Photo Journal – April 2016

Have you had your Five a Day?

Five photos taken on walks in the countryside around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley, interspersed with views from Elmet Farmhouse in the village of Pecket Well. Yorkshire at its finest. Enjoy!                        (Lesley Jackson)

30 April 2016

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View from Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall on the horizon

 

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Daffodils and hellebores in the garden at Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Primroses flourishing in the cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse

 

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© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

29 April 2016

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Moody sky over Luddenden Dean

 

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Early morning sun through the trees in Luddenden Dean 

 

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Leaves coming out on the trees in the woods of Luddenden Dean

 

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Fern-clad wall in Luddenden Dean

 

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Fledgling chaffinch in the garden

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

26 April 2016

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Jacob sheep in Luddenden Dean

 

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Pigmy goats in Luddenden Dean

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Catherine House Farm in Luddenden Dean

 

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Luddenden Brook running through Luddenden Dean

 

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The beautiful unspoilt valley of Luddenden Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

27 April 2016

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Castellated lodge gatehouse for the demolished mansion of Castle Carr in Luddenden Dean

 

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The two gatehouses are connected by an impressive arched gateway

 

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Luddenden Dean – with heather moorland above lush green meadows

 

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Early morning sunshine on the fells above Luddenden Dean

 

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Cottages in Luddenden Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

26 April 2016

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More lovely lambs!

 

 

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© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

25 April 2016

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Five views of Luddenden Dean

 

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© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

24 April 2016

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Roe deer in meadow above Hardcastle Crags

 

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Roe deer are regularly spotted in wooded valleys such as Hardcastle Crags, usually in twos or threes

 

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They come up from the woods to graze on the hilltop meadows

 

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Catkins at Hardcastle Crags, with Gibson Mill in the background

 

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Bluebells massing in Hardcastle Crags

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

23 April 2016

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Swaledale sheep and lamb at Pecket Well

 

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New-born Swaledale lamb at Pecket Well

 

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Pecket Well War Memorial – also known as ‘mini Stoodley’

 

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The wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags below Pecket Well

 

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The hilltop village of Pecket Well, with Hardcastle Crags in the valley below and Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike on the horizon

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

22 April 2016

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Stoodley Pike from Wadsworth Moor

 

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Heather in hibernation on Wadsworth Moor

 

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Meadow pipit in the heather on Wadsworth Moor

 

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Goose on the lookout in the heather on Wadsworth Moor 

 

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Shaft to underground water tunnel – a landmark on the heather moorland above Pecket Well

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

21 April 2016

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

 

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A host of daffodils flowering in the cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse

 

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View from the cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Looking down on the cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse, with daffodils, primroses, hellebores and pulmonaria all in bloom

 

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Snakes head fritillary in the garden

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

20 April 2016

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Northern Wheatear in Crimsworth Dean

 

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View over the bracken along Crimsworth Dean

 

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View towards Stoodley Pike along Crimsworth Dean

 

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Ewes and lambs at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

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A copse of Scots Pines in Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

19 April 2016

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Bucoli scene in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Mother and child reunion in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Early morning sunshine highlighting the folds of Crimsworth Dean

 

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Homages to William Blake: sheep and new-born lambs sheltering under a tree in Crimsworth Dean

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Gentle slopes give way to steep valley sides at the head of Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

18 April 2016

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Crimsworth Dean on a beautiful spring morning

 

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Mother and child posing in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Tucking in for milkshake at the Crimsworth canteen

 

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Crimsworth Dean – not a bad place to be born

 

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Cute Crimsworth lamb, caught in mid bleat

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

17 April 2016

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Pinky and Perky in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Looking a bit sheepish

 

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Top end of Crimsworth Dean

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The Crimsworth Three – plotting mischief

 

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Jay in the garden at Elmet Farmhouse

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

16 April 2016

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Another new arrival in the Crimsworth maternity ward

 

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Stepping out!

 

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It’s all happening in Crimsworth

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Crimsworth Dean – a new day, a new dawn

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

15 April 2016

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‘The Lamb of God’ – born in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Timid twins in the Crimsworth creche

 

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The silken slopes of Crimsworth Dean

 

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Come in number 25! Mother and child in Crimsworth Dean

 

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A poppit of a pipit perching on a post in Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

14 April 2016

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Solitary mill chimney stranded in the woods at Colden Clough…

 

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…Evocative relics of the once substantial Lumb Mills at Lumb Bank, near Heptonstall, dating from the early 19th century

 

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Colden Water – the river tapped to power a string of textile mills during the 18th and 19th centuries

 

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Jack Bridge crossing Colden Water in Colden Clough

 

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The first bluebells coming into flower in Colden Clough, near Heptonstall

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

13 April 2016

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River of mist blockading the end of Crimsworth Dean

 

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Caught napping… Sleepy lambs having a lie-in in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Number 11 nuzzling up to mum – a bit heavy on the graffiti!

 

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It’s quite a gambol, this lambing lark

 

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The sun-kissed slopes of Crimsworth…. again

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

12 April 2016

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Lumb Falls in Crimsworth Dean – soon the spring foliage will obscure the view

 

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Crimsworth Dean Beck from packhorse bridge above Lumb Falls

 

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Bracken and woodland on the steep slopes of Crimsworth Dean

 

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Crimsworth Dean Beck as it flows through the woods lower down the valley

 

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Watercourses channelling water from Crimsworth Dean Beck to the former dyeworks at Midgehole, near Hardcastle Crags

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

 

11 April 2016

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View from Elmet Farmhouse  – not quite as spectacular as the River of Mist yesterday but still pretty exceptional!

 

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Hazy April sunshine on Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall

 

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And this is where the photos were taken from – Elmet Farmhouse on the right

 

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The daffs are now in full bloom in the garden at Elmet Farmhouse and the hellebores are still going strong

 

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Crimsworth Dean – a tranquil unspoilt valley a short walk from Elmet Farmhouse with more lovely vistas

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

10 April 2016

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The magical River of Mist from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well  at 8.24am

 

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The unexpected snow on the hills late last night gives a new twist to the River of Mist 

 

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Frost on the meadow in front of Elmet Farmhouse with Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall Church poking out through the River of Mist

 

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River of Mist 20 minutes earlier at 8.05am

 

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Stoodley Pike on snow-sifted ridge hovering above the River of Mist

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

9 April 2016

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Crimsworth Dean – a chorus of curlews ricocheting around the valley, a flash of yellow as a green woodpecker takes flight

 

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Crème de Crimsworth – soft early morning sunshine spilling across the fields

 

Meadow pipit in Crimsworth Dean – flitting from one fence post to the next 

 

Pied wagtail dipping and diving through Crimsworth Dean

 

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Sheep on a moss-covered boulder near Lumb Falls in Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

8 April 2016

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The sun-kissed slopes of Crimsworth Dean at 8am

 

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Bouncy lambs on the nursery slopes at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Mother and toddler looking a bit quizzical

 

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Sun rising over Crimsworth Dean at 8.28am

 

 

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Sun on ‘the tops’ – Old Town skyline from Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

7 April 2016

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‘Hello mum!’ New arrival in the Crimsworth creche

 

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Into position – tucking in for breakfast at the Crimsworth Deanery

 

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Like mother, like daughter (or is it a son?) – Contented duo at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Crimsworth curlew – finally photographed two months after the first curlews returned 

 

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Grey wagtail at Lumb Falls in Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

6 April 2016

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Is it the Lake District fells? No, it’s the precipitous slopes of Crimsworth Dean

 

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Fields above Lumb Falls in Crimsworth Dean

 

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How green is our valley? Well, the answer is ‘very’!… View along Crimsworth Dean, with Stoodley Pike in the distance

 

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Looking up to the former Methodist Chapel in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Blue sky, cotton wool clouds and purplish woods in Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

5 April 2016

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Crimsworth Dean from near Grain Water Bridge

 

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Crimsworth Dean Beck

 

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… meandering through Crimsworth Dean towards Lumb Falls

 

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Looking back along Crimsworth Dean towards Grain Water Bridge

 

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Looking south from mid way along Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

4 April 2016

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Slack Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike on the horizon with Hardcastle Crags below

 

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Two new-born lambs nestling against their mother up on ‘the tops’ 

 

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The maternity ward up on Walshaw Moor above Hardcastle Crags – with soothing musical accompaniment of curlews

 

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Another one on the way perhaps? Or maybe she just wants a good old scratch

 

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Luminous green meadow up on ‘the tops’ above Hardcastle Crags, looking towards Slack Heptonstall with Stoodley Pike on the far hilltop

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

3 April 2016

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Lambs on the high meadows near Walshaw above Hardcastle Crags

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Not a bad place to enter the world… 

 

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Tucking in for afternoon tea

 

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A picture of innocence – see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

 

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The Walshaw creche – triplets number 1 and triplets number 2

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

2 April 2016

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Well it had to happen eventually… The first of lambs of the year at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

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They’re still a bit unsteady on their feet, and note the pipe cleaner legs

 

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This little chap is still a bit wrinkly, presumably a recent arrival, possibly even today

 

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Whereas this dynamic duo are well into their stride

 

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And then there were three… Lots more on the way no doubt (watch this space)

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

1 April 2016

 

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Baaaa Humbug!

 

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A new light on Luddenden

 

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Bleached grass and colour-coordinated Swaledale sheep looking imperious on Wadsworth Moor

 

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Luddenden Dean – over the hill but not so far away from Elmet Farmhouse

 

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A harmonious palette – bracken, bilberries and silver birch on the upper slopes of Luddenden Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

Photo Journal – March 2016

Have you had your Five a Day?

Five photos taken on walks in the countryside around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley, interspersed with views from Elmet Farmhouse in the village of Pecket Well. Yorkshire at its finest. Enjoy!                        (Lesley Jackson)

31 March 2016

 

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Ivy-clad gateposts leading into the field in front of Elmet Farmhouse with Pecket Well panorama beyond

 

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

 

 

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Early evening sunshine bathing the meadow in front of Elmet Farmhouse – a host of daffodils all set to bloom

 

 

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Elmet Farmhouse catching the rays on a sunny spring evening – goldfinches flitting about, first sighting of the spring

 

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Elmet Farmhouse garden awakens – hellebores in full bloom, daffs poised for action, bench in position

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

 

30 March 2016

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Turned out nice again…. The sparkling panorama from Elmet Farmhouse at 3.15 pm

 

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The Lodge at Hardcastle Crags

 

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Daffodils making a splash in Hardcastle Crags

 

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Velvety moss upholstering tree trunks, boulders and anything that doesn’t move down in Hardcastle Crags

 

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An enormous tree bole swollen out of control down in Hardcastle Crags

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

29 March 2016

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View from Pecket Well at 9.51 am. Where did this come from?!

 

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Daffodils in the snow in front of Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Mist in Crimsworth Dean as the temperature starts to rise

 

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Mist in the valley, sun lighting up the snowy hills

 

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And then it was gone! View from Elmet Farmhouse at 14.23

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

28 March 2016

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Fiery sunset at Pecket Well on Easter Monday

 

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Turneresque sky as the sun disappears below the horizon

 

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A beady-eyed mistlethrush staking out his territory in the garden

 

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A marvellous chorister, he starts the day with a dawn chorus and ends with a dusk serenade

 

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“How much would that have cost in Bettys?” Elmet Easter Simnel Cake – a Pecket Well Co-Production

© Photos copyright Ian Fishwick and Lesley Jackson

 

27 March 2016

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Rainbow over Luddenden Dean on Easter Sunday 

 

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Rainbow slicing Luddenden Dean in half after a day of schizoid weather – sunshine, hail and thunder, then sunshine again

 

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Where’s that pot of gold? Somewhere near Jerusalem Farm in Luddenden Dean

 

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Early evening sunshine brings Luddenden Dean to life

 

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March hare or Easter bunny? Well both actually, as it used to be thought that hares laid eggs, hence the origins of the Easter Egg. This fine chap was spotted on Easter Sunday in a field above Pecket Well – how’s that for serendipity!

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

26 March 2016

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View from Elmet Farmhouse at Easter – another peerless Pecket Well panorama

 

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View of Heptonstall from Elmet Farmhouse

 

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The grass is definitely getting greener and the days are definitely getting longer here in the Kingdom of Elmet

 

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Horses grazing on the slopes near Pecket Well War Memorial

 

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Pecket Well War Memorial with the steep wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags beyond and Slack in the distance

 

 © All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

25 March 2016

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Good Friday at reservoir above Luddenden Dean – a glorious sunny day in a glorious place

 

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Two small reservoirs hidden away on the hill above Luddenden Dean, one full, one half empty

 

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Reservoir with heather, bilberries and willow growing on its banks – an oasis for wildlife high up on the moor’s edge above Luddenden Dean

 

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Ruined tower in Luddenden Dean, all that remains of the Victorian mansion of Castle Carr

 

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Standing stone on Limers Gate, Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

24 March 2016

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Looking towards Heptonstall from the hilltop above Colden Clough

 

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Heptonstall Church on the horizon in the early morning mist

 

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Colden Water at ‘low tide’ near Lumb Bank following several weeks of dry weather

 

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Mallards swimming through pond weed on one of the overgrown millponds in Colden Clough

 

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Close up of pond weed – or is it an abstract expressionist masterpiece?

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

23 March 2016

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Meet our neighbours! 

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A medley of Pecket Well ponies on the neighbouring farm… and not a bad view!

 

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Up close and personal…

 

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Another member of the Crimsworth crew, a couple of fields over from Elmet Farmhouse

 

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When I grow up I want to be…. probably not much taller than this actually

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

 

22 March 2016

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Climbing up Shackleton Hill from Midgehole at Hardcastle Crags, sheep grazing in the foreground, Old Town Mill just visible on the far horizon

 

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A steep ascent up Shackleton Hill on one of the ubiquitous stone causeways or causeys that criss-cross the hillsides throughout the Upper Calder Valley, once used by convoys of packhorses delivering wool and collecting cloth

 

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Table Rock, as I call it, a great place for a picnic with splendid views overlooking the precipitous wooded slopes of Hardcastle Crags

 

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The trees in Hardcastle Crags may look uninhabited but a chorus of birds provided a glorious soundtrack to this view across the valley towards Slack Top near Heptonstall

 

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Back along the river through Hardcastle Crags past the familiar stepping stones across Hebden Water

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

21 March 2016

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Pied Wagtail looking rather dapper in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Crimsworth Dean from the fringes of the moors where the lapwings have recently taken up residence.  More demented aerial acrobats (see yesterday) and lots of curious kazooing as they stake out their territory and perform their strange mating rituals.

 

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An elusive lapwing with its distinctive plume and plumage hiding behind some reeds… And a couple of common or garden mallards waddling up the hillside in Crimsworth Dean

For more photos of lapwings and other birds in the area, please click here

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Pussy willow in Crimsworth Dean, another welcome sign of spring

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

20 March 2016

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Gadding about at Gaddings Dam, a disused reservoir up on Langfield Edge above Todmorden, now a nature reserve

 

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Gaddings Dam is almost as high up as Stoodley Pike, visible in the distance, but remains hidden from view until you get right on top of moor 

 

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The moorland around Gaddings Dam is a haven for skylarks, who were performing their aerial acrobatics and filling the sky with song

 

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Approaching Stoodley Pike along Langfield Edge

 

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Hang-gliders were also out in force at Stoodley Pike today riding the thermals and performing their aerial acrobatics too

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

19 March 2016

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Sun setting across the fields from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well

 

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Big skies and arresting sunsets are one of the joys of life up on ‘the tops’ at Pecket Well

 

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View of Stoodley Pike from Old Town just along the road from Pecket Well

 

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A fine castellated wall and avenue of trees next to the cricket club at Old Town

 

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Old Town Mill, originally Mitchell Brothers, now home to various small businesses. The tall chimney dominates the skyline and can be seen for miles around

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

18 March 2016

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Percy the Pheasant posing on the gatepost, surveying his kingdom at Elmet Farmhouse

 

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With his gleaming plumage, no wonder he attracts the ladies!

 

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Blue tit scavenging for titbits on a moss-covered lilac tree

 

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A rather aggressive red grouse on Walshaw Moor with a reputation for attacking innocent passing hikers

 

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‘Heather bird’s eyebrows’, as beloved by Sylvia Plath

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

17 March 2016

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A perfect day for the Crimsworth Walshaw Loop – a horse-shaped walk starting in Crimsworth Dean,  with a panoramic stretch on the tops  above Hardcastle Crags 

 

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Looking across Hardcastle Crags near Walshaw towards Slack Top above Heptonstall

 

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The spring sunshine was so warm there was no need for coats . First frogspawn of the year spotted glistening in a puddle

 

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Even though there are no leaves on the trees, their outlines create feathery silhouettes against the green meadows along the top edge of the woods in Hardcastle Crags

 

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Crimsworth Dean Beck near Grain Water Bridge, the start and finish point for today’s walk

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

16 March 2016

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Gibson Mill, an early 19th century textile mill in Hardcastle Crags in an idyllic setting on Hebden Water near Hebden Bridge

 

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Built by Abraham Gibson of Greenwood Lee shortly before his death in 1805, it was originally a water-powered cotton spinning mill but a weaving shed was added in 1840 and a steam engine was installed in 1852.  

 

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Following its closure in the late 1880s, Gibson Mill became an entertainment emporium, housing a dance hall, a restaurant and a roller skating ring. It was transferred to the National Trust in the 1950s as part of the Hardcastle Crags estate.

 

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Gibson Mill was one of a series of mills on the banks of Hebden Water, but it is one of the last to survive, along with Bridge Mill and Nutclough Mill in Hebden Bridge. Remains of other dams, weirs and watercourses can be seen along the river in Hardcastle Crags, as with this embankment near Midgehole.

 

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Miniature pony grazing up on ‘the tops’ above Hardcastle Crags

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

15 March 2016

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A new perspective on the hilltop village of Heptonstall – aerial view from high up on Wadsworth Moor. As well the 19th century church tower, the 18th century octagonal Methodist chapel is clearly visible in the foreground

 

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Wherever you go in the Upper Calder Valley, Stoodley Pike is with you

 

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Stoodley Pike – ready for take off!

 

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Dropping down from Deer Stones Edge to the village of Pecket Well. Sunshine on Shackleton Hill,  separating Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags. Curlews overhead

 

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Not a look-out post or a folly, but a ventilation shaft for an underground water tunnel built in the 19th century to supply Halifax with water from Widdop Reservoir, an amazing feat of engineering, given the distance. There are a series of these shafts on Wadsworth Moor, some of which are Grade II Listed 

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

14 March 2016

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View from Elmet Farmhouse in Pecket Well on a sunny late afternoon in March

 

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Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall on the horizon, with Hardcastle Crags in the steep-sided valley below

 

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Highland cattle grazing in field above Pecket Well Mill

 

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Grade II* Listed Akroyd Farmhouse, the oldest building in Pecket Well, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. All the old farms in the area, including Elmet Farmhouse (which dates from c.1728), were built on ‘the tops’, rather than down in the valleys

 

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Wainsgate Baptist Church (1859) at Pecket Well, with graveyard backing onto Wadsworth Moor

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

13 March 2016

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Introducing Kevin the Kestrel, spotted perching on a telegraph wire this morning in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Here he is hovering over the fields on the lookout for prey

 

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Just look at those beautiful striped feathers and that killer beak…. If you go into raptures about raptors, you might like to take a look at Barry the Barn Owl as well

 

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Another beautiful spring day in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Rupert and Lady waiting for Penny to put them through their paces in Crimsworth Dean. Look at Rupert’s fabulous glossy coat and his groovy loons – shagadelic!

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

 

12 March 2016

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Snowdrops in Luddenden Dean

 

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The tranquil valley of Luddenden Dean, one of the spurs off the Calder Valley

 

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Lodge for the demolished Victorian mansion of Castle Carr in Luddenden Dean

 

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Detail of the archway on Castle Carr lodge in Luddenden Dean

 

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Pigmy goat being taken for a walk in Luddenden Dean, having recently  relocated from Cannon Hall, near Barnsley, apparently. Strange but true.

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

11 March 2016

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River of mist below Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well at 8.51 am

 

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Pecket Well War Memorial in the early morning mist

 

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Mist in the valley below Elmet Farmhouse at 7.14 am

 

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Spring arrived today triggering a wonderful dawn chorus. This robin had a good old sing in the garden this morning, along with his other feathered friends in Pecket Well.

 

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View from Elmet Farmhouse at 2.04 pm after the mist had cleared

To see more views from Elmet Farmhouse, including the famous river of mist, click here

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

10 March 2016

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Elmet Farmhouse (right) with bench in the garden for admiring the breathtaking viewsThe original 18th century stone mullion windows above both have window seats 

 

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Cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse with hellebores and dogwoods. 

 

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Lots of spring bulbs nosing up through the soil in the garden at Elmet Farmhouse. It’ll soon be full of flowers. To see images of the garden at other times of year, please click here

 

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Herbaceous border and vegetable beds in front of the barn next to Elmet Farmhouse

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Elmet Farmhouse next to the historic barn overlooking herbaceous border and vegetable beds (freshly manured!)

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

9 March 2016

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Tiny pony in field above the National Trust estate of Hardcastle Crags, looking charmingly bedraggled in the rain

 

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The cost of living these days… Toll charges for packhorse bridge at Gibson Mill in Hardcastle Crags

 

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Hebden Water running through Hardcastle Crags. One good thing about the rain is that it livens up the rivers…. 

 

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… And greens up the woods. Fallen trees and roots cloaked by moss in Hardcastle Crags

 

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Moss carpeting a dry stone wall near Gibson Mill in Hardcastle Crags

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

8 March 2016

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As winter draws to a close in Crimsworth Dean

 

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… splashes of colour appear, like these dogwoods 

 

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Woodpeckers are drumming and the green shoots of recovery are sprouting in the woods

 

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Wherever you walk in the steep-sided valleys around Hebden Bridge, water cascades down the hillsides…

 

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… Sometimes channelled by human hand, as here in Crimsworth Dean, where it once powered the textile industry

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

7 March 2016

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Snow-capped mountains and alpine meadows. No, this isn’t the Lake District, it’s the Upper Calder Valley in Yorkshire. They don’t call it ‘Little Switzerland’ for nothing! This is the view from Crimsworth Dean towards Stoodley Pike

 

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A light dusting of snow and a splash of early morning sunshine on the upper reaches of Crimsworth Dean at 7.50 am. A solitary dunlin prodding at a puddle and a kestrel on the prowl.

 

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Haworth Old Road climbing up towards Oxenhope Moor at the end of Crimsworth Dean. A glorious chorus of curlews, but all camera-shy.

 

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Dormant bracken, towering Scots pine and clear blue sky in Crimsworth Dean

 

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‘Me and my shadow’

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

6 March 2016

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Snow on the tops. Views from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well

 

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Zooming in on Stoodley Pike from Elmet Farmhouse

 

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White out at Stoodley Pike

 

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A mixed picture: snow falling at Pecket Well but sunshine bouncing off the hill below Stoodley Pike

 

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Hellebores bearing up under the snow

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

5 March 2016

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View from Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well – blade of sunshine on snow

 

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Snowy moorland panorama, looking back during ascent to Deerstone Edge above Pecket Well

 

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Shaft for underground watercourse on Wadsworth Moor, partially obscured by mound of earth excavated when the shaft was dug

 

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Shaft for underground watercourse on Wadsworth Moor. Running water can be heard hundreds of feet below

 

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Back at the ranch. View from Elmet Farmhouse of distant hills on the far side of the Calder Valley and Stoodley Pike on the horizon. Yesterday’s snow gradually receding. 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

4 March 2016

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Mystery picture… Snow-powdered trees on hillside in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Every twig and branch laden with several inches of snow, which continued to fall for much of the day

 

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Track leading through Crimsworth Dean near Midgehole

 

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The secret valley of Crimsworth Dean transformed into a ghostly other world by the snow. Tawny owl hooting close by.

 

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Snow-capped bullrushes on millpond in the heart of Crimsworth Dean

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

3 March 2016

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Heptonstall Church on hilltop above Colden Clough

 

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Stoodley Pike from Colden Clough above Lumb Bank

 

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Snow on the hilltops above Colden Clough

 

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Stone-paved pathway across field into the woods at Colden Clough. A large flock of curlews taking flight, returning to the Pennines after their winter break

 

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Footpath leading down from Heptonstall to Lumb Bank

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

 

2 March 2016

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What a difference a day makes. View from Elmet Farmhouse at lunchtime after sudden heavy snowfall earlier in the morning. Looking towards Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike across the steep wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags

 

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Blue sky and sunshine bouncing off the snowy fields on the shoulders of the hills at Pecket Well and across the valley at Heptonstall

 

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Gateposts in the garden a few hours earlier at the height of the blizzard, with thunder rumbling ominously in the background

 

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Blackface sheep sifted with snow in the field above Pecket Well Mill, with blizzard storm clouds closing in

 

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Study in black and white. Blackface sheep swishing their white snow-covered fleeces in Pecket Well 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

1 March 2016

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Not a great day weather-wise, but the view from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well, near Hebden Bridge, is still pretty good

 

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Lots of lovely hellebores are flowering in the garden…

 

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… including some beautiful white ones…

 

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… and some in deep purple

 

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The snowdrops are still going strong and lots more spring bulbs are on the way. Watch this space… 

To see photos of the garden at Elmet Farmhouse during 2015, please click here

To view Photo Journal for February 2016, please click here

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

It’s Cold in Colden!

It’s Cold in Colden… but cosy in May’s Farm Shop

 

The Colden Loop – An early morning walk along a stretch of the Pennine Way on a sparkling winter’s day on 25 February 2016, starting and finishing at the delightful May’s Aladdin’s Cave, a fabulously well-stocked farm shop tucked away on Edge Lane above the village of Colden, near Heptonstall

Overnight the temperature had dipped several degrees below freezing so there was an extremely hard frost at the start of the walk at 7.45 am. The fields below Stoodley Pike were so white that it looked as if it had snowed. Up on the Pennine Way crossing Heptonstall Moor above Hardcastle Crags, the heather and grasses were laden with glistening ice crystals. The low winter sunshine reflecting off the frosty Pennine hills created wonderful hues ranging from pale orange to pinkish purple.

On the crest of the hill heading back over Colden, the distant cries of curlews and golden plovers and the first lapwings of the season, dipping and diving erratically in their inimitable way. Next to the lane along to Colden, a large of flock of fieldfares grazing on the meadows.

Back at May’s Farm Shop, a cheery smile from the tireless proprietor and a huge sticky slab of delicious Yorkshire Parkin. The perfect end to the walk and the perfect start to the day.

 

© Text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Photo Journal – February 2016

Have you had your Five a Day?

Five photos taken each day on walks in the countryside around Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley, interspersed with views from Elmet Farmhouse in the village of Pecket Well. Yorkshire at its finest. Enjoy!                        (Lesley Jackson)

29 February 2016

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Feathery silhouettes of leafless trees against the backdrop of a pale green frosty meadow in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Frost creates a subtle patchwork in Crimsworth Dean – where moor meets meadow, and meadow collides with wood

 

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A steep slope of bracken running down to Crimsworth Dean Beck, with a strip of woodland  clinging to the precipitous hillside on the other side. Above, a bank of frosty meadows with early morning sun glinting over the top of the hill.

 

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The roller-coaster terrain of Crimsworth Dean – one minute you’re up, the next minute you’re down

 

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Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean, sheltered by a few judiciously placed trees. Stoodley Pike ever present on the horizon

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

28 February 2016

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Views from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well, with the steep wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags below and Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike on the horizon

 

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View across the fields from Elmet Farmhouse towards Pecket Well War Memorial, with Hardcastle Crags in the valley below

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

27 February 2016

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Bridestones, a spectacular collection of gritstone outcrops on the moorland above Todmorden

 

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The stone on the right with the narrow base is known as the Bottleneck Bridestone

 

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At one time there were two similar stones here side by side, the Bride and Groom, but today only the Bride remains

 

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More of the Bridestones group with massive powerful forms sculpted by the ice, wind and rain

 

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It’s easy to see where Yorkshire sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore got the inspiration for their work

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

 

26 February 2016

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Hebden Water near Midgehole at Hardcastle Crags, with Lower Mill cottages in the valley and steep wooded hillside below Old Town above

 

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Pecket Well Clough, a steep wooded valley owned by the National Trust leading from Hardcastle Crags up to the village of Pecket Well

 

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Steep stone-paved packhorse track leading down to Kitling Bridge in Pecket Well Clough, a short walk from Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Packhorse track leading down from Pecket Well to Hardcastle Crags through Pecket Well Clough

 

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Moss cushioning a drystone wall in Pecket Well Clough. Woodpeckers starting to rattle, staking out their territory in the woods

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

25 February 2016

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Stoodley Pike from Colden on a perfect winter’s morning at 7.50 am. The frost was so thick after sub-zero temperatures overnight that it looked like snow. 

 

P1050527

Climbing up from Colden through a bank of frost-drenched heather after joining the Pennine Way

 

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Looking back towards Heptonstall from Heptonstall Moor on the Pennine Way, with Emley Moor transmitter in the distance over towards Huddersfield

 

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Huge millstone grit flagstones marking the Pennine Way on Heptonstall Moor above Hardcastle Crags 

 

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Looking towards the high moorland above Gorple and Widdop Reservoirs from the Pennine Way, with purplish heather and rocky outcrops on the hills. First lapwings of the year sighted near here. Curlews and golden plovers also heard on Heptonstall Moor.

To see more photos of this morning’s walk, please click here

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

24 February 2016

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Sometimes the best views are on your doorstep… Well, that’s certainly the case at Elmet Farmhouse

 

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The bigger picture – taken at 9.59 am. Hard to believe it’s February with such vibrant green grass and blue sky.

 

P1050519

Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall in perfect equilibrium. Who needs Capability Brown with a vista like this?

 

P1050515

Two hours earlier up on Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well before the frost on the heather has melted…

 

P1050517

… or the ice has thawed. Shortly afterwards, a fly-past by a small flock of golden plovers returning to breed on the moor.

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

23 February 2016

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Flock of sheep being herded into a lower field on the tops near Walshaw above Hardcastle Crags, with Stoodley Pike in the distance

 

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Frosty meadows at Slack, above Heptonstall, viewed across Hardcastle Crags from Walshaw, with Stoodley Pike on the horizon

 

P1050488

Looking towards the top end of Hardcastle Crags at Blake Dean from high meadows above Walshaw on a cold frosty February morning

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Pink early morning sunshine bathing the hills at the top end of Crimsworth Dean

 

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Abel Cross, a pair of coffin stones near Abel Cote in Crimsworth Dean, as featured in a photograph by Fay Godwin and a poem by Ted Hughes in Remains of Elmet

To see more photos showing this morning’s walk on the Crimsworth Walshaw Loop in full, click here

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

22 February 2016

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Derelict farm on the tops above Crimsworth Dean

 

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Early morning sunshine on the hay meadows above Crimsworth Dean, looking towards Old Town. The curlews returned to the valley today after their winter vacation.

 

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View from Grain Farm along Crimsworth Dean, with Stoodley Pike in the distance

 

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A copse of Scots Pine marking the entrance to the National Trust woodland in Crimsworth Dean, with the tower of Heptonstall Church just visible on the left and Stoodley Pike on the horizon on the right

 

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View of the top end of Crimsworth Dean from the moorland on the tops.

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

21 February 2016

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In praise of drystone walls… Living in this area, it’s easy to take them granted, but visitors find them particularly striking. These photographs were all taken in Crimsworth Dean.

 

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Built from locally quarried millstone grit, these walls are an extension of the landscape and represent hundreds of years of human endeavour. 

 

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Although built for a practical purpose, they’re also works of art. Stone stiles such as these will last much longer than wooden structures.

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Packhorse bridges are also a familiar sight throughout the Upper Calder Valley, such as this one crossing Crimsworth Beck in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Built to provide crossing points over the numerous streams and rivers for packhorses transporting wool and cloth to outlying farms and villages, they reflect the significance of the textile trade in this area long before the industrial revolution.

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

20 February 2016

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Derelict farmhouse in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Potential des res!

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Fixtures and fittings included!

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Elevated position – wonderful views!

 

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Dry stone wall in Crimsworth Dean

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

19 February 2016

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Heptonstall Church silhouetted against the sunrise

 

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Sunrise at Colden Clough, viewed from Slack Top, above Heptonstall

 

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Stoodley Pike from across the Calder Valley below Blackshaw Head, near Heptonstall

 

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Ruined mill at Jumble Hole Clough, a narrow steep-sided valley below Blackshaw Head,  near Heptonstall, as featured in a photograph by Fay Godwin in Ted Hughes’s Remain of Elmet (1979).

 

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17th century house at Hippins Bridge, near Blackshaw Head, with date stone for 1650 over the doorway.

 

18 February 2016

P1050316

Today’s sequence is devoted to the magnificent Stoodley Pike, a landmark on the hilltop between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden throughout the Upper Calder Valley

 

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Erected in 1815 to celebrate the end of the Napoleonic Wars following Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, Stoodley Pike was rebuilt in 1856 after the original monument collapsed following a lightning strike two years earlier.

 

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Stoodley Pike is 121 ft (37 metres) in height and the hilltop on which it stands is 1300 ft (400 metres).

 

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These photographs were taken between 8 am and 9 am on a cold frosty morning on 18 February 2016. The ascent to Stoodley Pike was from the village of Mankinholes via the Pennine Way.

 

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Swathes of mist clinging to the hills above the village of Lumbutts, near Mankinholes, photographed following my descent from Stoodley Pike at 9.05 am.

To see more photos of this morning’s walk up to Stoodley Pike, click here

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

17 February 2016

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Hellebore (Christmas rose) blooming in the cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Looking through a red-stemmed cornus (dogwood) towards the stone mullion windows at Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Herbaceous border in front of the Grade II Listed barn next to Elmet Farmhouse, with a row of red-stemmed cornus adding winter colour and wallflowers already in bloom

 

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Hellebores and cornus in the cottage garden at Elmet Farmhouse, against the backdrop of fields, valleys and hills. 

 

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The cottage garden in front of Elmet Farmhouse has been planned so that a sequence of bulbs and herbaceous perennials will bloom in sequence throughout the year, with shrubs and grasses providing colour during the winter months.

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

16 February 2016

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Heron reflected in millpond near Gibson  Mill at Hardcastle Crags

 

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Gibson Mill, an early 19th century cotton mill in the National Trust estate of Hardcastle Crags

 

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Early morning sunshine on the steep wooded hillside at Hardcastle Crags

 

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Looking up Graining Water from Blake Dean at the head of Hardcastle Crags on a frosty February morning

 

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View across Hardcastle Crags towards Walshaw Moor, with Walshaw Lodge on the right. Photo taken at 9.17 am on a cold sunny morning when the fields were still white with frost

To see more photos of this morning’s walk in full, please click here

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

15 February 2016

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Early morning sunshine at the trig point at Limers Gate on Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well

 

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Rocky millstone grip outcrops on Limers Gate, a packhorse route across Wadsworth Moor originally used for transporting lime to improve the land on the nearby hill farms

 

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Small reservoir above Pecket Well, built to provide water storage for the textile mill in the village below

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Deer Stones Edge above Pecket Well with drystone wall and frosty meadows

 

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Blackface sheep on a frosty morning at Pecket Well, looking very spruce after the recent heavy rain

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

14 February 2016

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Slack, near Heptonstall, with Hardcastle Crags in the foreground and Stoodley Pike in the distance, on a beautiful crisp frosty February morning

 

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Stoodley Pike monument towering over the Upper Calder Valley, built to commemorate the end of the Napoleonic Wars

 

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Walshaw Lodge, hunting lodge built by the Savile Estate overlooking Hardcastle Crags

 

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Sheep grazing on Shackleton Hill between Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean

 

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View of Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike from Pecket Well War Memorial, sunshine bouncing off the meadows on the shoulder of the hill

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

13 February 2016

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Late afternoon sunshine in Crimsworth Dean

 

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The dead bracken adds colour to the landscape, offsetting the vibrant green grass

 

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Crimsworth Dean bathed in soft hazy February sunshine

 

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Sheep tucking into the lush grass in the meadows of Crimsworth Dean

 

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Pair of leafless trees silhouetted against the hills and sky in Crimsworth Dean 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

12 February 2016

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We’re all ears! 

 

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P1050108

Heavy frost on bracken in Crimsworth Dean

 

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Misty frosty early morning in Crimsworth Dean (8.14 am)

 

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© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

11 February 2016

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An old packhorse bridge over Colden Clough, near Heptonstall, constructed from huge slabs of stone.

 

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This bridge must be very strong as it has withstood torrents that have washed away wooden footbridges in neighbouring valleys.

 

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Running alongside Colden Water are a series of small reservoirs where water was stored to power the textile mills lower down the river. These are now silted up and overgrown, providing a haven for wildlife.

 

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Although the wooded valley of Colden Clough has now been reclaimed by nature, it was once a hive of industry…

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…As witnessed by the numerous stone paths running up and down the hillside, originally built as vital access routes for packhorses and millworkers. They show no sign of wearing out – the beauty of millstone grit.

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

10 February 2016

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The glorious view from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well near Hebden Bridge on Wednesday 10 February 2016 at 9.12 am. Normal service is resumed. The sun is shining again – Hallelujah!

 

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Early morning sunshine in Crimsworth Dean (8.49 am)

 

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Stoodley Pike from Crimsworth Dean. This imposing monument, which can be seen throughout the Upper Calder Valley, was built to commemorate the peace treaty between Britain and France after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

 

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A copse of Scots Pine in Crimsworth Dean, with Stoodley Pike in the distance

 

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A remarkably clean ewe in Crimsworth Dean

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

9 February 2016

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Crimsworth Beck in full flow in Crimsworth Dean after a night of heavy rain

 

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Raised meadow on the lower slopes of Shackleton Hill , viewed from Crimsworth Dean, with Hardcastle Crags in the distance

 

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Looking across Crimsworth Dean towards Shackleton Hill

 

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Millpond in Crimsworth Dean, part of a network of watercourses built to supply the water-powered mills lower down the valley during the early 19th century

 

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Early February morning in Crimsworth Dean (7.47 am)

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

8 February 2016

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View from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well, above Hebden Bridge, looking towards Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike – a Remains of Elmet moment as the sun broke through the clouds after heavy rain

 

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Heptonstall, former home of Ted Hughes’s parents and burial place of Sylvia Plath

 

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View of Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike from Elmet Farmhouse. Similar to Fay Godwin’s photograph on the cover of Ted Hughes’s Remains of Elmet (1979). 

 

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Pecket Well War Memorial overlooking Hardcastle Crags, photographed from Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Hellebores in the garden at Elmet Farmhouse

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

7 February 2016

 

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Crimsworth Dean – ‘the secret valley’ where Ted Hughes roamed as a child, the inspiration for several poems in Remains of Elmet

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Above: Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean, a short walk from Elmet Farmhouse

 

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Some Crimsworth Dean residents

 

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Crimsworth Beck, fast-flowing river running through the steep-sided valley of Crimsworth Dean

 

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Lumb Falls in Crimsworth Dean, two waterfalls side by side, with a deep pool below – the setting for Ted Hughes’s poem ‘Six Young Men’.

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

6 February 2016

 

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The famous River of Mist in the valley below Elmet Farmhouse – like a Turner painting in 3D. 

 

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These photos were all taken within the space of a couple of minutes shortly after 8am. On the horizon are Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall Church.

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

5 February 2016

 

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Fringe of leafless trees along the top edge of the wood at Hardcastle Crags, the National Trust estate near Hebden Bridge

 

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A beautiful place in all seasons, even in the middle of winter.

 

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The crags that give Hardcastle Crags its name are rocky outcrops poking out above the trees on the tops of wooded knolls.

 

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The streams and waterfalls cascading down the hills into Hebden Water – the river running through Hardcastle Crags – are particularly impressive after heavy rain.

 

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© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

4 February 2016

 

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Lumb Bank near Heptonstall, an 18th century millowner’s house formerly belonging to the poet Ted Hughes, now owned by the Arvon Foundation and used for creative writing courses. 

 

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Mill chimneys in Colden Clough below Lumb Bank, evocative relics from the numerous textile mills that once lined the river. 

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Colden Water, the river running through Colden Clough

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Steep stone steps, originally used by millworkers, now provide a network of paths for walkers.

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

3 February 2016

 

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View from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well, with Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall on the horizon and the wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags below. Photo taken at 9.15 am on 3 February 2016

 

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Sheep above Pecket Well following light snowfall overnight (7.40 am).  

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Sunrise casting a pink glow over Wadsworth Moor (8.05 am)

 

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© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Barry the Barn Owl

Barry the Barn Owl

 

Meet Barry the Barn Owl, one of our local residents. Barn owls are normally nocturnal but Barry (as we took the liberty of naming him) seemed to enjoy a spot of daylight hunting for a while and was not averse to having his photo taken when we first encountered him.  Hardly surprising, given how beautiful he is!

The long grass in the hay meadow in front of Elmet Farmhouse provides an ideal habitat for voles, field mice  and rabbits. In recent years Barry the Barn Owl has been regularly spotted at dusk circling our fields during the summer months hunting for prey to feed his brood.  

Tawny owls also live close by in the woods and can often be heard hunting at night outside our windows. Little owls and short-eared owls also inhabit the hills and dales in this locality, so if you want to see and hear owls at close quarters, Elmet Farmhouse is the place to come.

 

© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson