If the thought of time spent on the outskirts of Halifax might be time wasted, think again. Whilst it might not be the most elegant town in the country, or even the North, the countryside surrounding it is stunning, and largely un-sung. It’s got the lot; history, hills, valleys, rills, rivers and truly wild walks. Then of course there’s Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall and the whole Ted Hughes/Sylvia Plath thing, plus the Brontes just over the hill in Howarth. If none of that convinces you, Old Cragg Hall Barn will. It’s an architect designed (Grand Designs finalist) stylish, contemporary eco-barn with a vast open living space sporting fabulous views, designer furniture and lighting and the sleekest kitchen I’ve seen in a long time.
Three warm, comfortable bedrooms are on the ground floor; the double has a big four poster, bold wallpaper and an uber-contemporary bathroom – my top tip is bag this room if you’re the first to arrive. That said, two twin rooms (both of which transform into doubles at the pull of a zip) are just as stylish and comfy – great for kids and/or grandparents.
However delightful the ground floor is, nothing can prepare you for the wonderment to come. A short flight of stairs brings you to the first floor. The only sound you’ll hear is the thump of your jaw as it hits the floor. Old Cragg Hall Barn's sexy kitchen is at one end and sitting room at the other but the overriding compunction is to walk to the floor to ceiling apex window and gape. It feels as if you’re floating – soaring perhaps, like the abundant birdlife all around you. It’s such a clever conversion, built on a listed, 19th century existing structure. I wonder if Angela and Steve really knew what the final effect would be. Matters not. It need only concern you that it’s a fabulous space to occupy, it can be yours for a weekend or a month, and it’s kind to the planet.
How Much? £520 – £965 a week, short breaks from £405
Kids? No problem
Well Placed? National Trust Hardcastle Craggs and Gibson Mill is a fabulous walk – starts in Hebden Bridge. Haworth and the Brontes are in the next valley; whilst you’re over that way, take a trip on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway steam train. Heptonstall is an stunning, unspoiled, steep cobbled village where the Hughes lived (and Sylvia is buried). Widdop Moor is wild, open moorland teaming with birdlife.
Good Grub? The Shibden Mill Inn is a lovely old spot in the bottom of a lush valley; expect superior pub grub (and it’s a fab place to eat al fresco). The Design House at Dean Clough in Halifax is a stunningly contemporary restaurant, with food to match. El Gato Negro is a short hop, and one of our Top Ten eateries. The Olive Branch in Hebden is fabulous value.
Old Cragg Hall Barn, Cragg Vale, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 5TBTel 01422 885581
Part of Stay West Yorkshire
Review by Mandy, 15 October 2011blog comments powered by Disqus