HEBDEN BRIDGE WALKERS ACTION
906 BUS WALKS 1:
Midgehole, Gibson Mill and back
Main features of the walk
This circular walk takes you through the delightful wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags, along a riverside path and back through woodland above the valley. There is the added attraction of visiting Gibson Mill.
Length and time
It’s about 5km (approx 3 miles) and should take you about 2 hours (plus stops).
Gradients – how strenuous?
The outward walk along the riverside has a couple of short climbs but mainly is on the flat. The return walk also has two quite steep climbs.
Terrain – how uneven?
Both the outward and return walks are very uneven in places. One or two spots are likely to be a bit muddy and slippery after rain (especially the outward riverside route).
Obstacles – stiles, steps etc.
There are a few sets of steps, some of which are quite uneven.
Facilities on the walk
This walk has National Trust red arrow waymarks along the route. At Gibson Mill there are toilets, the HBWA stone steps photo mosaic and the Weaving Shed café (if you show your bus ticket you can have a free hot drink in the café). There are also toilets at Midgehole (20p). There is usually no mobile signal on this walk.
What to take?
You need a pair of reasonable walking shoes with ‘grippy’ soles as parts of the route can be muddy after rain. If you want to walk back to Hebden Bridge from Midgehole, pick up a copy of ‘Three way-marked walks from Hebden Bridge’ from Hebden Bridge Visitors Centre. This has a description of the route.
Detailed directions for walk 1: Midgehole to Gibson Mill and back
The 906 will take you to the Midgehole car park at the entrance of Hardcastle Crags where this circular walk starts. Most of this route has National Trust red arrow waymarks.
- Walk up the main track and after 30 metres you take a path on the left signposted Mill Walk and Picnic Area. This path joins the way-marked path which follows the riverside.
- After 50 metres the path goes up a set of rough stone steps on to the flat. You can stay up on the way-marked path, but it is more interesting to take the set of wooden steps back down to the riverside path which goes through a stand of pines, but then you have to go up some more steps to rejoin the way-marked path.
- Keep on this path as it winds and undulates through the woods always following the river.
- There s a short section along the riverbank where you need to take care as it can be slippery, especially after rain. The path then climbs up above the river.
- A little further on, the path turns sharp left back down to the riverside and a set of stepping stones. Carry on upstream on the way-marked path until you reach Gibson Mill. This stretch of the walk should take you about an hour.
A note about Gibson Mill
Gibson Mill produced cotton cloth from about 1800 until it closed in 1890.
After it shut down as a working mill, it became an “entertainment emporium” known as “Little Switzerland” with a café, dance hall and roller skating rink until it closed in 1945.
The return leg
- From Gibson Mill, take the estate road which heads back to Midgehole sign-posted Car park. After 100 metres take a path off to the left, going uphill and sign posted ‘Mill Walk’. The rough path with some stone steps climbs steeply. After about 15 minutes you near the top of the trees and the path levels out.
- After about 250 metres the path descends through some Larch woods towards the main track to Gibson Mill. Just before you reach the track you take a way-marked path bearing left through the woods. 100 metres later, the path turns left at a way-mark and climbs to some large boulders.
- As the path levels out, it first bears to the right, continues through the woods, then turns left uphill, finally meeting a paved packhorse path, where you turn right downhill.
- The stone path goes to the right along a walled path between two fields. It comes out at a National Trust car park. Here you turn right down the track leading to the start of the walk and the 906 bus stop.