Holmfirth and the Holme Valley




4.5 miles (7.2kms)

800ft (244m)
2hrs 30min

About the walk

Holmfirth and the Holme Valley have been popularised as ‘Summer Wine Country’, forever linked to the whimsical TV series Last of the Summer Wine, written by Roy Clarke and starring a trio of incorrigible old buffers, Compo, Foggy and Clegg. The cast were familiar faces in the town until the series ended in 2010 after running for 37 years. When Londoner Bill Owen (lovable rogue Compo) died in 1999 at the age of 85, he was laid to rest overlooking the little town he had grown to call home. Visitors come to Holmfirth in their droves, in search of film locations such as Sid’s Café and Nora Batty’s house. But Holmfirth takes its TV fame in its stride, for this isn’t the first time that the town has starred in front of the cameras. In fact, Holmfirth very nearly became another Hollywood. Bamforths, better known for its naughty seaside postcards, began to make short films here in the early years of the last century. They were exported around the world to popular demand. Local people were drafted in as extras in Bamforths’ overwrought dramas. Film production came to an end at the outbreak of World War I and, sadly, was never resumed.

Holmfirth town, much more than just a film set, is the real star along with the fine South Pennine scenery that surrounds it. By the time you have completed half of this walk, you are a mile (1.6km) from the Peak National Park. The town grew rapidly with the textile trades, creating a tight-knit community in the valley bottom: a maze of ginnels, alleyways and narrow lanes. The River Holme, which runs through its middle, has flooded on many occasions. but the most devastating flood occurred back in 1852, when, after heavy rain, Bilberry Reservoir burst its banks. The resulting torrent of water destroyed the centre of Holmfirth and claimed 81 lives.

In more recent times, Holmfirth has become something of a hub for road cyclists. The Tour de France Grand Depart passed through here in 2014 on its way up the infamous Holme Moss. Subsequent Tour de Yorkshire routes (a legacy of the Grand Depart) have passed through the town, drawing huge crowds to cheer on the cyclists.

Walk directions

From Crown Bottom car park, walk to the right along Huddersfield Road for just 100yds (91m) before bearing left just after the fire station, up Wood Lane. The road soon narrows to a steep track. Keep left of a house and through a gate, to continue on a walled path. At the top of the hill, by a bench, follow the road to the right, leading to a track. Follow this track, soon enclosed, as it wheels left, down into a valley. Soon after you approach woodland, you have a choice of tracks: keep left on the walled path, uphill. When it eventually joins a stone farm track, turn left and after about 50yds (46m), climb steps on the left to cross a stile. Immediately afterwards, go through a swing gate and across a field path to another gate. Walk on an enclosed path to a track. Turn left to join another enclosed path before emerging on a road by Midgley Cottage. Turn left and follow the road as it bends through the top of the village.

Continue along the road, which wheels round to the right. Walk downhill, with great views opening up of the Holme Valley. After 150yds (137m) on the road, take a cinder track on the right. Walk down to meet a road. Cross over and take the tarmac lane ahead, steeply down into a little valley and up the other side. When this minor road forks at the top, go right, uphill. Immediately after the first house, go left on a gravel track. Follow this track to Lower Hogley Farm, where you keep right, past a knot of houses, to a gate and stile. Cross this on to a field path, with a wall to your left. Go through four fields, aiming for the mast on the horizon, and descend to the road.

Go right for just 50yds (46m) to bear left around a path. Follow the walled footpath downhill, through a gate; as the footpath opens out into a grassy area, bear left on a grass track down into the valley. Go over a stile next to a gate, following an enclosed path above woodland. On approaching houses, cross a stile and join a metalled track at a fork. Bear right here, then immediately left, on a narrow footpath between houses. Follow a field path, keeping right at a fork to go through a gate; pass houses and continue downhill past Stubbin Farm to meet the main A6024 road.

Cross the road, then, by a row of diminutive cottages, take Old Road to the left. Keep straight ahead when you reach a junction between houses, down Water Street. Beyond a mill, cross the River Holme on a metal footbridge and follow a riverside path. The path opens into a field; approximately 20yds (18m) later, fork right over duckboards. Keep to the right (uphill) and cross a stile to enter woodland. Continue in the same direction, following the uphill fork to the right until you reach some steps to the right. Go down the steps and turn right and immediately left, continuing in the same direction (uphill) to emerge at a field. Cross two fields and join a track by a house. Pass some more cottages to meet a road.

Go left, along the road. Enjoy fine views down into the Holme Valley as you descend to a junction. Turn left and continue on the long downhill road into Holmfirth.

Additional information

Good paths and tracks, several stiles

Upland pasture

On lead in fields with livestock, off on lanes

OS Explorer 288 Bradford & Huddersfield

Crown Bottom car park on Market Street or Sands Lane long stay car park

At Sands Lane long stay car park

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About the area

Discover West Yorkshire

Everybody knows that Yorkshire has some special landscapes. The Dales and the Moors first spring to mind, but what about West Yorkshire? That’s Leeds and Bradford isn’t it? Back-to-back houses and blackened mills… Certainly if you had stood on any of the hills surrounding Hebden Bridge a hundred years ago, and gazed down into the valley, all you would have seen was the pall of smoke issuing from the chimneys of 33 textile mills. But thankfully, life changes very quickly in West Yorkshire. The textile trade went into terminal decline, the mills shut down forever and in a single generation Hebden Bridge became a place that people want to visit.

The surrounding countryside offers walking every bit as good as the more celebrated Yorkshire Dales; within minutes you can be tramping across the moors. And this close proximity of town and country is repeated all across West Yorkshire. There’s such diversity in the area that you can find yourself in quite unfamiliar surroundings, even close to places you may know very well. Take time to explore this rich county and you will be thrilled at what you find to shatter old myths and preconceptions. 

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