February Forays

February 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

Yorkshire 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 White Rose Awards, Elmet Farmhouse 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. Scandinavian furniture, Midcentury Modern textiles and lovely lamps and wallpapers by local designer Hannah Nunn are just a few of the design delights 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 beautiful wildflower meadows next to the vegetable garden and historic barn, with plenty of space for children to run around.                                                                                                                                                                                     

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

Elmet Farmhouse sleeps 6       Sorry, no dogs 

Click here for Availability and Prices 

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

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