Neighbourhood know-how, people and places

Sitting pretty in the Holme Valley, where the rivers of Holme and Ribble meet, is the West Yorkshire town of Holmfirth. Now, at first glance you may think you’ve been here before, maybe even taken tea and chatted away to the interesting locals, even if you’ve never ventured over to these parts. This is because many will be well acquainted with the place through their TV screens, as Holmfirth was the setting for the UK’s longest running sitcom – Last of the Summer Wine.

Great British Life: Nora and Compo - characters made famous in the Holmfirth-set Last of the Summer Wine. Nora and Compo - characters made famous in the Holmfirth-set Last of the Summer Wine. (Image: Sean James Doyle)

Take a trip here and you’ll see the town awash with fans taking in the famous sites from Nora Batty’s steps to Sid’s Café where many stop for a bite to eat. Visitors can even have a nosey inside Compo’s former home which has now been turned into an exhibition dedicated to the show. But this town’s fame started long before its famous BBC show, when towards of the end of the 19th century silent movies and saucy postcards put the town on the map thanks to a local man known as James Bamforth who produced over 16 million a year.

Before Bamforth, Holmfirth was like many of the old mill towns seen across the Pennines that saw rapid wealth thanks to a growing cloth trade, along with a production of stone and slate during the 1800s. In 1850 the very first steam train pulled into the town thanks to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. It was around this time that the origins of the Holmfirth Anthem, also known as Pratty Flowers, can be traced back to. Now, a town with its own anthem – how cool is that?

Great British Life: Holmfirth is a place of hills and steps! Holmfirth is a place of hills and steps! (Image: Getty)


Holmfirth may have been put on the map by Last of the Summer Wine, but it packs its own punch with a colourful cultural calendar, breath-taking scenery, and welcoming locals. So much so that it’s become somewhat of a focal point in the Holme Valley as a go-to for many living in the surrounding villages. Of course, its vibrant music scene is a big draw with The Picturedome regularly hosting sold out gigs throughout the year. It may be a relief to know that if you can’t get a ticket here, you’re sure to find a bar or a pub playing live music somewhere nearby. Festivals are often held such as the Holmfirth Folk Festival which thousands of tourists have been flocking to since 1978 to sing and dance. Along with the Arts Festival and the Food and Wine Festival. This vibrant music scene attests to the importance that is placed upon the community here, which very clearly sits at the heart of this town at Holmfirth Tech - a beautiful Victorian building which houses the town’s creative hub.

Great British Life: Digley ReservoirDigley Reservoir (Image: Sean James Doyle)Great British Life: Summer wine tours.Summer wine tours. (Image: Sean-James Doyle)

This flows through into the shops, of which many are wonderful independents which are luckily still managing to hold on in this economic climate thanks to the tourists that pay a visit. Of course, you’ll find a traditional market on Thursdays and Sundays, as well as a fantastic farm shop called Hinchcliffe’s located a stone’s throw out of town. Find some hidden gems at Daisy Lane Books, treat your sweet tooth at The Chocolate Box, before picking out something tasty at The Cheese Shop to enjoy with a bottle of the town’s very own wine from Holmfirth Vineyard. Yes, its own Vineyard, where you can take a tour, enjoy afternoon tea, and even stay over! The panoramic views from here may have you hankering for a hike of which there are plenty! Take a wander around Digley reservoir, march on the moorlands at Holme Moss, or venture a little further afield to the neighbouring Peak District. The Wrinkled Stocking Tearoom is the perfect place to pop by for a post-hike pick-me-up or step back in time at the Carding Shed – a retro paradise of memorabilia with 50s diner food to match.

Great British Life: Properties in the town centre are characteristic of the area. Properties in the town centre are characteristic of the area. (Image: Getty)


Many people come to Holmfirth as tourists and return as residents, whether it’s those on a Last of the Summer Wine tour that simply fell in love with the place or out-of-towners chasing a slower and more wholesome way of life by relocating from the city. It’s clear to see why when it’s positioned so prettily in the Pennines and surrounded by such stunning landscape. Add to this good schools, thriving community spirit, along with a great selection of shops and restaurants, then it’s no surprise people fall in love at first visit. Even though it doesn’t have a train station (this closed in 1959) it’s still well placed to reach a good selection of cities including Huddersfield which is just under 20 minutes by car, Wakefield 30 minutes, and Bradford 40 minutes, as well as being less than half an hour to the M1 and M62. Two train stations are within a 5-minute drive and regular buses also serve the town.

In terms of property this is the place to bag yourself a character cottage perched upon Holme Valley with original features and fabulous views. These kinds of properties sell for an average of £190,000, but can fetch up to £320,000. Larger cottages, barn conversions, and big, detached houses can be found along South Lane, Binns Lane, and up towards Upper Thong, costing between £600,000-£1.3m. Or why not explore the delightful hamlets and villages that sit on the fringes of Holmfirth.

Great British Life: Nora and Compo - characters made famous in the Holmfirth-set Last of the Summer Wine. Nora and Compo - characters made famous in the Holmfirth-set Last of the Summer Wine. (Image: Rhythm Stick Drumming)


Katie Mallard moved to Holmfirth 11 years ago from Cambridge as she wanted a better quality of life for her daughter. She runs a community samba band Valley Beats which is based at Holmfirth Tech.

‘One of the reasons we wanted to be in Holmfirth is because it’s in the countryside but has that diverse edge too, so it’s like a hybrid countryside cosmopolitan place. There’s so much to do, we live really central, so it’s only an eight minute walk to the Picturedome, and all these amazing events and activities. The place is just really bustling, and full of life. Its diversity makes it unique, there’s lots of different kinds of people of different ages and they all get on. If you go to a pub, it’s all mixed ages and that’s really lovely. Some places can be cliquey and it’s just not like that here. It’s also gorgeous – we have a house on top of the hill that looks over the valley and it’s just so pretty.’