Does anyone else keep a mental list of local places to visit when you find yourself at a loss for things to do near home? I try to keep that list present in my mind, but I often find myself with brain freeze when the times arise when we can’t think of something to do. Hardcastle Crags has been on that list since Richard told me about it a couple of years ago. And, with my brother, sister-in-law, and niece visiting, we were fumbling to come up with something to do on a Sunday that didn’t require a long car ride. I impressed myself and Richard by actually remembering Hardcastle Crags, and I believe all of us were impressed with the great day out it provided.
We parked up and headed off in search of the mill that houses a café. (You do have to pay to park unless you are a member of the National Trust.) We knew we didn’t want to follow the road the whole way there, so we quickly headed downhill to the river and followed the river the entire way. It’s a beautiful and fairly easy walk. There are a few places along the walk where there are stepping stones across the river, so we had fun crossing those.
When we reached the mill, there were a good number of families enjoying picnics around the river. We had lunch inside at The Weaving Shed Café. The food was simple and good. There are signs in the café saying that they are “off the grid” meaning they don’t receive electricity from the national grid, so they can’t always guarantee that they can serve hot food and drinks. It’s a unique little place, and I like the quirkiness of it. They also have a small gift shop along with the option to tour the mill for an additional cost. We had two kids under two with us, so we decided to forego the mill this trip. There is further hiking past the mill, which I think is more strenuous and that we will hopefully check out some time soon.
After leaving Hardcastle Crags, we headed into Hebden Bridge to show our visitors this funky little village. We had ice cream (basically a must on every day out with an almost 2-year old and a twenty-something ice cream-obsessed sister-in-law) and enjoyed walking around checking out the shops, the canal, and the lock system. The canal and the locks were of particular interest to my brother and sister-in-law because it isn’t something you see much in the U.S. They even got to see one of the narrow boats go through a lock. I loved to see there was a crowd gathered to watch the boat pass through – oh, the excitement of life in a small village!
I’d definitely recommend Hardcastle Crags (and of course, Hebden Bridge) for a nice day out in the Calder Valley. The day was a great reminder to explore the beautiful places close to home as well as those further away.