TRAVEL NORTH - 23: SUMMER WINE COUNTRY, Keep in step with Compo, Clegg and Foggy around Holmfirth's green acres

Welcome to Holmfirth - never mind Norah's mop, she's friendly... really

Compo & Co -  Norah Batty conducting her usual 'sorting out' with her trusty mop . Left-right: Peter Sallis, Bill Owen, Brian Wilde, Kathy Staff at rear.  Peter Sallis more recently did the voice of Wallis, the cheese-loving owner of clever Gromit
Compo & Co - Norah Batty conducting her usual 'sorting out' with her trusty mop . Left-right: Peter Sallis, Bill Owen, Brian Wilde, Kathy Staff at rear. Peter Sallis more recently did the voice of Wallis, the cheese-loving owner of clever Gromit | Source
Holmfirth' s annual Food & Wine Festival -  Dales food: cheeses, meat pies, sausages, bacon, lamb, prime beef and pork roasts, Yorkshire puds...
Holmfirth' s annual Food & Wine Festival - Dales food: cheeses, meat pies, sausages, bacon, lamb, prime beef and pork roasts, Yorkshire puds... | Source
Luv'n'kisses - there, Norah's not so bad after all - is she? Oh no, she's not! Watch that mop when you make your escape.
Luv'n'kisses - there, Norah's not so bad after all - is she? Oh no, she's not! Watch that mop when you make your escape. | Source
Summer Wine playback - on dvd, with Norman Wisdom - see below, link to Amazon for this 2002 series
Summer Wine playback - on dvd, with Norman Wisdom - see below, link to Amazon for this 2002 series | Source

One of the great clowns of his age, Norman Wisdom joined the gang for a while to add a new range to the comic aspect. Roy Clarke's script writing as ever, the Dales scenery around Huddersfield adding to the charm as before

'Recce' the area first, see how the land lies

Central Holmfirth, near Huddersield, West Riding with familiar scenery for those who watched the series - it's back again on the 'Drama' channel (20)
Central Holmfirth, near Huddersield, West Riding with familiar scenery for those who watched the series - it's back again on the 'Drama' channel (20)
Digley Reservoir with its dam and car park - use this as your point of embarkation on a walk of discovery
Digley Reservoir with its dam and car park - use this as your point of embarkation on a walk of discovery
Holme Bridge church - a landmark pointed out by Cleggy when he climbed the tallest tree in the area, only to find he couldn't get down again
Holme Bridge church - a landmark pointed out by Cleggy when he climbed the tallest tree in the area, only to find he couldn't get down again
'Summer Wine' country, Jackson Bridge and one of the pubs our lads were ejected from - much to Foggy's disgust
'Summer Wine' country, Jackson Bridge and one of the pubs our lads were ejected from - much to Foggy's disgust
The 'tops' in Summer Wine country allow views far off in all directions
The 'tops' in Summer Wine country allow views far off in all directions
Back in town again for a rewarding cuppa - Sid's Cafe, site of many an uneven confrontation with Sid's wife Ivy, her weapon of mass destruction was a metal serving tray that she applied liberally when crossed
Back in town again for a rewarding cuppa - Sid's Cafe, site of many an uneven confrontation with Sid's wife Ivy, her weapon of mass destruction was a metal serving tray that she applied liberally when crossed
The Wrinkled Stocking Tearoom in Holmfirth, formerly 'home of Nora and her long-suffering,  husband 'Wally' Batty with his pigeons - spent more time with them than with her (she scared him)
The Wrinkled Stocking Tearoom in Holmfirth, formerly 'home of Nora and her long-suffering, husband 'Wally' Batty with his pigeons - spent more time with them than with her (she scared him)

In their later years, retirement behind them, nothing to do and all day to do it in, that's our trio of characters,

(Precious little to do with fermented grapes, as the favourite tipple is beer - the falling-down-when-you've-had-too-much-of-it stuff - and lots of it. The 'Summer Wine' is more to do with the antics of men in their senior years, who should know better than to court disaster at - nearly - every turn).

This is the background setting for pensioners Bill 'Compo' Simmonite, Norman Clegg and former corporal 'Foggy' Dewhirst, the trio has changed over the years before and since 'Compo' and 'Foggy' bowed out. In the last series the 'crew' numbered more than three, interchangeable but still lovable scamps with bus passes.

What is constant is the scenery you'll witness on your way around this part of the West Riding's part of the Yorkshire Dales.

Leave behind Nora Batty with her menacing mop and hair curlers, and a posse of strong, men-worrying women behind and lose yourself on a brisk walk out from the cafe in the square near the bridge, via a few welcoming public houses (mind you don't get up to any tricks like 'Compo' and Co, or you'll find yourself being thrown out like them)!

Where are you walking? Well, this is part of the southern Pennines, the 'spine' of England. The range is from the Derbyshire Peak District to the Scottish Border country. We're just interested in the 'middle bit' - well, south of middle.

Make your way to the dam on Digley Reservoir, that you see in several episodes of the series, without actually crossing it. Carry on a couple of hundred yards to a leftward bend. Go through the gate and turn left up the steps. Climb to pass between garages or workshops and housing. You come onto pasture here, where you go through a gate and take a half-left course for an open gateway. A stiled path on your right takes you to the right of a farmhouse, and soon you come onto a lane where you cross to a track behind a house. Scale a stone 'step stile' between gates. This leads to a succession of stiles on a walled track. Pass through old gateways (you get a feeling of deja-vu here, with all these gates... Remember Hornsea?) that finishes to the left of some trees above another house. Turn right at the far side and pass close around the woodland ravine to a 'metalled' lane. Turn right, then left on the path by a garden. Pass through a sloping pasture, and when at its foot use the right-hand gate. Drop down to the main road.

This brings you out at the 1 1/4 mile stage. Cross into the minor road and veer left. At another crossroad cross diagonally and pass a terrace of houses into a rough-surfaced car park. At the farthest end cross the footbridge and turn left along the River Holme. You enter pasture again, staying close to its foot past an unused stone stile, and go right, climbing the grassy path to a stile into woodland. Climb through the woodland to steps and a crossing path. Bear right and straight away left up a steep path to the edge of the woodland. Make for a stone farmhouse and pass through its gravelled yard. The drive climbs, follow it and turn left into a lane. At the junction take the left turn down Goose Green. Right at the bottom turn left, signposted for 'Hollowgate', to reach the bridge near Nora Batty's house.

You're now at the 2 1/2 mile stage. Turn right on the A6024 (A635) past the Tourist Information Centre and traffic lights. Turn left up the steep Cooper Lane and at its top end look right for a footpath signposted left off Holt Lane. The path turns very steep and stepped before it reaches a driveway, and soon after, a lane. Turn left and go on on to the walled track past a barn. Hill Lane, as it is here, winds to Upperthong, a community near Holmfirth that hosts the World Welly [rubber] Wellington Boot Wanging Championship every June (you need Wellies to get about in the damper areas of Yorkshire)!

Stay on track for Town Gate and at the end fork left on Broad Lane, descending about 250-300 yards to a rough, unsurfaced lane to the right. Take this to the main road. At 3 3/4 miles now join the lane opposite into and swiftly out of the steep gully. At the 'T'-junction turn right, then left on Hogley Lane. Bear right on this side road and follow through the stile into pasture once more. Another two stiles later stay close to the field top towards some houses. Follow onto the road here, staying on the right on Flush House Lane. At a crossroad take a left turn that will bring you back to the car park at the five mile stage.

The walk by and large follows field paths, farm tracks and byways. The climb from Holmfirth is steep, and incorporates narrow, steep steps. In winter and after heavy rain this walk will turn nightmarish, with many muddy parts.

Getting there by car: Begin at Digley Reservoir above Holmbridge, 2 miles west of Holmfirth. Turn left off the A6024 onto Field End Lane across from Holmbridge Church, drive to - but not over) the dam by way of Bank Top Lane and stop off at Digley Quarry car park, about 300+ yards above the dam. An alternative route brings you from the A635 Greenfield Road, turning down Green Gate Road opposite the Ford Inn and take the road down to the car park.

By public transport: First Bus services connect Holmfirth to Huddersfield and a network of smaller towns and communities. Phone 0113 245 7676, www.wymetro.com

Refreshments: The Wrinkled Stocking Tea Room (this is a reference to Nora Batty's under-supported thick stockings), 30 Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, HD9 2JS, phone 01484 681408. There is also Sid's Cafe at 4a Towngate, Holmfirth, HD9 1HA, www.sidscafe.com. (This was where the 'gang' congregated before being usually thrown out by Ivy for misbehaving in her 'reputable catering establishment' before and after the demise of her husband Sid. Bill Owen, alias 'Compo' supped his tea from the saucer in age-old Yorkshire 'pleb' style and couldn't keep his hands off his neighbour Nora).

Ordnance Survey map: Explorer Map 288, Grid reference SE 109 074

Holmfirth Tourist Information Centre, 49-51 Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth HD9 3JP, phone 01484 222444.

Yorkshire Tourism: www.yorkshire.com

Summer Wine Country

Follow the trail of Compo, Clegg and Foggy around Homfirth's area, Upperthong, Lower Thong (and the watering places they were tossed out of for bad behaviour), latterly also Howard and Marina.

Out'n'about with (former corporal) Foggy Dewhurst, Cleggy and Compo (Brian Wilde - who was also in 'Porridge' with Ronnie Barker -, Peter Sallis and Bill Owen, a veteran of many post-WWII films
Out'n'about with (former corporal) Foggy Dewhurst, Cleggy and Compo (Brian Wilde - who was also in 'Porridge' with Ronnie Barker -, Peter Sallis and Bill Owen, a veteran of many post-WWII films | Source
Holmfirth town and country walk
Holmfirth town and country walk | Source
Road routes from the M1 Motorway to Holmfirth and the West Riding
Road routes from the M1 Motorway to Holmfirth and the West Riding | Source
Location of Holmfirth in Yorkshire in relation to surrounding urban areas
Location of Holmfirth in Yorkshire in relation to surrounding urban areas

The gang changed a bit down the years, Peter Sallis being the one constant. The humour didn't change a great deal though. The script was still written by Roy Clarke, still as sharp as ever with some hilarious scenes. Another constant in the series is the great scenery

I've been this way several times...

I've been this way several times on my way further north, a couple of times with the family, looking around town. Came this way with a friend as well, and stopped off at the Wrinkled Stocking cafe, Norah Batty's house in each of the series until the actress Kathy Staff died. It was used as her successor's house for a series - the former pub landlady Stella, Norah's sister played by Barbara Young.

Holmfirth's a quiet, pleasant town to the south-west of Huddersfield. What it's got going for it is the surrounding countryside. A regular bus service links it to Huddersfield along leafy roads, villages scattered along the way.

Leave the M1 at Junction 35A for the A61, leaving this road for the A616. Carry on through a roundabout with the A628 just beyond Langsett. The A616 narrows after the roundabout. Drive on past Crow Edge, Hepworth and Scholes to New Mill and left into Holmfirth. There's a supermarket car park close to the river where you can leave your car for a couple of hours to explore before driving on - unless you take a room nearby. There is a choice of hostelries - that the lads have been seen to be thrown out of for various misdemeanours - in the area around Holmfirth, at Upperthong, Netherthong and so on, with roads to explore once you've done your walking.

North away from Holmfirth takes you to Huddersfield and a tangle of roads and motorways, Bradford and the West Riding metropolis. West takes you to Oldham and Manchester, east to Barnsley ('Kes' country).

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Comments 17 comments

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 4 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Hi, nice to meet you. I have spent many hours around the region you describe so well. this is a very informative hub and a enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing it. Be over to read more hubs soon as.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Welcome to the fold, DAL. The TRAVEL NORTH series goes further east and north in the - so far - twenty-six - Hubs of this series. Enjoy the journeys!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

What a beautiful place you've got up there, Alan, and so very different from my surroundings....so much history.

If I ever do get a bit of money saved and things heading right, I'm going to tour Europe...and I'll try every wine I run into.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Not much wine here, Wes. Mostly it's beer and spirits. Having said that there's wine-growing in the south of England, but the Pennines are definitely in 'cuppa' country (gallons of tea that the trio drank at Sid's Cafe; in later series the cast was to undergo 'personnel' changes and increase in number)! They were kicked out of several pubs for 'acting weird' and Compo kept being 'batted' on the head with a metal tray by Sid's widow Ivy when he got out of hand. It was mostly improbable but the humour was mercilessly piled on; it's being re-run these days on a commercial channel - unfortunately there was the 'canned' laughter in the background that detracted a bit from the effect, but didn't intrude too much. Having been there myself, it's a great place with lots of scope for long walks.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Beer and long walks are good!!!!!!!!! Canned laughter....very very bad :/


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

What about canned beer and a laugh on a long walk? Problem is back in the days the BBC made good comedy programmes they added the 'canned laughter' just in case viewers missed the point. Typical patronising 'Auntie' (the nickname we have here for the British Bombastic Con-artists we have to pay our TV licenses to, so we can watch any channel we want. No use saying you don't watch BBC programmes, they're insitutional, like Bath chairs at an old people's home)!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Some of the best comedy anywhere and ever is and has always been the comedy out of the U.K.!!!!

Oh I think I'll have a canned beer right now!

Sucks about those TV licenses....I download anything I want to see with peer to peer networks and torrents!!!!!

I shan't pay for video of anything!!!!!!!!!!


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Wes, we can't go on meeting like this... People will talk!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

LOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!! I've no idea what you are talking about - but I like you just the same, Sir!


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

It's an old Music-hall joke (around the same time your entertainment people put on Vaudeville), 'We can't go on.... etc'.

What you say reminds me, we had a cross-dressing comedian here called Dick Emery - married with a string of girlfriends - whose catchphrase (when he was dressed up to look like a tart) was 'You are awful, but I like you!'


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I totally love that!!!!!!!!!!! I love that!!!!!


Dan Barfield profile image

Dan Barfield 3 years ago from Gloucestershire, England, UK

Aahh! This takes me back! Used to love watching this when I was younger. Always reminded me of the Easter holidays I used to take with the family up in the Yorkshire Dales. We used to stay on a working farm and help with the lambing and milking. It was an amazing experience for a young sprog to enjoy. Add to that the stunning Aysgarth falls, the rugged beauty of the landscape in general and the hardy friendly locals... Damnit I miss the place!!


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

It's on at the moment of writing on the Yesterday channel, usually also at weekends. Bill Owen and Kathy Staff have been resurrected again, along with Brian Aldridge and Thora Hird. Priceless. This is during the time Brian Wilde was 'in Bridlington, making and painting seaside souvenirs' (probably doing 'Porridge' again with Ronnie Barker et al).

I've been to Holmfirth a few times and stopped off once at the 'Wrinkled Stocking' tearoom, based in Nora Batty's house. Mind you the Gents at the bus station resembled a porcupine with used needles lying around! Still worth visiting though. We stopped off on our way to Wensleydale a couple of times, by way of 'Uthersfilt' (any guesses?)


Dan Barfield profile image

Dan Barfield 3 years ago from Gloucestershire, England, UK

The Dales are a glorious part of England. There is a reason they call Yorkshire "God's own county". If I suspend my understanding of Blake's irony when he said "did these feet in ancient times walk upon Englands mountains green?" it is the joint image of the Dales and the Cotswolds that spring into my minds eye at those words.

Shame about the bus stop though. My own local bus stop was mown down by a drunk driver not too long ago. Still... the red brick monstrosity was hardly in keeping with the surrounding cotswold stone anyway. Swings and roundabouts...


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Can you believe one of my favourite cheeses - aside from Wensleydale, Swaledale, Cotherstone - is Double Gloucester. Nice in cheese on toast! Wensleydale cheese is OK in cheese on toast, but loses some of its flavour and texture. Just thought I'd fling that in somewhere. Have you read my pieces in this series about travelling west through Bedale and following the A66 west?


Dan Barfield profile image

Dan Barfield 3 years ago from Gloucestershire, England, UK

Not yet - I shall seek them out in due course :)

By the way, I'm moving to Gloucester shortly, and double Gloucester is one of my own faves (though I am mostly a stinky french cheese sort of fellow). Next time I see the cheese-rolling I'll hurl a round of double Gloucester down and be reminded of you :)


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

It's a long way down that hill, mate, and steep with it! I had the idea you had to be superfit for that lark - and expect to be wacked out after it.

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