Walk round an unspoilt hilltop village

Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge'Pictured is Gibson Mill
Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge'Pictured is Gibson Mill

This week’s featured South Pennine walk courtesy of www.walkingbritain.co.uk is full of interesting sights including Crimsworth Dean, Lumb Falls and Hardcastle Crags.

Starting from the unspoilt hilltop village of Heptonstall with lots to see the 7.5 mile route explores two valleys and crosses open moorland.

The Route

Start at the car park and picnic area on Heptonstall Road and turn right into the village. Before starting the walk it is worth exploring the church and its fascinating churchyard. The latter contains the ruins of the church destroyed by storms in 1847 and some very interesting gravestones, which reflect the wealth of this village in times gone by. As a whole the village has an unspoilt feel with many buildings retaining their character.

With your exploration complete, take Northgate and passing one of the oldest methodist chapels in England take the signed footpath on your right. This path drops steeply to a road, cross this and continue downhill towards Hebden Water, which is followed uphill to a footbridge. Cross this bridge and follow a rough lane up to a road. Turn left and then right onto a signed bridleway.

This track leads onto a tarmac lane. Turn right here and continue uphill. Follow this lane, which degenerates into a track, for just over two kilometres as you pass through the beautiful valley of Crimsworth Dean. Leaving the woodland behind, you reach open country.

Reaching a footpath sign bear right downhill. This path soon leads to Lumb Falls and a pretty bridge, which offers a perfect spot for a picnic. Retrace your steps uphill to the derelict farm, The Nook. Go straight across with the ruins on your right and walk west along a walled lane crossing the flanks of Shackleton Knoll.

The onward route is way-marked and leads you downhill to a lane by the attractive hamlet of Walshaw. Turn sharp left onto this lane. After the lane bends to the right take, the right fork signposted Hardcastle Crags and follow this track as it descends through mature woodland to Gibson Mill. From here follow the riverside path beside Hebden Water and cross the river at the third set of stepping stones.

Turn left on the other side of the river and follow the narrow path uphill. Just after the youth hostel on your left, turn right up a narrow signed path. This gains height quickly and includes a zigzag to reach a walled path (, which is followed up to the road in the village of Slack. Cross straight over and follow the signed path between houses and past their gardens to reach a track, turn left onto this track.

Bear left at the next junction of tracks and continue to a tarmac lane. Walk uphill and, just before this lane bears left, take the path on the right. This leads along the top of a dramatic gritstsone outcrop with Colden Water far below. Care is needed in places as there is a significant drop on your right hand side. Reaching a waymark turn left into Heptonstall passing the church to return to the start.

Walks Diary

Here is your handy guide to some of the walks coming up in Calderdale:

On June 27 and 28, take part in this outlaws and nuns walk of the private Kirklees Estate near Clifton with the Calderdale Heritage Walkers.

It includes the former nunnery site, Gate House, 15th to 18th century farm buildings, the Robin Hood connection and his grave there, plus other features on the estate. The guides are Margaret and David Nortcliffe.

The walk is one and a half miles long, partly on woodland paths and strong shoes are advised. The walk will be repeated several times over the two days. There are no buses to the estate on Sundays.

Booking is essential and can be made in person at the Visitor Centre, Butler’s Wharf, Hebden Bridge or by calling 01422 843831. Admission is £5 and details are given with the ticket.

On June 27, take a walk with Halifax Scientific Society where you can learn to identify wild flowers and plants.

The walk is led by an experienced naturalist. Bring a packed lunch, all-weather clothing and strong footwear.

Meeting point and time: 10.30am at the canal bridge to railway station, Hebden Bridge. For more information contact Halifax Scientific Society on 01422 348222.

Also on June 27, make tracks in Mytholmroyd on the gnome house walk.

Meet Jean Williams from Mytholmroyd Walkers’ Action for a 2.5 mile easy walk for families round country lanes, with a visit to a gnome house. Bring a snack and a drink. Suitable for buggies.

Meeting point and time: 10.30am at Mytholmroyd Walk Memorial.

On June 28, meet Peter Davies of the Calderdale Ramblers for this five mile, moderate walk of lanes, fields and waterside.

Meeting point and time: 1.30pm at Thornhills Beck car park, Brighouse.

On June 29, join Mike Barnett for the Ovenden health walk. Routes vary depending on ability of those taking part but will be between one and four miles long and will often visit Beechwood Park and Shroggs Park.

Meeting point and time: 1pm at Beechwood Medical Centre, Keighley Road, Ovenden.

Some routes are accessible with pushchairs and wheelchairs - call the leader on 01422 244302 for further information.