West Yorkshire walk- Hepworth and Holmfirth

DHADEW Holmfirth and The Holme Valley in West Yorkshire.

Holmfirth and the Holme Valley - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Discover a different sort of Last of the Summer Wine country near Holmfirth.

Save this ramble for the children or grandchildren. They’ll love it. Starting from Hepworth, the route is fairly short, includes a unique café and initially leads down a winding path in a wooded ravine. 

A splashing time - a beck near Hepworth 

A splashing time - a beck near Hepworth - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

Pretend you’re blazing a trail up the Amazon as you make your way through the bracken and other waxy foliage, wending this way and that beside the babbling beck. Cross the stream via stepping stones and, if they look slippery, skip straight through the water. It’s not deep.

Four wooden footbridges come in quick succession followed by steep steps to the top at which on our walk a small boy said with glee: ‘There are hundreds of sticks up here!’

Much of this stretch of the Kirklees Way is paved with stones set in the ground suggesting the route was well frequented in the past, perhaps by mill workers at Washpit Mills. 


1. Leave Hepworth to the north past the bus turning area and fork right on road downhill. Just after road bears sharp right turn left down footpath into ravine. Follow path beside stream  over footbridges and stepping stones. Emerge via scaffold bridge and wooden steps.

At top bear left on track. Turn right at end on to road.  

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At end turn right and almost immediately left over wall stile and onto footpath. Pass through three further wall stiles and at track turn right and immediately left through wall stile in 2 o’clock direction. Walk to right of wall and downhill to road over tumbled down wall (route unclear), aiming for footpath sign.

Descent to Washpit Mills

Descent to Washpit Mills - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

Turn left at road and straight over crossroads on Choppards Bank Rd. Fork right downhill and follow road round to Carding Shed. 

2. At top of hill bear left and follow lane to end. At T-junction with Cote Lane turn right. Almost immediately turn left through gap in wall up footpath. Pass through stile and then wall stile and keep ahead with wall on right. Go over stone stile and ahead down track. Cross road and bear briefly right past silos and through metal gate on left. Keep wall on left. When it ends maintain same direction and up stone step stile to road. Turn right at road then left at fork. 

3. Take second left turn onto road to and past sailing club. About 100 yards after Dean Lane turn left  on to footpath via step stile. Proceed with wall on right. Go through stile beside gate and two wall stiles and via third stile down path between wire fence and wall. Go over stile at backs of houses to reach Butchers Arms in Hepworth, a location in the Last of the Summer Wine. 

Worth a detour:  

Choppards and Washpit Mills

Choppards and Washpit Mills - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

If you’re lunching at Washpit wander to Choppards past other mills buildings in various states of residential redevelopment. Up and out in the open, the needle-like Emley Moor TV transmitter contrasts with the Victoria Tower perched on Castle Hill. Both, however, are Grade II-listed. The towers come into and out of view as you dip into and up from valleys. 

Similarly intermittent, when we walked on a Saturday afternoon, were distant men’s calls carried on the breeze not from farmers but footballers, their pitches hidden in the pleats of this distinctive South Pennine landscape. 

Eat here:

The Carding Shed cafe 

The Carding Shed cafe - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

The Carding Shed, Washpit Mill

The hearty,full-on Mechanic's breakfast carries on the garage theme of this fun-packed cafe and venue.Or you can go for a bumper crumpet with paprika halloumi and avocado or an afternoon tea experience. Plenty of appealing menus for the kids too.


Delicious homemade Cornish pasties with beef, carrot, and potato.

Pick up a pastie for your picnic - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

In Hade Edge: Pop in for a pint at The Boshaw Trout - a great family-run pub. Get your picnic needs satisfied at  Brindon Addy Butchers and Food Hall where you need to try a Hade Edge pastie or Happy Belly Scotch egg to help you on your travels or just fill your basket with lovely stuff to take home - supporting local producers nearby. 

Point of interest  

The Carding Shed with its retro motors 

The Carding Shed with its retro motors - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

Washpit Mills provides the walk’s main attraction. 

Dating back to 1822 when powered by the River Ribble, the mills turned raw wool into spun yarn. At their peak prior to the Second World War they employed around 500 people.

Part of the complex reopened three years ago as the novel Carding Shed café. Signs saved from the mill days refer to ‘Angora waste only’ and the winding, twisting and spinning offices.

We were served to the sound of 50s and 60s classics by waitresses in polka dotted dresses while seated beneath motoring ephemera including lamps, oil cans, a modern Penny Farthing and  a Raleigh Chopper bike, all hung by wires from the ceiling.

The counter is supported by oil drums. Old steering wheels, American numberplates and radiator grills are displayed on the walls and a Mini Mayfair is parked in front of the specials board which features a giant  Yorkshire pudding with roast beef.

It all makes for the most wonderfully bizarre blend of British and American culture. This is lunch as theatre. We half- expected to find ourselves among a flashmob. Petrolheads will purr and reminisce over the classic cars 

displayed in the adjacent garage. There’s everything from a Fiat X-19 to a Lincoln Continental. Oh, and the floors are concrete so there’s no need to worry about muddy boots. 

Compass points 

Start/finish: SE 163068, HD9 1TE. 

Distance: 8.9km (5½ miles). 

Time to allow: 3 hours. 

Parking: On street or in layby in Hepworth. 

Accessibility: Two modest inclines and some road walking. 

Maps: OS Explorer OL1, The Peak District (Dark Peak) and 288, Bradford & Huddersfield. 

Map link: https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/9611885/Hepworth-55-miles