Last of the Summer Wine Country – Holmfirth – Ramsden and Digley Reservoirs round
West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England and came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. The county is landlocked and consists of five boroughs the City of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, City of Leeds and City of Wakefield and shares borders with the counties of Derbyshire to the south, Greater Manchester to the south-west, Lancashire to the north-west, South Yorkshire to the south-east and North Yorkshire to the north and east. West Yorkshire has the most built up and biggest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire and lies almost entirely on rocks of carboniferous age which form the southern Pennine fringes in the west and the Yorkshire coalfield further eastwards. In the very east of the county there are younger deposits of magnesian limestone. The Bradford and Calderdale areas are dominated by the eastern slopes of the Pennines producing many steep-sided valleys with a network of roads, canals and railways. This large industrial and urban area creates views of a wonderful mixture of open countryside, settlements and demanding hills. The Yorkshire coalfield is a rolling landscape of hills, escarpments and broad valleys with many converted or derelict mine buildings and recently landscaped former spoil heaps. The magnesian limestone belt to the east of Leeds and Wakefield is an elevated ridge with smooth rolling scenery and dry valleys dotted with many country houses and estates with parkland, estate woodlands, plantations and game coverts. The River Aire and the River Calder drain the area, flowing from west to east. The River Aire is a major river flowing for 71 miles rising at Malham Tarn and after passing through West Yorkshire it enters the River Ouse at Airmyn in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Part of the river is canalised and is known as the Aire and Calder Navigation. The River Calder a tributary of the River Aire rises on the slopes of the Pennines at Heald Moor near Todmorden in Calderdale and flows for 45 miles before entering the River Aire at Castleford the confluence of the Aire and Calder.
The Peak District is made up of two areas The White Peak which is a limestone plateau of green fields with rolling hills and many dales and The Dark Peak (or High Peak) which is a series of higher, wilder and boggier grit stone moorlands. The Peak District is also known as the Derbyshire Peak District and also covers areas of Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, Cheshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. Although there are no prominent boundaries the central and most rural area of the Peaks lie within the Peak District National Park. The National Park covers 555 square miles of Derbyshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and South and West Yorkshire and 12% of the park is owned by the National Trust a charity which aims to conserve historic and natural landscapes and does not receive government funding. The Peak District National Park Authority provides public facilities such as car parks, public toilets, visitor centres and also maintains the rural nature of the park although most of the land is still owned by the traditional landlords.
Holmbridge is a small village on the A6024 just to the south west of Holmfirth, Last of the Summer Wine Country, in the Holme Valley and the borough of Kirklees. It houses two pubs the Stumble Inn and Bridge Tavern.
Holme is a small village south west of Holmfirth and Holmbridge and lies between Ramsden, Brownhill and Digley Reservoirs. The village is in West Yorkshire close to the border with Derbyshire and lies on the boundary of the Peak District National Park with some properties split to lie outside of it. The village houses a pub the Fleece Inn, a school and public toilets. Nearby is the Holme Moss radio transmitter that is 526 metres above sea level and 200 metres tall.
The River Holme flowing through the Holme Valley starts from Digley Reservoir and is then fed firstly by the run off stream from Brownhill Reservoir then by Dobbs Dike. The river a tributary of the River Colne flows for 8.6 miles through Holmbridge, Holmefirth, Thongsbridge, Brockholes, Honley, Berry Brow and Lockwood before it joins the Colne just south of Huddersfield town centre at Folly Hall. Ramsen and Brownhill Reservoir are separated by a dam.
Holmfirth attracts thousands of visitors and fans of the television series “Last of the Summer Wine” every year to visit Sid’s Cafe, Nora Batty’s home and Steps, the Wrinkled Stocking Tea Room and the Summer Wine Exhibition. It is the longest running comedy programme in Britain and the longest running sitcom in the world. The cast has changed many times over the years with the original trio being Bill Owen as scruffy Compo, Peter Sallis as deep thinking Cleg and Michael Bates as snobbish Blamire and they always got themselves involved in daredevil stunts and boyish pranks. The late Bill Owen was heavily involved in the creation and design of The Summer Wine Exhibition and was keen to provide an interesting and memorable feature for visitors and was officially opened by Compo on Easter Saturday 1996 the 25th anniversary of the programme. The Wrinkled Stocking Tea Room named after the famous stockings worn by Nora Batty who is also a star of the series “Last of the Summer Wine” and appropriately named for it is situated next door to the TV homes of Nora and previously Compo. The Picturedrome Cinema is also popular and there are a wide range of shops, restaurants, wine bars, pubs and a variety of take-aways to suit all pallets. There is a vintage market on Wednesdays, a general market on Thursdays, craft and food market on Saturdays, a farmers market every third Sunday and various special markets throughout the year. Holmfirth with its wonderful scenery across the Holme Valley is also popular with walkers and wildlife enthusiasts. Watch out for the wildlife beside the river you never know what you may see. There are many walks and cycle routes so why not head out for the hills, with your camera, where you will find peace, fresh air and panoramic views all year round. The most popular walks are Digley Reservoir, Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, Ramsden Reservoir, Holme Valley Riverside Way, Holme Valley Circular Walk, Holme Moss View Point and Holmbridge and Holme Walk.
The Kirklees Way is a 72 mile waymarked footpath. It opened in 1990 and includes the Upper Colne Valley, Spen Valley and Holme Valley.
The Holmbridge and Holme Walk is a 5 mile walk taking in the Pennine Moors and Peak hills and passes Yateholme, Ramsden and Digley Reservoirs. Maps and guides of popular walks in the area can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre in Holmfirth but we recommend you also use an OS map.
We park in Ramsden Reservoir car park and make our way to the picnic area and turn right uphill past a bench then bear right between two walls into some trees. We follow the wall on our right with a stream on our left. We soon cross the stream and when we come to a stile we go over and turn left following the arrow sign Holmbridge and Holme Walk and follow the path through the fields with the wall on our left. We take the second path on the left crossing over the gated stile with an arrow sign Holmbridge and Holme Walk. Bearing right we zigzag downhill go through some trees following a little stream to a stile. We go over the stile and make our way down to a farm and turn right we head forwards going through a gate to the left of an old shed then bear to the left following the wall heading forward towards some houses. We come into a wood and after a short way and go through a small iron gate on the left then head downhill to cross a little wooden footbridge. We follow the footpath to the road and turn left downhill. Just past the school we turn sharp left downhill onto Dobb Top Road. We cross over a tiny stream and head slightly uphill. At the y-junction we bear right slightly downhill onto Smithy Lane then turn next right and right again to go over the bridge. We pass the church on the right and the cricket pitch on the left then at the bend in the road just past the bus shelter and the post box we turn left onto a track. We follow the track with a stream on our left to a gate and turning circle. Here we turn right up the steps and make our way to a seat we go through the gate and turn left onto the road. We follow the road round with Digley Reservoir on our left to a gate on the left. We go through the gate and bear right. When we see the car park in front of us we turn left at the information board and follow the path alongside the reservoir. We pass a quarry and bear left keeping to the main path. We go down some steps cross over a stream running into the reservoir and head forwards on the path between two walls. The path splits at a seat and we bear left downhill and keep following the path past another seat to cross over the dam between Digley and Bilberry Reservoirs. We walk up a few steps then keep heading forwards downhill. We go through a gate cross over a little stream and at the seat we turn immediate right steeply uphill following a wire fence on our right to go over a stile. We keep heading forwards through the fields following the Kirklees Way until we come to a small road at Holme. We turn left downhill then turn right at the main road. Just after the public toilets and telephone box on the left and almost opposite the Fleece Inn we turn left at the public footpath sign. We bear right by the side of a private garden. We come out into a field and keep heading forwards downhill to cross a bridge over a little stream. We then head uphill to a stile with a wall on our right. We cross the stile and keep following the path bearing slightly left now going downhill. The path becomes wider and we keep following the path with Ramsden Reservoir down below on our right. Eventually we turn sharp right downhill to cross over the dam between Brownhill and Ramsden Reservoirs we can see the car park at the other side.
This is a moderate walk on footpaths and tracks and through fields with stiles and gates. There are also some short stretches of minor road and a few stiff inclines and declines.
Elevation: Approx lowest point 181.5m (595.5ft) Approx highest point 311.2m (1021ft)
Approx 5.4 miles allow 2¼ hours using OS Explorer Map OL1 the Peak District, Dark Peak Area.
Start Point: Ramsden Reservoir free car park.
Ramsden Reservoir is south west of Holmfirth in the District of Kirklees, West Yorkshire.
Directions and Parking
From the M1 coming from the north take junction 39 and take the A636 to Denby Dale then turn right onto the A635 and follow the A635 into Holmfirth. In Holmfirth at the main traffic lights turn left onto the A6024 to Holmbridge. Take the little road on the left just over the bridge then right uphill for about a mile and Ramsden Reservoir car park is on the left.
From the M1 coming from the south take junction 37 and follow the A628 at the second roundabout turn right for Huddersfield then turn left onto the A635 and follow the A635 into Holmfirth. In Holmfirth the directions are as above.
Parking: Ramsden Reservoir free car park. There are also two car parks at Digley Reservoir: Digley Quarry and Digley South.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are public toilets in Holme and the next nearest ones are in Holmfirth. For refreshments there are two pubs at Holmbridge and one at Holm but there ample shops, cafes, take-away, pubs and restaurants in nearby Holmfirth. There are picnic areas at Ramsden Reservoir and at Digley Reservoir Quarry car park.