Stranded by the snow - Calderdale communities cut off while businesses and farmers count the cost on the severe weather

Cut off in the snow residents of Taylor Lane, Queensbur, Neill Shaw, Paul Ratcliffe, Phil and Joanne Paterson with their son Jack, Vicki Elliott and Trevor Selway.
Cut off in the snow residents of Taylor Lane, Queensbur, Neill Shaw, Paul Ratcliffe, Phil and Joanne Paterson with their son Jack, Vicki Elliott and Trevor Selway.

Massive snow drifts - some up to 15ft high - have been cutting off homes and leaving people stranded.

Strong winds and continuing heavy snowfall have left roads across Calderdale blocked solid - a week after blizzards hit the district.

Many businesses and farmers have been left counting the cost of the severe weather, some losing thousands of pounds.

Areas hit include Taylor Lane and Perseverance Road, between Ogden and Queensbury, where 6ft-high drifts meant there was no way through.

Paul Ratcliffe was among those trying to clear paths through and voiced concern for people living up Soil Hill and at the top of Perseverance Road.

“There are 14 houses and four or five farms,” he said. “I don’t know how they’re doing as we can’t even get to them.”

Philip Paterson, of Jammy Fold Koi Farm, on Taylor Lane, was also trying to clear the drift in his JCB.

“We’re 1,250 feet up here so customers can’t get up here to buy carp - it’s too dangerous - so we’re not open at the moment and not sure when it will be before we open again. We’ve lost a lot of sales due to the weather and due to the fact that the road is inaccessible.”

Sheila Lyon, 73, of Soil Hill, said: “My son has gone to the supermarket to get more food as we were running really low on supplies. It’s a good job he is here to help - I don’t know what I would do if I was here on my own as I’m a little unsteady on my feet.

“We’re totally blocked in. I’m worried because if there was an emergency, then what would we do because they wouldn’t be able to get through?”

Susan Disney, 62, of Soil Hill said: “Our neighbour is trying to clear out the snow using a digger. The only good to come out of this is a sense of community spirit - everyone comes together in times like these.”

Meanwhile David Greaves, from Luddenden Foot, said in the Butts Green area of Warley he had seen drifts that must have been as high as 15ft.

“It’s a different world up there,” he said. “Most people have been getting out by walking across the fields.

“I’ve lived here for 60 years and never seen it as deep as this.”

In Southowram, there were fears for people living in The Crescent, which had been blocked by a snow drift since Friday night. One woman said there were between 20 to 30 pensioners living there who carers have not been able to get to.

A single track was eventually cleared so that cars could get through but there were others in Southowram who were also stuck.

Naomi Smith emailed the Courier saying: “Long Lane at the top is completely blocked by a huge drift. Residents and animals are trapped.

“It’s like something off the news but its on our doorstep. People have tried to dig out but they can’t manage the last huge drift.”

Businessman Chris Smith, who recently took over The Hobbit in Norland, which also saw huge snow drifts, walked the 12 miles from his home in Howarth so he could open the pub on Monday.

They had been forced to shut since Friday, losing thousands in takings, because of the severe weather.

He has pledged to make sure the pub stays open now, even if it means he and his staff have to sleep there.

Farmers say the weather could have a devastatung impact on their livelihoods.

Keith Midgley, 55, of Ogden Water Farm, said: “Until the snow goes we won’t know the sheer scale of the loss - only time will tell.

“The snow is making usually hard times even harder.”

Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team have put in over 600 hours sincethe snow hit, taking hospital staff to work from snowbound homes, rescuing motorists trapped in drifts on moorland roads, recovering ambulances which got stuck attempting to reach patients and getting to critically ill patients who the ambulance service were unable get to.

But the severe weather has proved good news for travel agents, with Thomson and First Choice seeing the strongest demand for Easter sun holidays in 10 years because of people wanting to escape the cold.