After a long spring walk we headed out to collect our reward of satisfying pub grub and a pint or two. We stooped down to pass through the entrance into an establishment held together by tat on the walls and beer soaked floors. “4 pints of Skull Crusher” requested, a corner was found, ready to relax and watch the evening go by. As the night drew on and the silhouettes began to blur around the edges, the clock struck midnight and door bolted shut. Instantly the locals unleashed their cigarettes, the horizon illuminated by a thousand lighters as if attending a Princess Diana tribute concert. In the cosy snug, a brightly lit green cloth pulling us in, a pool table without pockets… puzzled faces questioning what game this familiar cloth enabled. “It’s a billiards table”, said a voice from the shadows, “do you want me to show you how to play?” The featureless shadow grew in definition as it approached through the smokey tavern, confident in stride, pint of bitter in hand and then… a sparkle from his gold chain. Who was this, Tupac Shakur back from dead? Dappy from N Dubz? Noticing our glances at his opulent bling, the mysterious figure answered the unspoken question “I’m the mayor of this town, do you want to learn how to play billiards?”
Which town you might ask, that town is Hebden Bridge and the location of our next walk. Hidden away in the Calder Valley, Hebden Bridge is surrounded by hills, which makes it an excellent place to start a walk. Located nearby is Hardcastle Crags, which between mid-April and May is renown for it’s bluebells, ideal for bluebell hunters.
We’ll start the walk from a large carpark in the village of Heptonstall, which lies above Hebden. Having weaved through the buildings we’ll descend into the woodland, past the working mans club and into the National Trust property of Hardcastle Crags. This is where we should see the bluebells, bringing some vibrant colour to the forest. Hebden Water will show us the way to Gibson Mill where visiting the cafe or shop will be discouraged. We’ll continue following the stream until we fork left and begin to climb out of the valley, up some steps and onto the road. The terrain briefly changes to open moorland where we’ll have a couple of options, either return to the stream or take the shortcut back. The open moorland leads us through Mount Pleasant and Long High Top, onto the Pennine Way. The path descends towards Golden Water which we then follow until we hit a steep road. The climb up brings us great views across to Stoodley Pike, before the short walk back to the carpark.
Please not that a piano festival will be taking place that weekend if you want to check it out.
The Plan- 10:00 : Meet
- 10:15 : Start Walk
- 11:00 : Hardcastle Crags
- 12:15 - 12:45 : Lunch
- 15:00 : Finish Walk
The Kit- Clothes suitable for the conditions (coats at this time of year)
- Walking boots
- Rucksack (to carry stuff)
- A good attitude