Hardcastle Crags is set in an area of attractive woodland just north of Hebden Bridge. The best way to explore the crags is walking through the woods, alongside Hebden Water (a river!), to Gibson Mill. Gibson Mill is a well preserved old cotton mill, set alongside the river.
A few miles out of Hebden Bridge on the road to Keighley there is a delightful riverside walk through the trees. Within the trees are two surprises. The first is the Gibson Mill, a renovated cotton mill and an excellent example of the areas strong industrial past. Further on a short climb brings up Hardcastle Crags. Hardcastle Crags is little more than a fin of higher land topped off with some gritstone boulders. However what it does do is pop out from the woods offering good views over Calderdale.
The entire area is managed and owned by the National Trust. Therefore there is a pleasant cafe in the mill, information on its history including the perfect nature of the narrow valleys and fast flowing river. In addition a car park makes for a convenient walk for all ages. The riverside path I chose to follow whilst walking to the mill is lovely, even though I walked it in mid winter. It will be lovely in Spring and early summer with the wild flowers and blossoming trees. However it is a little rough in places but there is an excellent state road running parallel, suitable for all and an easy return for those having done the riverside path.
There are a number of paths that carry on beyond Hardcastle Crags. It makes for a good choice of walks, whatever length you would like them to be. This one is quite short.
Do not miss the signpost to the crags by being distracted by the full size wooden horse and farmhand in the picnic area to your right. Easily done.
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