Why Holmfirth is simply the best for homebuyers

It was the hit TV series Last of the Summer Wine starring Compo, Clegg, Foggy and Nora Batty that first thrust Holmfirth and its surrounding countryside into the spotlight.The series, which brought a great deal of joy and a lot of laughs, ran from 1973 to 2010, and sparked coach tours that brought hundreds of Summer Wine day trippers to the area, some of whom decided they liked it so much they moved there.There are still some fans who come to pay homage but they are few and mention the town’s claim to fame to anyone under 30 and you will most likely get a quizzical look.
The lure of Holmfirth and the Holme Valley has never been greaterThe lure of Holmfirth and the Holme Valley has never been greater
The lure of Holmfirth and the Holme Valley has never been greater

To everything there is a time but just as the past glory fades, Holmfirth has bagged another claim to fame.

It is one of five Yorkshire towns and cities to make it into the 2023 edition of The Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide. The others were Ilkley, Sheffield, Thirsk, Leeds and the Little Kelham area of Sheffield.

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Unlike the other four top locations, which have all featured in the guide before, this was Holmfirth’s debut and it has the pandemic and rail disruption to thank for that.

Previously, its lack of a railway station was an issue for those judging the best places to live. Now, with more people able to work from home either full or part-time, rail links are not as relevant.

Plus, it was decided that due to issues with reliability on Northern and Transpennine routes, transport links should not be a main decider.

What earned the town points, according to the Guide’s editor, Tim Palmer, were its surrounding countryside, proper pubs like the Holmfirth Tavern, the Picturedrome, a venue that hosts live music and screens films and sporting events, the market, the Bluebird Bakery and The Nest, an events space with classes.

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He adds: “Holmfirth has a proper buzz now and is full of interesting people doing interesting things. It’s not lost its soul, it’s not just old men on cobbled streets any more but it has the right combination of old and new. It’s a hearty community with conveniences.”

Like the much lauded Hebden Bridge, it also has a reputation for being a hotspot for artists, designers and makers, another big tick.

All the above, along with the fact it has great schools, supermarkets, a swimming pool and fitness centre and is surrounded by beautiful countryside, have boosted the property market in the Holmfirth area and attracted more buyers from outside of the area.

Estate agent Emma Battye, head of Simon Blyth’s Holmfirth office, says: “We still have a very strong local market as a lot of people who grow up here want to stay here so you’ll find generations of families who are Holmfirth based.

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“More recently we have also seen more buyers from outside the area wanting to live here.

“Lockdowns played a part because wherever you live here you have easy access to country walks so we saw people from busy cities like Manchester and Leeds buying here for a complete change of lifestyle.

“Holmfirth and its villages are seen as a nice, affluent area surrounded by beautiful countryside and with good schools, shops and bars and a real community spirit with events such as the Holmfirth Folk Festival, the Arts Festival and the Food and Wine Festival.”

Rob Dixon of WM Sykes estate agents agrees and adds: “Holmfirth hasn’t got a railway station but it is now being seen as commutable to the cities for work as the railway stations at nearby Slaithwaite and Huddersfield have services to Manchester and Leeds.

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“We have seen more people who grew up in this area move back from the cities to return here.”

Zoe Stainton, an artist renowned for her needle felted animal sculptures, moved back to Holmfirth from Wales.

She says: “Holmfirth is beautiful and rural and the Holme Valley as a whole is a very creative place with great creative energy and we have seen a lot of younger makers moving in.

“The schools are very good and there are some very good pubs and cafes. All in all, it’s just a great place to live.”

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House prices start at about £100,000 to £150,000 for a one-bedroom terraced house and £150,000 to £200,000 for a two-bedroom terraced property.

Semi-detached homes range from £250,000 to £350,000 and detached properties are £500,000 plus.

The most expensive property for sale in Holmfirth is a detached, five-bedroom house on sought-after Binns Lane. It is on the market for £1,115m with Simon Blyth and has immaculate interiors and exceptional rural views and rural walks from the doorstep.

The least expensive is a two-bedroom cottage at St Johns Court, which comes with its own parking space. It is for sale with Cornerstone estate agents for £140,000.

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While the property market is not as hot as it was a year ago, buyers still have to act quickly in Holmfirth to secure the best homes.

If you are looking to buy then make yourself known to the local estate agents rather than relying solely on property portals.

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