Celebrate springtime at scenic spot

Bluebells at Hardcastle Crags
Bluebells at Hardcastle Crags

Nature and history lovers are being invited to celebrate springtime with a series of walks and wildlife events at Hardcastle Crags this weekend.

The National Trust has joined forces with local experts to run a range of public events in and around Hebden Bridge on Saturday and Sunday, offering people opportunities to get outdoors and closer to nature.

Two free guided walks will set off from Hardcastle Crags on Saturday morning.

History buffs can learn the story of two churches, one chapel and 13 mills in Heptonstall and Colden Clough on a nine-mile circular walk.

Alternatively, hill walkers can enjoy a climb up to Stoodley Pike and then follow the Pennine Way to Blackstone Edge, with views of lapwing, curlew, red grouse and other moorland birds along the way, on a 10.5 mile walk.

Both walks set off from the National Trust car park on Midgehole Road at 10am. There will be some steep climbing and rough terrain.

On Saturday evening visitors will have a unique chance to come face-to-face with the wildlife that comes out after dark at Hardcastle Crags, with the night-time wildlife watch.

Expert ecologists will help people use bat detectors to search for the nine different types of bats which live at Hardcastle Crags.

Wildlife hunters will then be treated to a warming bowl of soup in Gibson Mill, before heading back out into the night to see what types of moths have been caught in the moth traps.

Transport and food will be included in the event fee (£6 per person). To book a place, call the National Trust on 01422 844518.

Flower fans can enjoy a free wildflower folklore walk at Hardcastle Crags on Sunday morning.

Starting at the Clough Hole car park on Widdop Rd at 10am, the three-hour walk will see the woodland wildflowers at their colourful best.

Walkers can learn how our forebears used bluebells and how to spot the smelliest of wild plants.

The walk ends at Gibson Mill where hot drinks and delicious snacks are available.

Nabil Abbas, National Trust countryside manager, said: “It’s been a hard winter for wildlife and a slow start to spring this year. But spring is definitely in full swing now, and the moors and woodlands are literally bursting with life.

“We’re delighted to be offering a great selection of events this weekend which will appeal to wildlife lovers of all ages.

“Our famous bluebells at Hardcastle Crags are coming into bloom and providing a stunning display in the woods.

“Bats have emerged from their winter hibernation and provide a real natural spectacle when they come out in the evening to feed.

“We’re particularly excited to be sharing this event with the public in our night-time wildlife watch.”

For more information, call 01422 844518.