Things to see and do at Hardcastle Crags

Gibson Mill at Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

We have a whole summer full of fun planned for you this year. The only problem you'll have is, what to do next?

Our family activities over the summer let you get up close to nature. You can stare the residents of our mill pond in the eye, with pond dipping. Try your hand at building your own shelter, with den building. Let your inner arist out, with our wild art sessions. Or for the first time this year, you see the canopy of a beech tree like a squirrel, with our specialist led, roped tree climbing sessions, (bookable here).

Download our planner to start your summer adventure. (PDF / 0.4MB) download

Keeping younger visitors busy is easy with so much to explore
Finding out who lives in the pond


Choose one of our waymarked trails and head off into the woods. The light on crisp winter mornings is glorious and may bring out your inner artist.

Download an illustrated map of all the trails here.

Hardcastle Crags, a view across the wooded valley.
View with crag across the valley at Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

Railway Trail

It's hard to imagine that this peaceful valley once had a railway built to transport workers from their temporary homes at 'Dawson City' up to the reservoirs at Gorple, Widdop and Walshaw Dean.


Mill 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. 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.


Wood Folk Walk

Follow the way-markers on this circular walk through the woods and find out more about the wonderful trees at Hardcastle Crags.

Download our Wood Folk Walk (PDF / 1.8MB) download


Gibson Mill

Visit Gibson Mill to find out how a cotton mill became a popular entertainment venue before being transformed into an, '#OffTheGrid' visitor centre and cafe.

In the middle of Hardcastle Crags you'll find Gibson Mill, home to the Weaving Shed Cafe and Shop. This former cotton mill and entertainment emporium boasts a fantastic and varied history. We have tours, exhibitions and special events throughout the year.


Explore the past

People have lived, worked and played in this surprising location for over 200 years. Weirs, stepping stones and packhorse trails all hint at past activities.

Gibson Mill with the mill pond overflowing

Five generations of Abraham Gibsons 

Find out out how 5 generations of the same family shaped this place.

Shows the New Pavillion at Hardcastle Crags

Lister Hollinrake from weaving to waltzing 

From Handloom Weaving to the Entertainment Emporium era

A view across the wooden 'city' was built to house the workmen and their families employed in the construction of the Walshaw Dean Reservoirs, 1900 to 1912.

Dawson City 

Named after the town of Dawson City in The Yukon in Canada which experienced the Klondike Gold Rush towards the end of the 19th century, find out more about Dawson City, Heptonstall



Upcoming events

Tree Climbing Challenge

Fri 28 Jul 2017
Have you ever climbed a tree? Would you like to try something new? This year we will be offering a one hour tree climbing experience run in partnership with The Great Big Tree Climbing Co. Dare you take the challenge?

Den Building - 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾

Mon 31 Jul 2017
Step outdoors, let the woodland be your playground and build your very own den this summer.

Pond Dipping - 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾

Tue 01 Aug 2017
Step outdoors, let the woodland be your playground and discover a fascinating underwater world this summer.

Be a ranger - family volunteering

Wed 02 Aug 2017
The outdoor team at Hardcastle Crags invite you to roll up your sleeves, become rangers for an afternoon and help us give nature a helping hand.

Wild Art - 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾

Wed 02 Aug 2017
Step outdoors, let the woodland be your playground and enjoy creating some wild art this summer.

Map and Compass - 50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4

Thu 03 Aug 2017
Explore the ancient woodland at Hardcastle Crags the traditional way - using a map and compass.