The Old Ways – Limers Gate

An invigorating early morning hike from Elmet Farmhouse to watch the sunrise on Limers Gate above the village of Pecket Well. Crisp snow, blue skies and pinkish light on the hills beyond Crimsworth Dean.

Initially climbing up onto Wadsworth Moor along Deer Stones Edge, then up to the trig point at High Brown Knoll, which has been painted with a red heart. From here, walking along Limers Gate in fairly deep snow, the path rather difficult to follow. Amazingly clear views all the way to Upper and Lower Gorple Reservoirs and beyond to Widdop Reservoir, the dam clearly visible covered in snow and the water bright blue.

Dropping down off the ridge to Wilcock Dam, wonderful colour contrasts between the orange grass and the pristine white snow, the dam astonishingly vivid blue. Sublime views of Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike during the descent to Pecket Well.

7  February 2018

Hiking in Hardcastle Crags

A Summer Saunter through Hardcastle Crags



A summer saunter through the woodland paradise of Hardcastle Crags in Hebden Dale near Hebden Bridge on 22 July 2017. Starting at Widdop Gate, looping around via Blake Dean, then climbing up to the Crags before dropping down to Gibson Mill.

Returning back through the woods along the banks of Hebden Water, criss-crossing the river over the three footbridges, then ascending to the top of the woods, looking across to Walshaw Lodge before climbing back up the steep steps to Widdop Gate.


© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

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

Purple Haze

“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.

Last year the heather was late and didn’t come into the full bloom until mid August. But this year it’s early and has already come into flower by the end of July. As with the bilberries, it looks as though it’s a bumper year.

Good spots for heather walks are Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well, Midgley Moor above Luddenden Dean, Heptonstall Moor above Colden, Walshaw Dean above Hardcastle Crags, and Great Edge above Widdop Reservoir. 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


© Main text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson


Lovely Little Lambs

Lovely Little Lambs



It’s been a busy time in the Crimsworth crèche over the last couple of months. These photos record some of the new arrivals in hilltop meadows in and around Pecket Well and Crimsworth Dean during April 2016.

Crimsworth Dean is a short walk from Elmet Farmhouse, so if you want to see lots of lovely lambs, come and visit us next April.


© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson



The bluebells have been spectacular this year in Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean. These two beautiful National Trust woodlands – just a short walk from Elmet Farmhouse – are amongst the best bluebell woods in England. Mid May is the best time to see the bluebells, although they start flowering in late April and last through until early June.

As well as Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags, there are bluebells in Pecket Well Clough, Colden Clough, Luddenden Dean, Cragg Vale and many of the other narrow steep-sided wooded valleys around Hebden Bridge. These woods are beautiful are stunningly beautiful throughout the year, but you want to immerse yourself in bluebell heaven, come and stay at Elmet Farmhouse next May….

For more information about the woods of the Calder Valley, click here

© Text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson


River of Mist

Magical River of Mist

If you’re lucky you might see the famous River of Mist during your stay at Elmet Farmhouse, a remarkable phenomenon unique to this area. Usually it forms early in the morning as the sun rises and fog starts to lift, but sometimes  it appears later in the day after heavy rain.

Moisture is trapped in the steep-sided wooded valleys. Swathes of mist swirl around clinging to the hills, with Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall church peeping through on the tops.

There is nothing quite like the magical River of Mist – and Elmet Farmhouse gives you a bird’s eye view.


© All photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Delve into the Dales

Delve into the Dales



Elmet Farmhouse provides the perfect ‘base camp’ for exploring the Yorkshire Dales National Park, renowned for its spectacular geological features, its beautiful rivers and its lush rolling hills and dales.

Click here to watch a short film about the Yorkshire Dales


Malham Cove and Gordale Scar



The dramatic white limestone cliffs, screes, gorges and limestone pavements of Malham Cove and Gordale Scar are particularly compelling in winter when the rivers and waterfalls are in spate


Bolton Abbey and Wharfedale


The woodland paths along River Wharfe between the picturesque ruins of Bolton Abbey and Barden Tower are especially beautiful in the autumn. One of the highlights is the Strid, where the river is forced through a deep narrow gorge


Heather moorland with rocky outcrops at Simon’s Seat above Wharfedale, a great place for a hike in August when the heather is in bloom


Linton and Grassington


A summer hike along the Dales Way near Grassington. Typical Yorkshire Dales landscape with undulating hills, limestone outcrops, Swaledale sheep and small fields bounded by snaking drystone walls


Linton in Craven, a delightful Dales village hidden away near Grassington. The village green is dominated by the magnificent Grade II* Listed Fountaine’s Hospital: a group of alms houses with a chapel in the centre. Built in the 1720s, the architect is believed to be Sir John Vanbrugh (who designed Castle Howard) or his associate Nicholas Hawksmoor. The Fountaine Inn in the centre of Linton is a characterful pub  with open fires serving excellent food.


Three Peaks and Ribblesdale


The Three Peaks – Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent – are the best-known hills in the Yorkshire. Each has a different shape and character. The surrounding countryside is characterised by limestone outcrops and screes.



The monumental Ribblehead Viaduct with a steam train crossing Ribblesdale on the famous Settle – Carlisle railway line 




Although Swaledale is the northerly of the Yorkshire Dales, it is also the lushest and greenest. Renowned for its wild flower-rich hay meadows and for its numerous stone-built barns, it is an idyllic landscape capped by heather moors.

Dales on the Doorstep 



Calderdale – the southernmost of Yorkshire’s Dales – is a unique landscape with infinite variety in the Heart of the Pennines. Characterised by its steep wooded hillsides, hilltop hay meadows and rolling heather moors, the Upper Calder Valley has numerous spurs, known as cloughs and deans, each one a hidden gem. The area around Hebden Bridge is particularly dramatic with its bluebell woods, converging rivers, cascading waterfalls, gritstone outcrops and rocky gorges. 

Step out of the door at Elmet Farmhouse and discover the Dales on your Doorstep: Hebden Dale and Hardcastle Crags, Crimsworth Dean and Pecket Well Clough, Heptonstall and Colden CloughLuddenden Dean and MidgleyStoodley PikeCragg Vale and Jumble Hole Clough….



Left: Hebden Water in Hardcastle Crags  Right: Bluebells in Hardcastle Crags

walshaw-hardcastle-crags-yorkshire-walking-holiday-5  luddenden-dean-yorkshire-holiday-cottage-14

Left: Blake Dean from Walshaw Moor  Right: Reservoir above Luddenden Dean

old-town-mill- pecket-well-2  

Left: Crimsworth Dean and Old Town.   Right: Hardcastle Crags


Left: Stoodley Pike from Crimsworth Dean  Right: Crimsworth Dean



© Photos copyright Ian Fishwick and 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

Parcevall Hall Gardens

Parcevall Hall Gardens

A renowned plantsman’s garden located at the heart of Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Located at the head of a small valley, there are 24 acres of formal and woodland gardens which rise up the hillside for 200 feet giving wonderful views in every direction. The gardens were laid out by the late Sir William Milner from 1927 onwards, and are planted with specimens from around the world, many collected from Western China and the Himalayas. The gardens have many different facets, including woodland walks, formal south facing terraces, a bedrock limestone rock garden and a beautiful rose garden, all set against the stunning back-drop of the Yorkshire Dales.

Parcevall Hall Gardens, Skyreholme, Skipton BD23 6DE

Tel. 01756 720311

Open daily from April – October, 10am – 6pm

© Photos copyright Ian Fishwick