March Meanders

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

Photographs copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

Elmet Hits the Headlines

‘Big Turn Ups in ‘Trouser Town’, Liverpool Echo, 17 July 2018

 

  

 

Journalist Barrie Mills was bowled over by Elmet Farmhouse during his visit to Hebden Bridge and Calderdale:

‘Home base was Elmet Farmhouse in the tiny village of Pecket Well high up above the bustling market town of Hebden Bridge. From its stone mullion windows or from a seat in the garden, you look out across Hebden Bridge and neighbouring Heptonstall, enjoying the same view immortalised by photographer Fay Godwin on the cover of the book she produced in 1979 with the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, entitled Remains of Elmet.’

To read the full article, please click here

Also published in Camarthen Journal, Derby Telegraph, Leicester Mercury, Llaneli Star, South Wales Echo, Newcastle Evening Chronicle, Teeside Evening Gazette and Stoke Sentinel (16-18 July 2018)

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

Hebden Bridge Holiday Cottage

Elmet Farmhouse Holiday Cottage – Hebden Bridge – Haworth – Yorkshire Dales

Breathtaking Views, Inspiring Interiors, Yorkshire at its Finest

 

 

Looking for a special place to stay in Yorkshire?

Elmet Farmhouse is a holiday cottage like no other, a truly magical place to stay in one of the most beautiful corners of Yorkshire. ‘So hilly it makes your ears pop!’ 

Perched on a hill above the picturesque town of Hebden Bridge, not far from Haworth, Elmet Farmhouse is the perfect base for exploring the Yorkshire Dales. Surrounded by hay meadows in the hilltop village of Pecket Well,the cottage has breathtaking views across the steep wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags towards the ancient village of Heptonstall. With its bluebell woods, buttercup meadows and rolling heather moors, this is a unique corner of Yorkshire – the landscape that inspired the Brontë sisters and poet Ted Hughes.

 

 

If you love the countryside and the great outdoors, you’ll be in your element at Elmet Farmhouse. Set in a walkers’ paradise, the Pennine Way and the Yorkshire Dales are literally on your doorstep. There are fantastic walks in every direction along riverside paths, moorland tracks and stone-paved packhorse trails. With pheasants, deer and owls in our meadows, sheep, cattle and ponies grazing in the neighbouring fields, and curlews and lapwings nesting up on ‘the tops’, Elmet Farmhouse offers a rural idyll in a dramatic landscape which is a haven for wildlife.

 

 

Finalist in Welcome to Yorkshire’s 2016 White Rose Awards, Elmet Farmhouse itself is a pure delight. A handsome 18th-century yeoman clothier’s house, it has stone mullion windows, a huge carved stone fireplace and a cosy wood-burning stove. Beautifully furnished and exquisitely decorated, the farmhouse has a wonderful atmosphere and the interiors are as stunning as the views. Natural wood furniture, textile hangings and lovely lamps and wallpapers by local designer Hannah Nunn are just a few of the treats in store.

With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, Elmet Farmhouse accommodates 6 people very comfortably so it’s ideal for families and groups of friends. The spacious lounge and roomy farmhouse kitchen have ample seating and the whole house is very well equipped. As well as WiFi, TV, DVD, washing machine and dishwasher, there are maps, walks leaflets and vintage games.

 

 

Elmet’s pretty cottage garden brimming with flowers is a wonderful place to sit out and enjoy the fabulous views. There are two outdoor dining areas overlooking our beautiful hay meadows next to the vegetable garden and historic barn. There’s plenty of space for children to run around in the garden and field.

 

Hebden Bridge

The vibrant town of Hebden Bridge is just two miles away down in the valley. Voted Best Small Market Town in the Great British High Street Awards, Hebden Bridge is renowned for its quirky independent shops and its distinctive double-decker terraced houses clinging to the hills. Hebden Bridge has butchers, bakers and designer-makers, as well as a 1920s cinema and numerous cafes and pubs.

 

Hardcastle Crags

The woodland paradise of Hardcastle Crags – one of the jewels in the National Trust’s crown – is within easy walking distance. You can hike to Stoodley Pike or Top Withins (Wuthering Heights) or explore the intriguing hidden valleys of Crimsworth Dean and Luddenden Dean.  The nearby village of Heptonstall with its ruined 13th century church, handloom weavers’ cottages and octagonal Methodist chapel is another fascinating place to explore.

 

 

Heptonstall

 

 

Haworth

Haworth, where the Brontë sisters wrote their famous novels, is a short scenic drive or hike over the moor. As well as being the perfect base for exploring Brontë Country, Elmet Farmhouse is within easy reach of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, including Wharfedale, Bolton Abbey, Gordale Scar and Malham Cove.

 

 

Yorkshire Dales

 

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire, the magnificent newly-restored Piece Hall in Halifax, the elegant spa towns of Ilkley and Harrogate, the award-winning Hepworth Museum and Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the vibrant cities of Leeds and York are all within range so there are lots of interesting things to do.

 

 

Saltaire

 

 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

 

How to contact us:

Email: enquiries@elmetfarmhouse.co.uk   Tel: 01422 842026    Mob: 07910 075952

Click here for Availability and Prices 

Elmet Farmhouse sleeps 6       Sorry, no dogs or pets

Piece Hall Halifax

Halifax Piece Hall – An Architectural Gem

Following a major renovation, Halifax’s magnificent 18th century cloth market – The Piece Hall – reopened in 2017. Originally built in 1779 as a market hall for merchants selling hand-woven woollen and worsted cloth produced by independent yeoman clothiers from the surrounding area, this spectacular Grade I Listed building is an architectural masterpiece.

Constructed from fine-grained local sandstone with a stone slate roof, the Piece Hall is the most significant surviving monument to the domestic textile industry in Britain. The building takes its name from the 30 yard lengths of cloth, known as ‘pieces’, which were the mainstay of its trade, along with raw wool.

A large rectangular building housing 315 small rooms, the Piece Hall is believed to have been designed by Thomas Bradley, a Halifax architect and builder who was Surveyor for the Calder Navigation Company. Taking the form of a quadrangle, the Piece Hall has a large open square in the centre measuring approximately 110 yards by 91 yards. Constructed on a slope, the western side has a ground floor with one upper storey, while the east face is on three levels, with internal staircases at each corner.

Classical in style, the Piece Hall draws inspiration from Roman and Italian Renaissance buildings. The merchants’ rooms are set back behind elegant colonnades. The lower arcade has round-headed arches on square piers. The middle level has Rustic pillars with Tuscan capitals. The upper colonnade has circular Doric columns.

There are arched gateways on three sides of the buildingThe north gateway, which was originally the main entrance, has a pediment topped by  a classical urn, and is inscribed ‘Opened January 1st 1779’. The west gateway has a classical cupola with a bell, surmounted by a Golden Fleece and a weather vane. The south gateway features elaborate multi-coloured cast iron gates dating from 1871.

Trading at the Piece Hall was strictly regulated and took place between 10 am and 12 noon each saturday morning. Originally cloth was transported to the Piece Hall by packhorses after being collected from farms and cottages on the surrounding uplands where it was made. The cloth was then distributed throughout Britain and Europe.

Following the Industrial Revolution, textile manufacturing processes were mechanised and production shifted to water- and steam-powered mills in the valleys. This radically altered the system of trade, as a  result of which the Piece Hall rapidly became defunct. From the early 19th century onwards the building was used for a variety of additional purposes, including firework displays, religious sermons and political rallies. In 1867 the Piece Hall was transferred to the Halifax Corporation and from 1871 onwards it was used as a wholesale fish, fruit and market. This continued for the next 100 years.

By the early 1970s when the wholesale market ceased, the Piece Hall had fallen into disrepair and was threatened with demolition. Thankfully it was saved, however, and after being renovated, the building reopened in 1976 housing shops and an outdoor market.

Following another major restoration project grant-aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Piece Hall was given a new lease of life in 2017. Now managed by the Piece Hall Trust, it incorporates shops, galleries, cafes and bars, as well as displays about the history of this iconic building. A varied programme of outdoor events – from street theatre to art installations and concerts – is held in the repaved central square, a stunning public space.

Adjoining the Piece Hall  is the newly-extended Square Chapel Arts Centre, a lively arts complex including a cinema, theatre and cafe bar. Housed in the historic Square Chapel, a red-brick Georgian chapel dating back to 1772, this is a key element in Halifax’s new Cultural Quarter, along with the new Central Library and Archive incorporating the spire of the 19th century Square Church. The library houses a Visitor Information Centre and provides direct access to the Piece Hall from Halifax railway station and  neighbouring Eureka! The National Children’s Museum.

www.thepiecehall.co.uk

www.squarechapel.co.uk

www.historicengland.org.uk

© Text and 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