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Hardcastle Crags Woodland Wildlife Walk


The valleys of Hardcastle Crags, west of Halifax, offer stunning riverside views while the oak, beech and pine woods are full of tumbling streams.

A beautiful wooded valley with plenty to discover

Whether you decide to climb the rocky paths to the hilltops or enjoy a picnic by old weirs, there’s plenty of wildlife to see. Visit in late spring to see the woodland carpeted with bluebells.

Stepping Stones Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire
Stepping Stones at Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire National Trust Images / John Millar


Map route for Hardcastle Crags woodland wildlife walk
© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey


Midgehole car park, grid ref: SD988291


From the information point at Midgehole car park turn left down the hill and then immediately right following the path to the riverside picnic area. The cotton industry left its mark on the landscape, from millponds to pack-horse trails. In the early 20th century Hardcastle Crags was visited by workers from neighbouring towns and villages. They would walk from as far as Littleborough for tea and a dance at Gibson Mill.

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Follow the path upstream along the riverside and into the woods; look out for signs of the valley's industrial past as you pass millponds and weirs.


Continue along the riverside path, then climb a flight of steps, before dropping back down to the river by a set of stepping stones. In the early 20th century, people came here for a day out, sometimes walking as far as 8 to 10 miles (12.8 to 16.1km).

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Continuing along the riverside path, you will pass Gibson Mill.

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Gibson Mill at Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire
Gibson Mill at Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire National Trust Images / John Millar


Leave the mill on the main track, heading back toward the car park. After a short distance, at the top of the slope, take the path leading off to the left up into the woods. 'The ferns and mosses carpeting the woodland floor and the majestic trees create an inviting, yet at times eerie, landscape', Ian O'Leary, National Trust Warden.

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A family walk through woodland past a waterfall
Explore miles of woodland paths criss-crossed by streams and waterfalls National Trust Images / John Millar


After a short while the path leads down through a conifer plantation. Look out for signs of the northern hairy wood ant, before joining the main track through the estate.


Follow the waymarked route back up the valley to reach Slurring Rock. This is where children used to slide down the rocks in their clogs. Continue past the rocks and drop down onto the old pack-horse route back to the car park.


Midgehole car park, grid ref: SD988291

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Hardcastle Crags Woodland Wildlife Walk


Circular walk, waymarked by red painted flashes on the trees. The route goes through the steep-sided river valley, uneven and steep in places. Paths can be muddy after wet weather.

Dogs welcome under close control, but please do not allow your dog to foul on paths and around picnic areas. No bins provided, please take your waste home.

Hardcastle Crags Woodland Wildlife Walk

Contact us

Hardcastle Crags Woodland Wildlife Walk

How to get here

near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire
By train

Hebden Bridge Station 2 miles (3.2km).

By road

A646 westbound from Halifax then A6033, 1.5 miles (2.4) north-east of Hebden Bridge.

By foot

Access via riverside walk from Hebden Bridge. Pennine Bridleway passes property.

By bus

Service 906 runs from Widdop Reservoir to Midgehole car park via Hebden Bridge Station (summer weekends and Bank Holidays only).

By bicycle

National Cycle Network route 68 (Pennine Cycleway), 2 miles (3.2km) from Hebden Bridge.

Hardcastle Crags Woodland Wildlife Walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs wlecome under close control