Hard Frost in Hardcastle Crags
Even in the middle of winter, there’s a stark beauty to the landscape of the Upper Calder Valley. The National Trust estate of Hardcastle Crags is a beautiful place to explore at any time of year, especially on a crisp, clear frosty day.
These photos record an early morning walk around the top end of Hardcastle Crags on a cold sunny day on 16 February 2016. The walk starts at Widdop Gate, near Lower Gorple Reservoir and crosses Graining Water at Blake Dean, just before it merges with Alcomden Water to form Hebden Water, which runs down through Hebden Dale towards Hebden Bridge. The valley is initially open countryside with bracken and heather-covered slopes. Lower down it is densely wooded and the hillsides become craggier and more gorge-like as the path descends to Gibson Mill.
After crossing the old toll bridge at the mill, there is a walkway by the side of the millpond – a good place to see herons fishing. The path then climbs up through the beech trees on to an embankment running along the top edge of the wood, with arresting views down the precipitous slopes to the river and across the valley to Walshaw Moor and Walshaw Lodge.
© Text and images copyright Lesley Jackson