Hardcastle Crags

Past and Present

Running Time = 90 minutes

Now available on DVD and USB Memory stick, simply plug into your TV or Laptop

Pathways are a film production company based in Calderdale, West Yorkshire featuring journeys highlighting the historical background and ‘Pretty Gritty’ landscapes found in the South Pennines, which is the home of the ‘Grand Depart’ of the Tour de France in July 2014.


Hardcastle Crags is one of the most beautiful and romantic valleys in the North of England and is visited each year by thousands of tourists. Produced in 2008 this film describes the many moods of the valley throughout the year showing how it changes over the seasons. Helicopter footage follows the passage of the River Hebden as it winds through the valley from the upland moors down to join the River Calder in the historic market town of Hebden Bridge.


The film produces plenty of evidence to show why Hardcastle Crags remains one of the jewels in the crown of the National Trust.


It’s a fantastic place to visit with over 400 acres of upland walking making it feature regularly in national surveys for families to picnic and walkers to ramble. Old photographs show how it has been a tourist attraction since Victorian times when thousands of people from the mills of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire poured out of Hebden Bridge Railway Station to have a day out and breath the fresh air of the Crags. Interviews with old people vividly capture their times enjoying the swingboats, boating lake and other attractions.

The film tells the story of the Crag’s industrial past featuring Gibson Mill, which lies at the heart of the valley. Recently a major re –development project has been undertaken by the National Trust and we are given a tour by one of the staff outlining its ever changing identity from mill to ‘Entertainment Emporium’ to its present status as an industrial museum and exemplar of sustainable living providing its own fuel, power, water and even self composting toilets.

A member of the Hardcastle Crags Preservation Society relives the drama of how on three occasions water companies have had to be fought off in their attempt to flood the valley – an unimaginable idea but it went all the way to parliament before it was defeated.


The film also highlights the many activities run by the National Trust throughout the year from “Bluebell Walks “ to “Foraging for Fungi” and the Trust’s “Stewardship Scheme“ is featured where a local Hebden Bridge primary school uses the Crags as a “Living Classroom” under the guidance of Trust Staff.

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A very full and dramatic story then but the film above all brings to life the majestic beauty of the Crags in all the seasons by taking the viewer walking along some of its many and varied footpaths. Another lovely valley in Calderdale is “The Shibden Valley” which is featured by Pathways as part of their collection of films “The Valleys of Calderdale”

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