A Piece of history

Piece Hall, Halifax

It was a gloriously sunny day a couple of weeks ago when we took a trip to nearby Halifax. It’s a long time since we’ve been and we wanted to pay a visit to the recently restored, historic Piece Hall.

Piece Hall, Halifax with the spire of Square Church in the background | H is for Home

It’s incredible to think that when the Hall was first opened, trading within was only allowed for 2 hours per week – and only on a Saturday. In his book, A Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis writes:

Early engraving of Piece Hall, Halifax

The Piece Hall was erected by the manufacturers and is a large quadrangular building of freestone occupying an area of ten thousand square yards with a rustic basement storey and two upper storeys fronted with two interior colonnades which are spacious walks leading to arched rooms where goods in an unfinished state were deposited and exhibited for sale to the merchants every Saturday from ten to twelve ‘clock. This structure which was completed at an expense of £12,000 and opened on 1 January 1779 unites elegance convenience and security. It contains three hundred and fifteen separate rooms, and is proof against fire.

First floor colonnade, Piece Hall, Halifax | H is for Home

The Hall is on 3 floors, now housing a range of little independent shops located along the long, beautiful colonnades. Shops such as Yorkshire Soap Company, Loafers Vinyl & Coffee – there’s even a gin bar in a corner on the ground level. The large central square is now being used for concerts, gigs, markets, workshops and so on. The Antiques Roadshow takes place there this summer.

Adelle standing at one of the huge gates leading into Piece Hall | H is for Home

We couldn’t leave without taking a couple of photos of the impressive, restored cast iron south gates manufactured in 1871.

Detail from one of the gates leading into Piece Hall | H is for Home

The white rose of Yorkshire is one of the prominent symbols. The gates are inscribed with the Latin, “Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem” from Psalm 127 meaning, “Except the Lord keep the city”. They bear a figure of a lamb, a nod to the fact that Halifax was an important centre of the woollen trade in England. The head of John the Baptist is also present, he’s the patron saint of wool weavers’ guilds.

 

A birthday week in Malham

Sheep in Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We’ve just returned from Malham in the Yorkshire Dales – a little getaway to mark Adelle’s birthday!

Tennant Cottage, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We stayed at Tennant Cottage, a traditional stone house which we found online.

Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It has a wonderful location, right in the heart of the village, the bubbling beck flowing out front.

Dry stone walls, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It’s only a short drive from our home in Todmorden to Malham (just over an hour); however, Malham is a magical little place, so you still feel like you’re having a holiday!

Adelle looking through a gap in a dry stone wall, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The high, upland moors of the Dales are very similar to our own Pennine moors, but at lower levels the area has a very unique appearance and feel.

Sheep paddocks, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The pale limestone rock plays a major part. In fact, it has the classic limestone scenery taught in geography & geology lessons in classrooms worldwide. Justin came here on school field trips in his youth – now an old man, he returned to sit on rocks where he had his packed lunch 40 years ago!

Justin in front of Gordale Scar, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There are lots of craggy outcrops, cliffs, gorges, pavements, streams and caverns – and the famous dry stone walls and farm buildings are all constructed from this local rock.

Solitary tree, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It’s very pretty in the summer; however, the winter months can be stunning too – it has a stark beauty.

Footpath, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We enjoyed our many walks with Fudge, especially when the sun shone. There were lots of tempting paths that drew us through the glorious countryside.

Tree beside Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Weather-wise, we had three nice sunny days and three ‘challenging’ ones. The scenery was still dramatic on the harsh days, but driving wind & rain isn’t great for taking it all in. You find yourselves hood ups, heads down, looking at your walking boots!

Adelle braving the wind, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Still, it was late November, so a mixed bag has to be expected.

Limestone pavement, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Back in the village, we had a choice of places to relax. Our cottage was warm & cosy so that was one option. We also had a choice of pubs and cafés on the doorstep.

Looking through the window of Tennant Cottage, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

And when we say on the doorstep, we really mean it. You could actually see most of them from the house – and a tempting sight they were too!

Bridge in the evening, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There are a couple of good pubs – The Buck Inn and the Lister Arms Hotel. We frequented The Lister Arms in particular – we loved its country style and traditional feel.

The Lister Arms Hotel, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It had a great fire too, where a fair few refreshing pints were supped!

A pint of bitter in front of the fire in the Lister Arms Hotel bar, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There’s also Beck Hall with it’s lovely wood panelled snug – that’s a must for your Malham shortlist. In addition to its snug and garden room, it has some outside seating areas alongside the river which will no doubt be glorious in the summer.

The lounge in Beck Hall, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Everywhere seemed to be dog friendly which made life much easier for us.

Justin and Fudge on a bridge over Malham Beck, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Despite his advancing years, Fudge was really in his element and loved the long walks.

Fudge drinking from Malham Beck | H is for Home

It’s perfect dog walking territory actually – paths, picnic spots and places to get drinks on the move.

Adelle and Fudge at Janet's Foss, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

In addition to the outdoor activity, he was equally fond of all the attention he got – not only from us, but fellow walkers, pub-goers, business owners and staff.

Ribblehead Viaduct on a wet, wintery day, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We could happily spend the days in and around the village, but we took a drive through the Dales midway through our stay, getting as far as Hawes in the north of the area. There are endless country lanes, villages and valleys to explore. We’ve always loved the Ribblehead Viaduct when we’ve seen it on photos – what a joy it was when it came into view on our little jaunt out.

Adelle with Malham Cove in the background, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a special place – Adelle will always remember this birthday in beautiful Malham.

Keelham Farm Shop

Keelham Farm Shop entrance

We had a lovely drive over to Skipton today to visit Keelham Farm Shop.

Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton

We saw the shop on television at the weekend on the Countryfile programme. We were really taken with the Huddersfield-produced halloumi that was featured.

Keelham Farm Shop floor, Skipton

So we decided to go buy some of that – and see what else was on offer. We filled a trolley with all manner of deliciousness!

Coffee shop upstairs in Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton

There’s also a large ground floor restaurant and mezzanine café with a vintage industrial vibe – now bedecked in its Christmas decorations.

Adelle in the Keelham Farm Shop coffee shop

We found a Hygge-friendly corner! Adelle had a cute little penguin to keep her company while relaxing with a cup of coffee and slice of carrot cake.

Stairway looking down on to the shop floor of Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton

We bought quite a selection of (mainly) Yorkshire produced food & drink… including two types of the Halloumi (or Haloum! – as they call it). A mint variety and a fiery chilli. Justin bought himself a pork pie – he always judges and establishment by its pork pies. To be honest, he bought four different kinds of pie! As well as bread, cheeses, soups, ales, biscuits and puddings.

Selection of (mainly) Yorkshire produced food & drink | H is for Home

We’ve been sampling items for both lunch and dinner – they’ve all got top marks so far! We’ll be making a return trip very soon as we really like Skipton anyway – and this shop is just one more good reason to go.

A Yorkshire Post!

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Ribblehead ViaductRibblehead Viaduct | Image credit: Andrew

In association with Yorkshire Water, we’ll be extolling the virtues of the fabulous county where we live & work in this post.

Malham Cove in the Yorkshire DalesMalham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | Image credit: Alison Christine

The diversity of the landscape is amazing – beautiful farmland scenery, rugged mountains & moors, pretty woodland, meandering rivers & dramatic sea coasts – it has it all.

Flamborough Head LighthouseFlamborough Head Lighthouse | Image credit: Mike Elleray

The county has three national parks either wholly or partially within its borders, which is quite something. This stunning scenery was a major factor in Yorkshire being chosen for the Grand Départ for this year”s Tour de France. The enthusiasm of the population & amazing spectator numbers would follow later.

Dry stone wall in MalhamDry stone wall, Malham | Image credit: Paul Stephenson

The man-made additions can make a wonderful impact on the landscape – just look at the stunning Ribblehead Viaduct which we featured as our main photo – or the classic dry stone walls which snake for thousands of miles across the countryside.

view over Scarborough taken from the castleview over Scarborough from the castle | Image credit: Dave Kilroy

There’s amazing architecture both old & new – from ancient castles like the coastal fortress at Scarborough to spectacular abbeys like Rievaulx, Bolton & Fountains. Stately homes like Castle Howard – through to classic Georgian market towns & spas such as Richmond & Harrogate.

Workers' houses in SaltaireWorkers’ houses, Saltaire | Image credit: Tim Green

Victorian mill buildings & civic splendour of the 19th century – Saltaire immediately springs to mind!

Salt's Mill in SaltaireSalt’s Mill, Saltaire | Image credit: Tim Green

Relative to size, the number of listed buildings in industrial towns like Halifax & Huddersfield is amazing.

Twins l and ll by Jaume Plensa at Yorkshire Sculpture ParkTwins l and ll by Jaume Plensa, Yorkshire Sculpture Park | Image credit: Bryan Ledgard

Then right into the 21st century with places like Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Even the humble car park can grab your attention. This is the Charles Street car park in Sheffield, christened ‘the cheese grater’ by the locals (it’s been voted the 3rd coolest in the world don”t you know!).

Charles Street Car Park in Sheffield also known as the Cheese GraterCharles Street Car Park, Sheffield | Image credit: Duncan Harris

We have a choice of cities such as York, Leeds & Sheffield for a metropolitan buzz and shopping trips.

An extensive canal network, originally built to transport goods in the 18th & 19th century, criss-crosses the county. It now provides the perfect opportunity for boating holidays & tow path walks.

Five Rise Locks in BingleyFive Rise Locks, Bingley | Image credit: Allan Harris

It’s hard to pick favourite places when there’s so much on offer. Everyone who lives here or holidays in the area will have their own ideas.

Whitby Abbey at sunsetWhitby Abbey | Image credit: James Whitesmith

We love the Yorkshire Dales and the coast around Whitby. Malham is a great place to visit – with it’s stunning limestone scenery of streams, springs, caverns, gorges, clints & grykes – it’s a real life geography text book!

Winskill Stones in the Yorkshire DalesWinskill Stones, Yorkshire Dales | Image credit: Alison Christine

…and just mentioning Whitby makes us dream wistfully about a trip over there.

It’s a lovely drive from here – through Helmsley & Pickering, across the North York Moors – stopping for a sandwich & a cuppa at the Hole of Horcum – then dropping down through Sleights and into picturesque Whitby.

Whitby Harbour with the abbey on the hill in the distanceWhitby Harbour | Image credit: Matthew Hartley

We’d probably stay at the Old Dispensary. No doubt, there’d be walks on the beach or coastal path to Staithes or Robin Hood’s Bay. A mooch around the town maybe, fish & chips on the harbour at sunset. Perhaps a few drinks in the Black Horse pub – and a lazy breakfast with the newspapers the morning after.  Bliss – the perfect weekend away.

Staithes Harbour looking out to seaStaithes Harbour looking out to sea | Image credit: PauliCarmody

We really enjoy a drive out somewhere – a day wandering around the local sights & shops – stopping for a coffee. We’re spoilt for choice really – places like Ripon, Ilkley, Harrogate, Skipton and Richmond all within reach. It brings to mind another favourite little trip – with flask of tea made, take the lovely drive over the moors through Oxenhope to Addingham (where you can pick up a snack for lunchtime if you  haven’t brought a packed lunch. Spend a couple of hours by the river at Bolton Abbey, then onto Ilkley or Skipton for the afternoon. Each has its own attractions depending on what you fancy that day – auction house, antiques centre, shops, park, boat trip on the canal, medieval castle, Betty’s Tea Rooms!

Stepping stones across the river at Bolton AbbeyStepping stones across the river at Bolton Abbey | Image credit: linearclassifier

And then there’s home of course – we can’t write a post about Yorkshire without highlighting our own little corner of the county. We live & work in the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. We know the neighbouring towns of Todmorden & Hebden Bridge particularly well having lived in both.

Todmorden stone on entering the townTodmorden stone on entering the town centre

It’s Todmorden at the moment and we’re very happy here. It’s actually very easy to shop & socialise in both which is ideal. Two for the price of one! A ten minute drive or train hop between the two – or an hour’s walk along a lovely stretch of that canal we mentioned earlier – the perfect distance for a stroll with a well-deserved pub lunch at the other end!

Rochdale Canal at Hebden BridgeRochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge | Image credit: Phil King

There’s a lot going on here for relatively small towns. Interesting independent shops, markets, art galleries, restaurants & bars. Each town has a  lovely, big park where they stage a wide variety of events. There are agricultural shows, vintage car rallies, beer & music festivals and spectacular fire work displays.

View of Hebden BridgeHebden Bridge | Image credit: Tim Green

We have beautiful countryside on our doorstep where we spend many hours walking with our dog Fudge. The folk are friendly & helpful and there’s a strong will to give things a go – whether it be a new business or social endeavour. Just take Incredible Edible as the perfect example – a wonderful organisation aiming to provide access to good local food for all.

view overlooking TodmordenView of Todmorden nestled in the Calder valley

So, that’s our Yorkshire. In addition to sharing lots of lovely images, this post gives us the opportunity to highlight the importance of Yorkshire Water in all this.  It’s actually one of the county’s largest landowners and has given access to thousands of acres of their land for everyone to enjoy. Their Blueprint for Yorkshire details their achievements to date & plans for the next 25 years. Their work is essential, from providing our drinking water, to reducing flooding to protecting wildlife and the natural environment. Their activities affect residents & visitors alike and are vital for the well-being of this county.

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Last of the Summer Wine

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front of Homefirth Vineyard building | H is for Home

I’ve never been a fan of the television series, “Last of the Summer Wine”, I’ve never seen a single episode, but I do know that it was filmed (until its demise last year) in the nearby town of Holmfirth.

View of the Holmfirth Vineyard restaurant & sun terrace | H is for Home

What I didn’t know however, is that there’s AN ACTUAL VINEYARD in Holmfirth! In Yorkshire! Who’d have thought it was possible?!

Grape vines at Holmfirth Vineyard | H is for Home

Holmfirth Vineyard was founded in 2007 – it had previously been a sheep farm, something much more typical of the area.

Bar area in the restaurant at Holmfirth Vineyard | H is for Home

I visited for the first time two days ago with my friend Duncan. He took me there for a spot of lunch (and perhaps a glass of wine) in their lovely, light-filled restaurant. The food was lovely – I had a pear & stilton tart with salad and sweet potato chips; Duncan had their Swiss cheese & bacon burger with fat chips – both homemade. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the food when it arrived, but trust me, it was delicious!

Duncan enjoying the sun on the terrace of the Holmfirth Vineyard restaurant | H is for Home

West Yorkshire was (and still is!) having an early spring heatwave – just look at that sky! – so we decided to finish with coffee & cake on their terrace overlooking the grapevines. The panoramic view was stunning!

slices of cheesecake & cups of coffee on the terrace of the Holmfirth Vineyard restaurant | H is for Home

We both plumped for their New York style cheesecake – divine! I had a great afternoon, I’d really love to visit again – next time taking in the tour and wine tasting too – hopefully it was the first, and not the last, of the summer wine!

Lakeland Break

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Loughrigg Tarn, Langdale, Lake District | H is for Home

In last week’s Wednesday Wish post, we mentioned a recent trip we took to the Lake District.

wood & rope swings hanging from an oak tree, Chapel Style, Little Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria

We thought we’d just share a few snaps of our short stay – perhaps for any fellow Lake District lovers who haven’t been for a while (and are in need a quick ‘virtual visit’)… or maybe for anyone who’s always fancied going and need just a little further tempting.

a single tent pitched in Baysbrown Farm, Chapel Style, Little Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria

How about this for a view to wake up to?

For all you campers out there – this photo was taken at the Baysbrown Farm campsite in the Great Langdale valley.

trees with beautiful autumn leaves in the churchyard, Ambleside, Lake District, Cumbria

The stunning, seasonal colours had started to emerge…

Chapel and roofs in the mist, Chapel Style, Little Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria

…and we had a couple of those glorious autumn days with morning mists giving way to bright sunshine.

close up view of moss, Little Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria close up view of a spider's web on a stone wall, Little Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria

Around every corner you find beauty – whether on a small or large scale.

road dry stone wall and farm gate, Chapel Style, Little Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria

We have some very nice walking country of our own here in Yorkshire where we live…

Loughrigg Tarn, Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria

…however, Lakeland really takes some beating!