmet at Elmet! Congratulations to Fiona Mozley, whose highly-acclaimed novel Elmet was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. A new addition to the library at Elmet Farmhouse, alongside the Brontes and Ted Hughes

 

Autumn view from Elmet Farmhouse, as featured on the cover of Ted Hughes’s Remains of Elmet

 

Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall with autumn sunshine bouncing off the hills

 

Jewel-like colours on the hilltop hay meadows at Heptonstall

 

Residual purple in the heather moorland above Blake Dean beyond Hardcastle Crags

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

 September 2017

View of Heptonstall from Elmet Farmhouse at 7.25am on 19 September 2017 – beautiful pinky-purple light on the hills beyond

 

Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall in the early morning sunshine, with the trees in Hardcastle Crags just starting to turn

 

Multiple pockets of early morning mist clinging to the woods in Hardcastle Crags, viewed from Crimsworth Dean

 

River of mist in the Calder Valley between Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike, photographed at 6.54am on 19 September 2017

 

The magnificent newly-restored Halifax Piece Hall, built in 1779 for merchants to trade locally-made hand-woven woollen cloth

 

Looking more like an Italian piazza than an 18th century cloth market, the impressive Grade I Listed Halifax Piece Hall now houses cafes and shops and provides a unique venue for outdoor events

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

August 2017

This month’s photos are devoted to the spectacular display of heather above Widdop Reservoir, not far from Hardcastle Crags. Seen here is a dramatic rocky outcrop called Dove Stones slicing up through the heather moorland on Widdop Moor.

 

View along Great Edge, a rocky gritstone outcrop running for a mile or so above Widdop Reservoir

 

Great Edge with heather in full bloom on Widdop Moor

 

Widdop Reservoir from Widdop Moor

 

Widdop Reservoir from Great Edge in the early morning sunshine

 

Cludders Slack above Widdop Reservoir

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

July 2017

 

Deer oh deer! A beautiful roe deer kid in the field at Elmet Farmhouse, one of pair of twins born in our hay meadow in June.

 

Double at t’mill! Gibson Mill reflected in the millpond in Hardcastle Crags on a lovely sunny July morning.

 

View of Gibson Mill with the old packhorse bridge in the heart of Hardcastle Crags

 

Hebden Water, the river running through the narrow gorge-like valley of Hardcastle Crags, with its verdant summer canopy

 

First cut: the start of this year’s haymaking in the meadow at Elmet Farmhouse, with the panoramic backdrop of Heptonstall Church and Stoodley Pike

 

Making hay while the sun shines in the meadow at Elmet Farmhouse. The grass is turned several times so that it dries out before being baled.

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse with swathes of mist rising up from Hardcastle Crags and swirling around the hilltop village of Heptonstall, taken at 7.30am on 23 July 2017

 

© Photos copyright Ian Fishwick and Lesley Jackson

 

June 2017

 

The magical hidden valley of Jumble Hole Clough, one of the numerous spurs off the Upper Calder Valley near Hebden Bridge

 

The atmospheric ruins of Staups Mill in Jumble Hole Clough

 

Golden plover chick on Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well – listen out for the peeps

 

Curlew in Crimsworth Dean 

 

On the tops above Walshaw between Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags

 

Well-fed lambs on the lush green slopes above Hardcastle Crags with golden buttercups in the hilltop hay meadows across the valley 

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

May 2017

 

One subjects dominates this month… bluebells

 

An aurora borealis of bluebells in Hardcastle Crags

 

Close up and personal with the bluebells and stitchwort in Hardcastle Crags

 

Bluebells carpeting the earth beneath the trees in Hardcastle Crags

 

Newly-unfurled beech leaves overhanging Hebden Water in the woodland paradise of Hardcastle Crags

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

April 2017

 

Lamb piggy back in Crimsworth Dean

 

Number 1: new-born lamb in Crimsworth Dean

 

Early spring sunshine in Crimsworth Dean

 

Ramsons (aka wild garlic) in the woods in Crimsworth Dean

 

A river of ramsons rampaging down the steep slopes of Crimsworth Dean

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

March 2017

 

Mill chimney in Colden Clough near Heptonstall

 

Evocative remains from a huge complex of mills in the woods near Lumb Bank in Colden Clough

 

Elmet Farmhouse in the spring sunshine with a dazzling display of daffodils

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well, looking towards Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike

 

The handsome stone mullion windows of 18th century Elmet Farmhouse, with forsythia and daffodils in the garden

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

February 2017

 

River of Mist in Hardcastle Crags below Elmet Farmhouse with Stoodley Pike on the  horizon

Mist clearing in Pecket Well Clough below Elmet Farmhouse

 

Expectant sheep at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

Heron nest-building in the treetops above Hardcastle Crags

 

Early morning above Colden Clough near Heptonstall

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

January 2017

 

Stoodley Pike from bridleway above Horsehold, near Hebden Bridge

 

View from Pecket Well towards Heptonstall

 

View along Crimsworth Dean towards Stoodley Pike

 

Sheep in the bracken in Crimsworth Dean

 

Walshaw Lodge above Hardcastle Crags

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Snow-Capped Pennine Hills

Snow-Capped Pennine Hills

 

 

Last week we had our first dusting of snow overnight up here at Pecket Well above Hebden Bridge, but by the following day it had all disappeared. Yesterday we had our second dose, with blizzards for most of the day up on ‘the tops’. Today we’ve had alternating snow and rain, so it’s pretty slushy underfoot.

These photos show a snow-clad Elmet Farmhouse and wintry views of Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike. Below are the steep wooded valleys of Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean, with swathes of mist rising up from the trees.

 

November 2016

 

© Text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Tree-mendous!

Many thanks to Treesponsibility and their energetic band of helpers from Old Earth Primary School at Elland and Savile Park Primary School in Halifax for their heroic treeplanting achievements here in Pecket Well during October 2016. Thanks to them, the steep slopes below the hay meadows at Elmet Farmhouse are now planted with several hundred saplings.

Interspersed with oak, birch, alder and field maple are numerous hazel saplings, which will be coppiced in years to come. The trees will stabilise the hillside and help to alleviate the risk of flooding lower down the valley. Because trees turn CO2 into oxygen, they help to offset carbon emissions, thereby countering the impact of global warming.

Each sapling is staked and covered with a translucent plastic tube to prevent them being nibbled by deer. Straw is used as a mulch around the base of the trees to help them get established. In a few years’ time the previously bare slope will become a productive woodland, enhancing the beauty of the existing trees in Pecket Well Clough and nearby Hardcastle Crags.

Many thanks to Dongria, Christina, Bear, Gavin, Jem, Billy and the whole team at Treesponsibility for organising and carrying out this tree-planting session, and to the Woodland Trust for providing the trees.

Tree-planting is very hard work, especially on such a steep slope in the rain! We’re extremely to all the children and staff from Old Earth and Savile Park Schools for their Tree-Mendous work. We hope you enjoyed your visit to Pecket Well this autumn. We look forward to meeting more of you next spring for tree-planting phase two.

 

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More Tree-mendous Work!

And a big thank you to the pupils of Ash Green Community Primary School in Mixenden for two days of hard work during March 2017 to complete the tree-planting scheme begun in October 2016 – ably organised once again by Treesponsibility

 

  

 

We also planted 6 apple trees and 2 damson trees in the field near Elmet Farmhouse in January 2017 with help from our friends Daru and Stu. We plan to share the fruit with them – and our guests at Elmet – in future years. It was a beautiful sunny day and our mini-orchard has a spectacular view, so we hope the trees will thrive. 

 

@ Text and images copyright Lesley Jackson