Leisure & Outdoors

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  1. Gibson Mill, Hardcastle Crags

    Hebden Bridge

    Hardcastle Crags & Gibson Mill

    Hardcastle Crags encompasses deep rocky ravines, tumbling streams, oak, beech and pine woods and some of the best examples of upland meadows in the...
    Hardcastle Crags encompasses deep rocky ravines, tumbling streams, oak, beech and pine woods and some of the best examples of upland meadows in the country. Gibson Mill is situated within Hardcastle Crags woodland beside Hebden Water. The National Trust have put in some superb waymarked walking routes suitable for all abilities. Cross the river on stepping stones and spot birds, insects, amphibians and if you're lucky; deer! You'll find Hardcastle Crags offers a completely different experience throughout the year - from the icicles of midwinter to the carpet of bluebells in the spring. The early 19th century Gibson Mill is situated within the site. A tour of the mill tells the history of the valley and the mill over the past 200 years. The mill also has changing exhibitions throughout the year. Gibson Mill is 100% self-sufficient in energy, water and waste treatment. It has a hydro-electric system, solar photovoltaic panels and a log-burning stove fuelled by wood from the estate. You can also rest and recharge at the Weaving Shed Café, serving delicious ethical and locally-produced food and buy the perfect gift or memento in the shop located there. Built in around 1800,Gibson Mill was one of the first mills of the Industrial Revolution. The mill was driven by a water wheel and produced cotton cloth up until 1890. In the early 1900s, Gibson Mill began to be used as an ‘entertainment emporium’ for the local people. After the Second World War, the mill slipped into disuse, and was acquired by the National Trust in 1950. Hardcastle Crags is open all year round from dawn until dusk, admission to Hardcastle Crags and Gibson Mill are FREE. Dogs are welcome (including in the café and mill) if kept under close control. GETTING THERE You have three options to get to Hardcastle Crags: By car - there is parking at Midgehole (for Sat Nav use HX7 7AA) and Clough Hole (for Sat Nav use HX7 7AZ). A parking fee applies at both car parks, although parking is free for National Trust members By bus – the 906 runs from Hebden Bridge on weekends between May and October. It will take you to both the bottom and the top of the valley. Walking – there is a route from Hebden Bridge on good paths with a bit of road walking. It will take you about 45 minutes. Pick up a guide from Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre. See below for details of the wildlife you can discover at Hardcastle Crags.
  2. The Pennine Way

    Todmorden

    The Pennine Way

    Steeped in history, the Pennine Way National Trail chases along the mountain tops along the rugged backbone of ...

    Steeped in history, the Pennine Way National Trail chases along the mountain tops along the rugged backbone of England and offers 268 miles of the finest upland walking in England. A once in a lifetime experience.

    The Pennine Way enters Calderdale at Blackstone Edge, passing Stoodley Pike, dropping down into the valley at Callis, climbing back up to Colden and over the moors to Widdop. Walkers often say this stretch of over 20 miles is one of the best on the whole route. The Trail is very well way-marked and there are some great views from the route (especially from the iconic Stoodley Pike).

    If you want to detour into Hebden Bridge on your way, you can use the Hebden Bridge Loop developed in 2015.

    For more information about walking in Calderdale, please visit our Walking page.

  3. Stoodley Pike Monument

    Todmorden

    Stoodley Pike Monument

    The 121 foot (37 m) high Stoodley Pike Monument dominates the skyline above Todmorden, sitting atop Stoodley Pi...

    The 121 foot (37 m) high Stoodley Pike Monument dominates the skyline above Todmorden, sitting atop Stoodley Pike, a 1,300-foot (400 m) hill The monument was designed in 1854 by local architect James Green, and completed in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War.

    The monument replaced an earlier structure, commemorating the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris. It was completed in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo, but collapsed in 1854 after decades of weathering and a lightning strike.

    You can only reach the Pike on foot, as there is no vehicular or bicycle access to the monument. Stoodley Pike is accessible by well-defined Right of Way footpaths. The Pennine Way also passes Stoodley Pike. There are many walking routes to the Pike from Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. Walking guides to all these routes available from local Visitor Centres and the Heart of the Pennines online shop.

    Stoodley Pike Monument contains a spiral staircase of 39 steps, accessed from its north side. If you visit, please be aware that several of the internal steps are in darkness, so it’s useful to have a torch to light your way, as there are no windows. The entrance to the balcony is on the Monument’s west face, some 40 feet above ground level. The views are well worth the walk and the climb!

    For more information  about walking in Calderdale, please visit our Walking page.

  4. Shibden Hall & Estate

    Halifax

    Shibden Hall & Estate

    Welcome to the valley of the sheep - schep dene - the home of the Lister family for over 300 years. Shibden Hal...

    Welcome to the valley of the sheep - schep dene - the home of the Lister family for over 300 years. Shibden Hall was the home of the noted 19th century diarist Anne Lister (1791 - 1840). The Hall, dating originally from circa 1420, is a distinctive half-timbered building furnished in the styles of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, adapted and extended throughout the centuries by the families who lived here.

    Shibden Hall will re-open to visitors from 3rd August but you must book your tickets in advance online via the Calderdale Museums website. Tickets will be available in half hourly time slots and will go on sale a week in advance from the 27th July. New tickets will be released every Monday for the following week.

    Numbers are being limited to make sure that visitors are kept safe. It is anticipated that there will be high demand and that these limited tickets will go quickly. Please note that tickets are for your use only and are not available for resale. During this current time all tickets will be non-refundable unless the situation changes due to government advice.

    The visit to Shibden Hall will be a little bit different at the moment as new safety measures have been introduced. We ask for your support and patience during this time. You will need to choose a 30 minute time slot for the day that you would like to visit. Please ensure that when you arrive you have your ticket ready to show staff either on your phone or a printed copy. Sadly, if you do not arrive within your timeslot you will not be able to enter the Hall due to the visitor numbers management system and maintenance of safe, social distancing.

    The shop will be open to visitors and refreshments will be available to take away or consume on site. Contactless card payments are preferred.

    To help keep everyone safe, please follow social distancing and government guidance when you visit. If you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, or if you have been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 14 days, please do not visit.

    We would recommend that all visitors use the main carpark  for Shibden Park accessed via the A58 (Halifax to Leeds road), as the small car park situated at the top of the park (off Lister’s Road) soon becomes full and parking on the main road in that area is illegal. Please allow plenty of time to find parking and walk to the Hall (approx. 10 mins) to arrive during your allocated time slot. There are several routes to Shibden Hall which are well signposted at the bottom of the park.

    On arrival at the Hall there may be a queue due to staff managing visitor numbers and checking tickets, please be patient as this is for the safety of all visitors, staff and volunteers, so that safe, social distancing can be maintained for everyone. Hand sanitiser will be supplied at various points around the Hall, but it is also recommended that visitors bring their own supplies. Enhanced cleaning will be undertaken around the site, throughout the day in line with government guidance.

    Anne Lister is the focus of the BBC drama series 'Gentleman Jack' written and directed by Sally Wainwright. The series explores Anne's life and the lives of those who lived in the Hall and Estate. Suranne Jones plays the role of Anne Lister and Shibden Hall is one of the main filming locations featured in the show. 

    Shibden Hall is set in a 32 hectares of informal park and woodland, which have won the Green Heritage Award. Explore the beautifully restored historic grounds which offer cascades, pools, tunnels, terraced and fruit gardens and "Paisley Shawl" inspired Victorian bedding designs by Joshua Major.

    Hidden within the depths of Shibden Park is a small wooded area known as Cunnery Wood. This Local Nature Reserve is on the footprint of Anne Lister's kitchen garden, fish pond, top up of the cascade and rabbit warren (hence the name Cunnery from Coney-rabbit). The area is rich in wildlife from stunning displays of bluebells under English oak, elm and birch to a multitude of songs from birds, healthy butterfly and moth populations and numerous small mammals throughout.

    Click here to Watch a short video, 'Shibden: 500 Years of History.'and click here to watch a second short video about 'The Anne Lister Story', with Helena Whitbread (you can see the video in full at Shibden hall).

    There are frequent buses every 15 minutes or better from Monday to Saturday passing Shibden Hall, between Halifax and Bradford, Halifax and Todmorden/Burnley and Halifax and Brighouse. with other regular and less frequent services throughout the week. Up to date timetables are available from West Yorkshire METRO.

    Admission:

    Adult £8.00

    Concession £5.00 (Children 5 - 16 years / Senior Citizens /Passport to Leisure)

    Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children): £21.00.

    PLEASE NOTE: All tickets must be purchased online in advance. There will be no ticket sales on site. Full details are above.

  5. Hali-Facts Trail front page

    Halifax

    Hali-Facts Heritage Discovery Trail

    This Heritage Discovery Trail has been designed for children and families, but will be enjoyed by people of all ages. It will take you on a walking...
    This Heritage Discovery Trail has been designed for children and families, but will be enjoyed by people of all ages. It will take you on a walking tour around Halifax town centre, asking you to use your detective skills of observation, thinking, note-taking and sketching as you go. You can complete the Discovery Trail in a way that suits you. It can be done in ‘bite-size’ chunks over several visits or if you are feeling brave and have a lot of energy, you can try it all in one go! Many of the tasks can be completed by looking at the outsides of the buildings but sometimes, you will be invited to pop indoors to have a search around. Please check the opening times for each building that allows this – details are on their websites which are listed throughout the booklet. As far as is reasonably practicable, each building on this Discovery Trail provides a standard of access for disabled people equal to that enjoyed by the rest of the public.
  6. Wainhouse Tower, Halifax photo by Alastair Wallace

    Halifax

    Wainhouse Tower

    The 253 ft Wainhouse Tower was originally commissioned as a chimney for the local dye works by John Edward Wainhouse in the late 19th century. The ...
    The 253 ft Wainhouse Tower was originally commissioned as a chimney for the local dye works by John Edward Wainhouse in the late 19th century. The structure was never actually used as a working chimney and as such, is regarded by many as one of Britain's finest follies. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wainhouse Tower was open to the public on the Bank Holidays, for those brave enough to tackle the 403 steps to the viewing gallery at the top, the stunning views make it well worth the climb. We hope that it will be possible to reopen the Tower to visitors in 2021 and will add any dates the Tower may be open to the public here when and if they are confirmed. A Brief History of Wainhouse Tower Born in 1817 John Edward Wainhouse inherited his Uncle’s Dyeworks on Washer Lane, Halifax in 1856. The Dyeworks were typical of the day, causing considerable pollution because of smoke emissions. Halifax was badly affected by smog. For weeks on end the smoke laden atmosphere blanketed the town, reducing sunlight and contaminating the landscape with soot and sulphur trioxide. This national problem caused the Government to introduce a Smoke Abatement Act. Wainhouse developed the idea of building a chimney 350 metres up the hillside from the Dyeworks, connected to it by an underground tunnel. Sir Henry Edwards, A wealthy neighbour of John Edward Wainhouse, made complaints about the smoke nuisance caused by the Dyeworks, leading to a feud between the two men. Mr Isaac Booth (who was also Sir Henry’s architect) was asked by Wainhouse to design and build the mill chimney. The design incorporated an internal staircase that led to four balcony features. This exacerbated the deepening feud between Wainhouse and Sir Henry. Sir Henry, an extrovert and boastful man, claimed that his private estate at Pye Nest could not be viewed from any house o the hills. Wainhouse said he would rectify this by putting an observatory at the top of his chimney. Work commenced in 1871. In 1873, as a result of the feuding; the architect Isaac Booth decided he could no longer work for either man. This led to the appointment of Richard Swarbrick Dugdale, who redesigned the upper section of the building. The new design incorporated a corbelled and balustrade balcony, surmounted by a lantern dome and finial. The building was completed on the 9th September 1875. It is estimated that over 9,000 tonnes of materials were used. The total cost is thought to be in the region of £15,000. However, by the time the building was completed, it was clear that it would never be used as a chimney. The Washer Lane Dyeworks had been sold in 1874 to the works manager Mr Henry Mossman. The sale did not include the Tower. It is thought that Mossman saw the then uncompleted building to be a liability. This point of view is difficult to understand given the fact that Mossman was then prosecuted under the Smoke Abatement Act. Mossman proved that considerable efforts were made to abate the smoke nuisance by pulling down six existing small chimneys …and erecting a large chimney in their place! John Edward Wainhouse died on 26th July 1883 at the age of 66. He as buried in the family grave at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Halifax. The gravestone is located against the boundary wall on the south side of the Church. The Tower and three acres of surrounding land was sold by auction in 1887. The Tower changed hands several times until coming under the ownership of the Halifax Corporation in 1919. During the Second World War the Tower was used by the military authorities as an observation post. As a result of the reorganisation of Local Government in 1974, Wainhouse Tower became the property of Calderdale Council. Today the Tower is used as a viewing platform; open to the public on Bank Holidays and other select days through the year

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