Hardcastle Crags

Hebden Dale, about 1½ miles north of Hebden Bridge. In some sources, the name is written as Hardcastle Craggs.

This natural ravine is a beauty spot with woods and the rocky crags – including Slurring Rock – lying along Hebden Water below Heptonstall and popularised in Edwardian times.

The valley is famous for its colonies of hairy wood ants.

With Gibson Mill, it was part of the Greenwood Lee estate of the Gibson family.

It has always been a popular tourist destination. On Whit Friday 1896, over 8,000 people travelled by train to Hebden Bridge to visit the Crags. On Whit Tuesday 1900, over 20,000 people rode and walked to the Crags. Today, it attracts about 100,000 visitors per year.

In 1934, Halifax Corporation proposed to build a reservoir. This was abandoned but subsequently revived on several occasions.

Over the years, the area has passed to the National Trust. In August 1948, Lord George Halifax Lumley-Savile gave 250 acres of land at Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean to the National Trust. The National Trust raised an appeal to buy a further 168 acres, and was boosted, in 1950, by Henry Mitchell Ingham who gave money and left woodland to the National Trust. In 1957, Abraham Gibson (5) left woodland and property to the National Trust in his will, including the family home Greenwood Lee and Gibson Mill.

The name Hardcastle may come from the roots hard and castel meaning a difficult, inaccessible, or impregnable stronghold, and may be the origin of the surname Hardcastle

See Ackroyd Brothers / Clarion Movement / Cosy Corner Guest House & Café, Hebden Bridge / Fisherman's Hut Falls, Hebden Bridge / Walter Greaves / Hardcastle Crags Murder / Hardcastle Crags Railway / Hawden Hall Holiday Camp / Hebden Bridge Sculpture Trail / Samuel Heywood / William Holt / Horseshoe Cascade, Hardcastle Crags / Lord Holme Restaurant / Mitchell's Pavilion / Stepping Stones, Hardcastle Crags / Dent Sutcliffe / Sutcliffe's Refreshment Rooms & Dance Saloon / Thornton's Tea Rooms / John Tillotson / Tom Bell's Cave / Walshaw Bridge, Hardcastle Crags / Walshaw Falls, Hardcastle Crags / Widdop Gate Hostel, Heptonstall

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 19:40 / 20th March 2024 / 5808

Page Ref: MMH117

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