Probably the best circular walk in Calderdale, this route visits two of the area’s distinctive wooded valleys, often referred to as cloughs.
The first of them, Crimsworth Dean, is seen on the outward leg and the higher the gentle single-track road climbs the prettier the view becomes. The second is the long valley through which flows Hebden Water and is the site of the famous Hardcastle Crags beauty spot owned by the National Trust. The crags themselves are mostly hidden among trees and visitors come for the lovely woodland paths. Gibson Mill was used as Dotheboys Hall in a film of Charles Dickens’ “Nicholas Nickleby”. On the moors between the two valleys there are red grouse, lapwings and kestrels.
1. From the car park access road walk downhill and take the signposted public bridleway on the left. At a metalled road go right and follow it to the farmhouse of Hollins Hall. Beyond here the road becomes a track and views open out across Crimsworth Dean. Go through a gate at Laithe Farm and continue to the ruined farmstead of Nook.
2. Go left just before the farm on an enclosed green road past another ruin. Eventually the track narrows and arrives at a handgate. Pass to the other side and walk with the wall on your right. Downhill the bridleway leaves the wall and arrives at an enclosed track leading to Walshaw Farm.
3. Through the gate turn sharp left to follow a track downhill. When the track splits take the right fork on a permissive path down into woodland. Follow the track ahead as it proceeds along the valley bottom. Eventually it arrives at the National Trust’s Gibson Mill.
4. From Gibson Mill there is a choice of return routes. The better of the two is the so-called Mill Walk, which follows Hebden Water downstream and emerges at the car park. The other is a quicker option if weather or time are a consideration, and uses the good access road to the mill along the side of the wooded valley. Both arrive back at the car park.
Difficulty Rating: 2 stars
Time: 2 1/2 hours
Distance: 5 miles
Maps: OS Explorer (1:25000) Sheet OL21 South Pennines
Parking: National Trust Hardcastle Crags car park pay & display (free to members) at end of Midgehole Road, 1½ miles north-east of Hebden Bridge off the A6033 Keighley Road.
Public Transport: Hebden Bridge is on the Calder Valley Line. Trains from York, Leeds, Bradford Interchange and Halifax. Hardcastle Crags is served by 906 bus from Hebden Bridge Station. For train and bus times check www.wymetro.com or call 0113 245 7676.
Refreshments & toilets: Gibson Mill. Midgehole.