Gospel choir at St Thomas Church


The 3 valleys gospel choir

Allow us to take you through a journey of soulful heartfelt songs from traditional to pop!

At St Thomas The Apostle Church, Heptonstall, Saturday 19 July at 7.30pm

Tickets £7.50 or £5 concessions. Pay on the door. For more info call Dawn: 01422 843856


The event is to raise funds for Heptonstall Festival . Other planned events include:

A Jazz brunch – a late lazy brunch to ease your way into a relaxing day – Saturday / Sunday in August – exact date tbc.

Pre-festival disco – Heptonstall Bowling Club – Saturday 6 September – from 8pm

Flight Brigade to play at Heptonstall Festival!

If you haven’t already heard, the Heptonstall Festival is returning in 2014 on Saturday 20th September. The organisers are keen to build on the fantastic event of last year and aim to bring you first class live music from the local scene and further afield. The music will kick of in the old church ruin at around midday after the much anticipated parade extravaganza.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be announcing some of the amazing music you’ll be able to enjoy for free at the event this year, and to kick things off, here’s the first announcement:


Flight Brigade.

Flight Brigade to play at Heptonstall Festival 2014

Flight Brigade to play at Heptonstall Festival 2014

With ‘glorious folk-tinged stadium anthems’ (Record of The day), Flight Brigade is the coming together of two families. Ollie Baines (lead singer) grew up in Ohio on a farm before eventually ending up back in the UK in Hampshire, where he first met fellow band member (and also now his wife) Miriam when they were kids. Her sister Dorry plays violin and joins Miriam in harmonies, the girls having been steeped in the 70′s British folk scene, thanks to their musician parents who supported the likes of Paul Simon, John Martyn and toured with Roxy Music.

Having supported Grouplove, Dry The River, Stornoway, King Charles and Seth Lakeman, Flight Brigade also won two live competitions to play main stages at Hop Farm and Blissfields festivals. Alongside live sessions for BBC Radio 2, BBC Introducing, TOMS & Lee Cooper the band’s EP has been played on national radio in Canada (CBC Radio 2) as well as BBC 6 in the UK (Steve Lamacq & Tom Robinson) and Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2). The band were also commissioned to compose the music for an ITV documentary about Syria and Haiti as well as the International World Cup campaign for Unicef. They are currently finishing their debut album, co-produced by Gavin Monaghan (Kings of Leon, The Editors). Recently (June 28th 2014) Flight Brigade’s new single Siren’s was Vimeo Staff Picks gaining over 100000 views in its first week.

These guys are superb musicians, and it’s not just us that think so, check out these reviews:

‘Accomplished and assured, this is real music for people who know quality on the very first listen’ Record of The Day

‘Astonishing’ Janice Long, BBC Radio 2

‘It really really is good…I will definitely be playing them again’ Bob Harris, Radio 2

‘Not sugary sweet or a product of the times, theirs is a rare talent’. God is in the TV

‘With transcendent compositions, they demonstrate a firm grip on the skill of song-writing’ Indie Bands Blog

‘They have a ‘knack for crafting a tune. It is music which manages to feel delicate whilst at the same time still packing a punch…. it immediately demands and holds your attention.’ The Mixtape Shed

‘Full of youth, hope and nostalgia for a time they shouldn’t be able to remember. It’s an infectious mix’. Tom Allen CBC Radio 2 (Canada)

‘It was one of those conversations, talking about music, when someone says, check this lot out, and  you discover something you think is wonderful. They’re coming to play a live session for us on the show’ Janice Long BBC Radio 2

Brilliant’ Phil Jackson, BBC Introducing, The South

‘Graduation Day is the kind of song that, if the world were fair, would achieve ubiquitous status and end up all over everything’ Single Review, Music Reload UK


We literally can’t wait for this!

Check back soon for more festival surprises…

The Alchemy Consort at the Methodist Chapel

A Rare Opportunity!

Your chance to experience this amazing chamber choir from the Royal Northern College of Music as they perform original music from local Heptonstall composer Katie Chatburn, alongside works by Elgar, Arthur Sullivan, Stanford, Monteverdi, Gesualdo and more..

The Alchemy Consort

The Alchemy consort is a close harmony octet which was originally formed to perform in a series of Spotlight concerts at the Royal Northern College of Music. In those early performances they showcased a selection of madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi and Carlo Gesualdo. The group consists of mainly RNCM third year undergraduate vocal students but has recently expanded with members from various years. Since their début  in the Autumn 2012 their list of repertoire has expanded to include not only Madrigals or Renaissance choral works but any work for choir or vocal ensemble spanning from the Medieval to the contemporary. They have recently explored the world of Romantic English choral music as well as experimenting with arrangements by modern groups such as the King’s Singers and the Swingle Singers. Having performed many times at RNCM and taken part in the 40th anniversary ‘RNCM in the City’ concert series with a successful concert at St Ann’s, Deansgate they went on to make their Bridgewater Hall debut in a lunchtime concert. They sang an eclectic programme ranging from their signature Monteverdi madrigals, through Mozart, Elgar and American Spirituals all the way to contemporary pop song arrangements. Most recently they premièred David Liggins’ “My heart is like a singing bird” at Didsbury’s Emanuel Church as well as receiving a master-class from The King Singers’ Alastair Hume.

Sunday 22nd June 1.30pm Heptonstall Methodist Chapel

Tickets cost only £5 and are available from the Heptonstall Post Office and on the door. Money raised will be donated to both the Heptonstall Methodist Church and Heptonstall Festival.

The Alchemy Consort at the Methodist Chapel

The Alchemy Consort Live at the Methodist Chapel


Heptonstall Festival in Pictures

red queen 1Were you caught on camera? Check out the beautiful pictures taken by Rory Prior on Flickr, with more pictures of the procession and children’s events in the ruins by Amy Binns.

All Amy’s pictures are free to download, print and share for personal and non-commercial use.

If you took some pictures of the day, why not add them to the Flickr Heptonstall pool and share them with us all?

procession 1

Heptonstall Festival on Film

If you’re already missing the festival, relive the fun in these videos.

Hebden Bridge Times’ video includes an impressive performance from Heptonstall’s Class Four. Gremlins are preventing us from displaying it here but you can see it on their website. Full coverage will be in next week’s paper.

Traditional dancing from the Hill Millies, complete with scarves and pinnies, can be seen here:

Luke Concannon performs Give It All from his new album in Weavers Square:

And who could forget headliners Nizlopi performing here

A Range of Beautiful Mouth Watering Stalls at Heptonstall Festival

This year at Heptonstall Festival we have an exciting selection of local arts and crafts of all descriptions – felt, clay, vinyl print, steam punk accessories, knitting, wood work and ironmongery.

There will be Alice in Wonderland themed keepsakes from both the blacksmith and clay artists to honour the Wonderful parade.

We have a diverse selection of international food – Thai, French and Italian from local food artisans and good hearty local favourites plus cakes to die for from our very own Mabel and Craggs Cake’s.

For drink why not try the best of local ale with Little Valley and Bridestones breweries wholeheartedly supporting our event with local cider to boot!

Stalls will be across St Thomas church ruins and Weaver’s Square.

There’s just too much to miss!


Heptonstall Festival : Street Closure and Bus Diversion

Heptonstall Festival will be taking place all day on Saturday (21 September).  For reasons of safety (especially child safety), the main village street will be closed between the school carpark and the post office between 9.30am and 6.30pm.  The road will be blocked by marshalled straw bales.

If possible, it would be appreciated if no one drove down the street between these hours, but people with off-street parking will be able to have access except at the time of the children’s parade in the morning.

There should be no access between Townfield Lane/Church Street and Northgate, please.

Buses E. 906 and 517 will be diverted via Lee Wood Road and Draper Lane. Route 591 will not be affected.

The festival organisers apologise for the inconvenience involved, but we hope that all villagers and visitors alike will think the disruption is worth it.

Heptonstall Festival 2013 – Event Details….

Saturday 21 September 2013 - Morning and Lunchtime Events 


Saturday 21 September from 10.30am

Alice, Mad Hatter and Mr Bloom

Heptonstall Festival this year has a major emphasis on children, families and the community.  As the village has emerged from months under the tyranny of heavy vehicles thundering through, September 21 will be a traffic-free day of make believe and fun.

The whole morning and lunchtime will be themed around Alice in Wonderland.  Villagers and visitors alike can join the Queen of Hearts’ barmy army.  It will be time to get lost in Lewis Carroll’s topsy turvy tale of doors too small for keys too big, ‘Drink me’ potions and Bread and Butterflies.  Who do we know who grins like the Cheshire Cat or is as illusive as the White Rabbit?  Which neighbour is as eccentric as the Mad Hatter or as fiery as the Red Queen?  Which children and which parents will be what, and who will the Queen’s Card Guards be?

The barmy army and camp followers will gather at Heptonstall School at 10.30 to be greeted by the Queen of Hearts, (local actress Ursula Holden Gill) and the White Rabbit (Sonia from Canopy Arts) together with the school’s Parent and Friends Association.  The Queen will give her Card Guards a final warming up prior to their long march.  A Mad Hatter (Sydney Roper) will no doubt make a nuisance of himself.

Then, led by the Red Rose New Orleans Band from Preston, the Queen will march her barmy army through the village streets to finish up in the old church ruins.  Once the army enters, the stalls will open, the giant bluebells will be hung and the fun begins.  The Queen and her entourage will hand on the giant teapot and cups to CBeebies’ Mr Bloom, who will open the proceedings and unveil all manner of treats for us all – music, dancing and an awful lot of homemade cakes!  The children will perform the composition they have created during the previous week.

Everyone should come with blankets and baskets filled with goodies for a Mad Hatters Tea Party (which, being in Wonderland, will be at lunchtime!).  The Red Rose band will hand over to Tim O’Connor and Des Horsfall from the musical melting pot of Manchester, who will entertain the tea party and carry us through into the afternoon.

The Heptonstall Wonderland will not have started on 21 September.  For many days before, festival teams will have been working with the children, their families and teachers in both Colden and Heptonstall Schools to make the dreams come true.

In Heptonstall School, the whole curriculum in the week before the festival will have been devoted to music, design and costume making.  In Colden School, this will have happened at drop-in sessions at the after-school club.  A festival arts team of Mimi Faulks, Jo Harris, Chrissy from Hat Therapy and Mel Daniels, the Dramasaurus teacher, will have worked with the children to make all their wonderful Wonderland costumes.  Romily Meredith will have helped with the giant teapot and teacup;  and Sandra McCracken will have assisted the making of giant willow bluebells.

Ursula Holden Gill and Sonia from Canopy Arts will also have helped the children develop the drama and action for the day.  The Card Guards will have been drilled to perfection, and everyone will have warmed up for Wonderland and brushed up on their fun procession poses.  Composer Katie Chatburn will have helped the children compose the music that they would then perform on the day at the Mad Hatters Tea Party.

At Colden School, the festival team will have been joined by Jo Wells and parent Sarah Regan.

Village Bunting

A key part of the festival is the bunting.  Local people have been designing flags for “I Spy with my Little Eye” and creating images of distant views, like Stoodley Pike or Pecket Well, or close up, like a robin, a tree in the garden, members of the family, or Grandpa’s hands.  The flags will debut this year and will continue to grow and decorate local events for years to come.

So, dear reader, have you yet made your bunting.  If not, get to it, or it will be off with your heads!

Saturday 21 September 2013 – Afternoon Events


The afternoon at this year’s Heptonstall festival on Saturday 21 September will be a galaxy of a dozen or more bands performing on two stages, together with a local bawdy drama, magic, storytelling, dancing and much, much more.  The first stage will be in Weavers Square, as it has been in previous years.  But the second stage will be in the old church ruins of St Thomas a Beckett.  The ruins provide a highly atmospheric backdrop for drama and music.  In previous years, a Handel opera was performed there as part of Hebden Bridge Arts Festival and Sheffield University frequently performed Shakespeare plays.  But this is the first such use in the 21st century.  The festival committee is most grateful for the support of the vicar and churchwarden.

Music commences at 11.45 in the old church ruins, during the Mad Hatters Tea Party, with Tim O’Connor and Des Horsfall.  O’Connor is a charismatic performer creating a warm and dynamic atmosphere for the day.  With Irish roots, he grew up musically in the melting pot of Manchester.  His father played ukulele à la George Formby.  His influences include the Beatles, Dylan and Neil Young but he has found his own style.  Prior to Heptonstall he has played in festivals like Celtic Connections in Scotland, Roche sur Foron in France, Zamek in Poland, Oslo Irish and Boston Johnny D’s Club.

On the square, music starts at 12 noon with singer/songwriter Paul Weatherhead.  The exciting and eclectic programme throughout the day includes some nationally famous, some up and coming locals and young bands from the Royal Northern College and Leeds College of Music.

The main headline act, playing in the old church ruins at 5.55, is Nizlopi – John Parker (double base and human beatbox) and Luke Concannon (vocals, guitar and bodhrán), whose most successful JCB song reached number one in the UK on its second release. The band is named after an Hungarian girl whom Luke fancied at school. Described by Radio 1 as “Political, intense, angular and beautiful”, they play joyful stories, from heart cracked open love songs to their people power invocation ‘England Uprise!’.

The other headline act, playing at 5.05, is Taylor Jackson, Manchester born and bred soulstress, whose debut EP ‘Roots’ is available right now!  For over 10 years she has been writing, producing, recording and performing music with fellow artists and musicians. Her first solo project draws from her own experience, her love of soul music, and her degree in classical composition to produce something truly inspirational.

James Christy is a Pop Rock singer/songwriter from the north of England. After the success of James’s debut album “Man Made of Glass” James has moved on to bigger and better things. Over the last year James has formed a backing band around himself and they have been performing all over the country and have been recently selected to play on the Atom Live tour in October later this year.

James Paul on the other hand is an experienced, enthusiastic guitarist from Edinburgh and RNCM, looking to develop new ways of playing guitar and inducing new sounds to enhance everyday music, from jazz and hip hop to rock and funk, being as diverse as possible in a session.  Prior to Heptonstall, he has played at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, Queen’s Hall and Traverse Theatre.

Other performers include bluegrass group from the hills of West Yorkshire, Cowbaby, playing Americana and acoustic, Jenni Doyle, Adonis, Bath-based singer/songwriter Ash Tucker, local singer Penny Stansfield,  close harmony singers from RNCM Three of Hearts and Heptonstall’s very own Chris Hancox All Star Experience.  There will also be bands in the White Lion.

Apart from music, there will be magic by the magnificent Alexander Wells, who will also be MC’ing, dance by the Hebden Bridge’s famous Hill Millies and a young Colden Morris group, clowns and a local bawdy drama, “Much Ado about Something” by Geoff Scott, about the exploits of some beer-loving and women chasing local lads. There will be both storytelling and song by Ursula Holden Gill.

Performances will finish at 7pm, in readiness for the candle-lit evening concert with David Owen Lewis, Margaret Bruce and Iyad Sughayer.

Food, Drink and Craft Stalls

There will we a wide feast of beer, wine, tea and food stalls and tents, and craft stalls of all types, on the square, in the churchyard and on Towngate.  The two local breweries, Bridestones and Little Valley, will each have a tent, Bridestones on the Square and Little Valley in the old church ruins.  The two village pubs, the White Lion and the Cross, and Towngate Tearoom will also be open all day, providing solid and liquid refreshment.

Towngate Tearooms, the village deli, will have a stall on the Square and the Proved Pizza Van will also be there.  In the ruins will be both Thai and French food stalls and a tea stall run by the church.  Come Dine with Me star, Heptonstall’s Jan Lymer, will also have a sweetie stall.

On the Square, there will be a vintage clothes tent, Richard Hemmingway’s Ironworks, BEAT (Blackshaw Environmental Action), HELP (Heptonstall Lights and Planting) and Nicola’s knitting stall.  In the old church ruins and the churchyard there will be facepainting, hula hooping, sand art and Andy Bell’s Strange Thing.  While on Towngate, there will be Blackbark Greenwood Working, Caroline’s church stall, Craggs Cakes and Helen Hought.

Something for everyone, Heptonstall’s flowering of cultural and social dynamic will a traffic-free day  -  a day of relief from eight months when the village was a traffic maelstrom while a landslip closed the by-pass.

Saturday 21 September 2013 - Evening Events


Saturday 21 September from 7.30pm

Victoria Sharp (Soprano); David Owen Lewis (Baritone); Margaret Bruce (Keyboard); Iyad Sughayer (Keyboard)

When the bands have stopped playing and the craft stalls packed away their produce, the atmosphere at Heptonstall Festival will change for an all-star candlelit evening concert under canvas in the ruins of the ancient St Thomas a Becket Church.

Very well known to concert-goers in and around the Calder Valley, baritone David Owen Lewis will be singing a programme of romantic arias, Neapolitan love songs and hits from the shows, together with international concert pianist, Margaret Bruce.

David Owen-Lewis was born in the Swansea Valley. He started singing at an early age and has never stopped. He studied at the National Welsh College of Music and Drama and his life has been one long adventure in music ever since. Having started his career at the end-of-the-pier and then being a member of Opera North for a quarter century, he always found time for oratorio, concerts, music-hall and cabaret, including several years with Pennine Spring Music in Heptonstall. He starred in the Handel opera performed in the old church ruins in 1998.

He now performs regularly with Margaret Bruce in Britain, France and Italy. But equally important to him is his work with Moodswings and Streetwise Opera in Manchester, sharing music with the homeless and people with bi-polar conditions, and also with Mind in Bradford.

Canadian born Margaret Bruce has had an entire repertoire of music written for her by composers as famous as Herbert Howells and Lennox Berkeley. Born on the Pacific Coast, she received a scholarship to Toronto’s Royal Conservatory in her mid teens. At 18 she came to the Royal College of Music in London and her British debut in 1968 was in Winchester Cathedral and Wigmore Hall. With Peter Gellhorn she established Canadians and Classics at St. Johns Smith Square.

She’s played Mozart at the Barbican with the Royal Philharmonic, Liszt in Slovakia, and varied recitals throughout North America and Europe. The Czech composer Tucapsky has written various work for her, including Tara’s Song for her young grand-daughter. Margaret has held many concerts over the years at her home at Walshaw Lodge and has performed at Pennine Spring. She now plays with David Owen Lewis across the UK and Europe.

19 year old Iyad Sughayer is a young virtuoso Jordanian/Palestinian pianist who studied at Chethams School in Manchester and is now at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he has just been runner-up in the International Concerto Competition. Playing since age of five, Iyad is no stranger to the international stage, having performed in the Middle East, Russia, UK and other countries in Europe. As well as a solo pianist, Iyad has played concertos with the European Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Youth Orchestra, Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra, Buxton Chamber Orchestra, Cairo Symphony Orchestra and Amman Symphony Orchestra. He has also been awarded 1st prizes in the Chetham’s Concerto Competition and the Chetham’s Beethoven Competition.

He is performing extensively particularly in the UK, his native Jordan and recently at the Madinat Jumeirah Theatre in Dubai and the Mashrek International School in Amman (under the patronage of HRH Princess Rym Ali). He has made a number of recent live recordings of Mozart (Adagio in B Minor and Piano Concerto no 18) and Chopin (Nocturne No 1). He played stunningly at this year’s Pennine Spring Music in Heptonstall, where he was the star of the week.

Victoria Sharp is a leading soprano with the Opera North chorus, of which she has been a member for 25 years. She is currently performing nationwide as the Lady in Waiting in Verdi’s Macbeth, as Ninetta in Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges and in Britten’s Peter Grimes. Her past roles for Opera North have included Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Despina (Cosi Fan Tutti) and Fasquita (Carmen). She has given a renowned performance of Turandot in which she will sing the title role.

She is a performer much in demand for her oratorio and musical singing around the UK and abroad. She has recent given what was described as a blazing performance at an opera gala of classics in Ilkley, singing Puccini, Lehar, Paganini and Heuberger. She is giving a Christmas performance of Mozart at The Mansion in Leeds.

Vicky has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, the Cheltenham Festival, the Royal Albert Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. And, of course, she has starred many times with Opera North colleagues at Pennine Spring in Heptonstall.

Mr Bloom at Festival

Bloom_Hands on hips2Heptonstall’s own celebrity gardener and entertainer Mr Bloom will be welcoming children to the Festival on September 21.

Mister Bloom open the festivities in the church ruin around midday, fresh from his very successful tour of the country which saw thousands of families flock to see his very special stage show “When Julian lost his wiggle..”

Played by local resident Ben Faulkes, Mister Bloom’s nursery was the first Cbeebies programme to come out of BBC North and shows no sign of losing its popularity.

Now is your chance to meet the man himself as he appears live on stage at Heptonstall Festival.


Who are Nizlopi?

Nizlopi“Political, intense, angular, and beautiful” according to Colin Murray, BBC Radio 1.

“The real thing” according to the Guardian.

But who are our Festival headliners?

Festival organiser Matt explains what Heptonstall can expect:

“They are John Parker and Luke Concannon, a duo whom when you close your eyes, sound like a four piece, folk hip-hop band, on Devine fire.

“They are most widely known, for being the underground, independent act, that topped the UK and Irish charts with ‘The JCB song’ in 2005. However they offer far more than this one song, having recorded two albums and four EP’s, this soulful, passionate, and articulate pair, go for broke with their writing and playing.

“It is skilled, sonorous, Double bass beat box, acoustic roots rap and they have long had a fierce reputation for inspiring, moving live shows.

Having been doing their own things for the past 4 years, they have come back together to enjoy playing for folk this Summer and Autumn with some new songs, including Material from Luke’s new album ‘Give It all’.

“They play, joyful, honest, atavistic heavenly folk stories; from heart cracked open Love songs, to their people power invocation ‘England Uprise!’ John Martyn and Danny Thompson, meet The Roots, meet Ani Di Franco.”

Donations still welcome

Heptonstall Festival organisers hope local people will continue to support fundraising for next month’s festival.
Jan Lymer said they planned to distribute one more flyer, together with donation envelopes, in early September.
In the meantime, pink collecting boxes have been placed in both pubs, Towngate tea rooms and the post office.
She said: ‘Cheques should be made out to Heptonstall Festival. If anyone wants to donate now, they can give them to Tony in the post office.’

Fell Race Report

Heptonstall Festival Fell Race turned into a fabulous battle between a string of worthy contenders with the ladies’ race being one by the village’s own Holly Page. 

On a perfect summer’s day, it was hard to imagine a better venue for a short fell race with freshly mown fields, glorious azure skies, breathtaking views and the faint sound of a German oompah-band in the background. 

Organiser Stephen Grimley said: “We raised around £400 for the Festival (through the race) whilst Jan raised a further £300 through catering.

“Big thanks to the 30 marshals (mostly from the village), we hope they enjoyed their free pints. A massive thanks to Lynn at The White Lion for hosting the HQ and providing all the prizes, and to Anthony Holt for letting us use his field for parking/ race route.

“Hazel Noble and Penny and Mark Wharton also kindly allowed the race to pass through their fields. We were really grateful to the Methodist Church for the use of benches and tables for the post race party in Weaver’s Square, and to the residents in the square for putting up with the all the commotion. Mark Wigg and Mark Holman gave up a huge amount of there time helping us to set up and organise the race. And how could forget Alan Nethercott dressing up in Lederhosen to srat the race – Wunderbar! What a community! Well done everyone!”

The six mile race, with 1647 ft of climb and very hot conditions, made it a lung-busting test of stamina and resolve.

The descent into Midgehole, past the Blue Pig, is followed by a gruelling climb from the valley.

Tod Harriers’ Nick Barber crested Pecket Well road crossing in the lead with Wharfedale’s Dave Kirkham and Mark Sennett hot on his heels. 

Calder Valley’s Joe Washington – fresh from his maiden victory on Wednesday at Cragg Vale – and new boy Jonny Helliwell were close up.

In the absence of some of Calder’s bigger names, veteran Mark Goldie reached High Brown Knoll trig point in sixth  and the scene was set for a rip-roaring return to Heptonstall. 

As the group rattled past Little Stoodley and back down into Midgehole, Kirkham had nipped ahead of the rapidly fading Barber, with Washington and Helliwell pushing hard to stay in contention. 

Back past the Blue Pig again, the final, withering climb back up to the finish line bore its teeth.

Step forward Helliwell,  who crushed the leading pack with a masterful ascent and powered to the finish line to claim his maiden victory.

Kirkham and Sennet took second and third while Barber somehow hauled himself over the line in fourth place, only to collapse with exhaustion, requiring the local ambulance to navigate the tricky streets.

 Helliwell, Goldie and Washington helped Calder Valley claim the men’s prize. 

In the ladies’ race, local lass Holly Page secured a comfortable victory and 15th place overall, and helped Calder to the ladies team prize along with Jackie Scarfe and new girl Sarah Tait. 

Post-race fun was provided in the main square with fine German lager, frankfurters and bratwurst, and delicious strudel. 

Heptonstall Festival Fell Race 2013



Heptonstall Festival Fell Race takes place on Saturday as local runners take on a Germanic theme to raise funds for the village festival despite the on going closure of Lee Wood Road. Heptonstall Hurrier’s decided that with sufficient planning the challenging Category A Fell Race could be staged on its usual July date, with minimal impact on traffic flows.

The 6 mile, 1500 feet ascent, Heptonstall Festival Fell Race would normally take place as part the annual village festival traditionally held in early July, however the Village Festival has now been moved to September 21st. Festival organisers hope that the work on Lee Wood Road may be nearing completion by the autumn, allowing queues of frustrated motorists to make way for a parade, bunting, street entertainers, stalls, and caterers on Heptonstall’s famous cobbles. Heptonstall Hurriers were unable to alter their fell race date as the event has now become a popular fixture in the national fell running calendar, but the race organisers were still keen to do all they could to support the festival.

It was decided that the 2013 Heptonstall Festival Fell Race would take place on its normal date, as an early summer fund raiser for the autumn village festival, helping to cover the cost of bands, artists, and parade costumes as the September event promises to be village’s biggest and best ever festival. This Saturday’s race will not be short on festival spirit, however. Heptonstall’s TV celebratory chef Jan Lymer is all set to host an outdoor feast of German cuisine, including Frankfurters, Sauerkraut, and Strudel. Jan, who is due to appear on “Come Dine With Me” in the autumn, was once a chef in Germany. In scenes more reminiscent of Heidelberg than Heptonstall, rows of tables and benches will fill Weaver’s Square, allowing weary fell runners fill-up on Teutonic delicacies (£3.50 a head – all funds to the village festival). Non alcoholic drinks will be served in the square, whilst the White Lion will have Austrian beers on draft to add to the Germanic theme.

If the German beer-fest format proves popular there is even talk of making the Heptonstall Festival Fell Race an international event in 2014. Organisers would like to invite German runners from the twin town of Warstein, famed for its beer production, along with hordes of continental athletes heading to Hebden Bridge for the Tour de France which will cross the Heptonstall route the day after 2014 race. To avoid clashing with the first day of the tour the race may be held on the Saturday evening, kicking off what should be a memorable pre tour party in the village the square.

Heptonstall Festival Race Organiser Steve Grimley said, “ It would have been a great shame to have cancelled the 2013 race. The local community have put in so much effort into making the Festival Fell Race an important fund raiser for Heptonstall Festival. We have been working closely with the local Highways Department, and we are confident that the issues caused by the ongoing closure of Lee Wood Road will be overcome”, Highways officials will be setting up diversions for race-goers, ensuring race traffic avoids the narrow, cobbled, village streets, which are currently clogged with drivers by-passing the road closure at Lee Wood Road. Race goers will be encouraged to travel to Heptonstall via Mytholm Steeps and Blackshawhead. Parking will be provided in the usual fields at the top of the village if weather permits; should the parking field be out of use, runners will be directed to parking spaces on the roads around Draper Corner and Slack.

The diversions will allow the 6 mile fell race route to remain unchanged, particularly the classic cobbled start, where runners will line up before being treated to the best of the local landscape as the race follows its unusual double-descent format, featuring a 500 foot descent to the Blue Pig, followed by a 1000 foot ascent to High Brown Knoll, where runners turn tail and head back to the Heptonstall the way they came, enjoying the exhilarating 1000 foot descent back to the Blue Pig, before the torturous 500 feet of ascent to the finish line.

The race is sure to attract top runners from across the region whilst inspiring locals new to fell running, to experience the exhilaration of racing over the magnificent hills of the upper Calder Valley. Beginners will find the route easy to follow, fully flagged, and well marshaled. Seasoned fell runners will enjoy the 1500 feet of climbs and descents over a wide variety of terrain as well as the tough competition provided by the expected gathering of elite competitors.

Rumour has it that Heptonstall based winner of last year’s ladies race, Calder Valley’s Holly Page, will be back from France this week hoping to defend her 2012 title, and in doing so, potentially break the lady’s course record of 55.42 set by Holmfirth Harriers’ Katie Walshaw in 2011. A host of Calder Valley’s fastest men will be aiming to take advantage of the firm ground and fine weather to beat the men’s best ever time of 52.09 achieved by Bingley’s Chris Smale at last year’s race.

Runners can register from 9.00 at the White Lion Pub (£4, minimum age 16), race starts at 11.00; followed by prize giving and German themed refreshments at 12.30 in Weaver’s Square. Full details at www.heptonstallfestivalrace.wordpress.com

Calling all residents of Heptonstall, Slack, Colden, Blackshaw Head and surrounding areas!

The ‘I spy with my little eye…’ Community Bunting Project needs you!

The idea is to create an ever growing set of bunting flags, which can be treasured by the community for many years to come. It can be brought out to decorate community events and could even be exhibited if we want. Each individual flag should be created and designed by a different household/family/individual.

The design should be inspired by the theme of ‘our villages and the views all around us – near or far’. This can be interpreted however you like – be it of a monument like Stoodley Pike or Heptonstall Church; or something more personal to you such as your washing blowing in the wind, your guitar, your favourite tree or your dog!

Expect to see the first display of the flags at the Heptonstall Festival on Saturday 21st September 2013. The next event that we plan to have the flags displayed at is when the Tour de France cycles its way through Hebden Bridge on Sunday 6 July 2014. There is another local group who are aiming to line Cragg Road – the longest steady incline of any road in England – with bunting flags to celebrate Hebden and the surrounding area. Let’s add our bunting to this event too. Any other ideas for upcoming events please let us know.

How to get involved…

Perhaps this project has been passed to you by a friend and you already have the flag template, but if not, the templates are on display on the notice boards at the following places: Heptonstall Post office, Heptonstall School, Colden School and May’s Farm Shop. The template is just a paper template, made from an A4 piece of paper, to show you the correct size of the triangular bunting flag. Draft your own copy of the template and do one to pass on to a friend too. Once you have your template, find your own fabric, new or reused and cut out your flag. Cut two, if you’re doing both sides.

On the front – do your design inspired by the theme of ‘our villages and the views all around us – near or far’ – using whatever fabrics you like and by whatever means – be it sticking, hand stitching, machine stitch, patchwork, knitting or appliqué. Anything goes!

On the back – put letters to describe the view you’ve chosen e.g. SP for Stoodley Pike, HC for Heptonstall Church, T for Tree, B for Bluebells etc. This is so that children can play an ‘I Spy’ game with the flags when they are displayed.

Once you have completed both sides, return the flags to the friend who passed this project onto you or Heptonstall Post Office, Colden School Office or Heptonstall School Office. Make sure you include the following information on a piece of paper – your name, which village you live in, the date and a description of your flag and any other comments about how special this ‘view’ is to you. These bits of paper will be kept and made into a scrapbook for the project.

Thanks so much for taking part, please spread the word and pass this on to your friends! Any questions please contact anothercuriousidea@gmail.com or zeitgeisthair@gmail.com.

Heptonstall Festival 2013 – Saturday 21 September

Heptonstall-Festival-A4-PosA Community Festival for Everyone

  • A programme in locals schools (16 – 20 September)
  • Alice in Wonderland and Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
  • Bands in Marquee in the Square all afternoon
  • Showcase for Student Bands
  • Craft Stalls
  • Food and Beer Tents
  • Hand Made Parade
  • Plays
  • Clowns
  • Magic
  • Candlelit Evening Concert

The Festival can only happen with strong financial support from the Community – Please give generously.

Cheques should be made out to Heptonstall Festival.
There are pink collecting boxes in both pubs, Towngate Tea Rooms and the Post Office.

Click on the image to download the poster and help publicise this event.

Heptonstall Festival

A new date has been set for the Heptonstall Festival, which has moved from its regular July slot to Saturday, September 21.

This is partly due to the problems with the road around the village. Organisers hoped that Lee Wood Road would be open by the time of the festival, so that the road through the village could be closed to traffic as it was for last year’s very successful event.

However, it now looks likely that Lee Wood Road may be closed for many months, so organisers have decided to go ahead with the festival even if traffic is still using the main road through the village.

It is hoped that artists from the Handmade Parade will work with children from Heptonstall School to create artwork which will be carried through the village and displayed in the old church.

Heptonstall Festival Fell Race – The Story


8 Heptonstall Hurriers lined up in a field of 113 for the second running of Heptonstall Festival Fell Race. The race was organised by local runners to support the village festival and other local causes. Over 30 residents helped marshal and organise the event; their kind and enthusiastic involvement generated widespread praise for the race, with many runners commenting on the excellent organisation, and warm spirited atmosphere of the village.

Heptonstall’s Holly Page provided a popular local success at the challenging Category fell A race, which went ahead in spite of late fears that race would have to be cancelled due to poor weather.

Recently returned Durham University, Calder Valley Fell Runner and Heptonstall Hurrier Holly was the first female home in a 100-plus field last Saturday. The recently graduated language student has won a series of races in recent weeks, and was 15th overall delighting of the crowd, with her impressive time of 59 minutes 29 seconds. As first Heptonstall resident Holly also won a meal for two kindly donated by the HANUMAN THAI RESTAURANT in Todmorden. A new course record was registered in the men’s race, won by Bingley Harriers’ Christopher Smale, in 52 minutes and nine seconds.

The fact that the race went ahead at all was testament to the hard work of the race organisers and the co-operation and generosity of local landowners Anthony Holt, Hazel Noble, Tony Ingram, and David Lumb .Heavy rain throughout June had meant that the fields used for the final stages of the race and the all important finishing tunnel had not been mown. Further torrential rain on Friday added to the problems.

Organiser Steve Grimley enlisted an antique agricultural grass cutter from local resident Mark Wigg to create a 1km track through the waist high grass on Friday evening, having agreed with landowners that the runners would keep to the track to protect the rest of the field.

Steve was full of praise for all those who helped, “The runners put out an appeal to the village when we realised the race was at threat: Mark Wigg, a local cabinet maker has a workshop full of antique tools and machinery and volunteered his services, together a vintage 1948 Allen Motor Scythe. Mark and a team of runners then spent the evening and early morning before the race working in the fields in a last minute bid to save the race. We are really grateful to Mark and the landowners for their fantastic support in allowing the event to go ahead”. Plans to safely park around 100 cars on nearby roads outside the village were also put in place with the usual field for parking out of use, Kevin Core and Hamish Heald organised a team of volunteers to direct traffic and control parking.

As novel feature to the event a Traction Engine was paid for by the fell race with all funds going the Cystic Fibrosis charity. “Ciffy”will be returning each year to start the race; the six-mile contest was started by a sharp blast from Ciffy’s whistle as representatives of keen local rivals Todmorden Harriers and Calder Valley Fell Runners were joined by runners from across the region and further afield to steam up Town Gate and Smithwell Lane on the the first leg of the route. The race helped Ciffy raise £200 for Cystic Fibrosis, as well a sizable surplus to help fund future races, festivals and community events.

The race itself was hotly contested in sweltering conditions, as the top runners set a sizzling pace up Smithwell Lane’s cobbles before heading across the fields behind the school, crossing Draper Lane, then descending 500 feet on a footpath to the Blue Pig. This steep and muddy trail can be a white knuckle descent at the best of times but the recent rain made it particularly challenging. After a brief respite at Midge Hole, runners were taken on the 1000 feet ascent past the Pecket Well War Memorial and on to High Brown Knoll.

Competitors were treated to an amazingly hot day, although the moorland remained resolutely waterlogged. After rough and boggy loop around the moor, runners turned tail and headed back to Heptonstall, retracing their steps past the Memorial and ultimately up the final energy sapping climb from the Blue Pig to Lee Bank.

The race took a dramatic turn in the last few hundred yards; Alex Whittem of CVFR had a clear lead for 5 and half miles, but then took a wrong turn on the re ascent from the Blue Pig, on the final half mile, too eventually finish 7th; Chris Smale of Bingley Harriers took advantage of this error to seize prize and was also the first over 40s runner while Peter Hughes (over 50s, 60:23), Jeff Hignett (over 60s, 61:44) and Bryan Pycroft (over 70s, 100:02) took the other male veterans prizes.The women’s veterans prizes went to Jackie Scarfe (over 40s, 71:12) and Aileen Baldwin (over 50s and over 60s, 71:47).

Calder Valley took the men’s team prize through Andy Thorpe (second), Alex Whittem (seventh) and Romain Pierrel (11th overall) and made it a double through Page, Jackie Scarfe (third) and Louise Marix-Evans (seventh).

The prize winners all received bottles of Copper Dragon beer and Smale and Page also received cut glass trophies at the prize giving outside the White Lion pub.

Organisers were delighted with the record turnout and the fantastic feedback from visiting runners which was almost entirely due to the amazing contribution made by so many volunteers.The ever increasing popularity of the race was boosted by the eye catching posters designed by Heptonstall based freelance graphic designer Graeme Brown, and web site (www.heptonstallfestivalrace.org.uk) built by local IT guy Peter Fitzpatrick.

Many others played significant roles; land owner permissions were negotiated by Tim Brooks, including the race finish field owned by Heptonstall Hurriers Mark Wharton; Mark was unable to run the race as he and Penny were in Turkey as 15 year old son Max was representing Great Britain at the European Mountain Running Championships. Fortunately Mark Holman was on hand to manage the finish area (and various horses, bees, ducks, and hens!).

The White Lion played a key role in the event, organising sponsorship from Copper Dragon Brewery whilst acting as race HQ for the day, where Heptonstall Hurriers Chris Sygle, Louise Marix Evans, Kate Wood, Nick L’Anson, Paul Cotton ran the complexities of registration and timing of the race; out on the hills Chris Cavey and Charlie Boyce organised a host of other volunteers to marshall the route including Dawn France, Jenny Holt, Edward Kloet, David Dunn, Trevor Smith, Sue Stirling, Bod and Mandy Doyle, Simon Bourne, Simon Chantler, Ross Coon, Andy and Mel Liles, Jayne and Harry Greenwood, Alex and Will Gilbert, Caz Merrick, Anthony, and Calder Valley Fell Runner Toby Cotterill, Garry Traviss, and James Mosely; The organiser’s parents John and Pat Grimley even made special trip from Cheshire to manage the road crossing at Pecket Well Mill. Soon to be resident Joe Daniels worked with Kate Mansell to help contact running clubs and prepare press releases to promote the race.

Race Organiser Steve Grimley paid tribute to all those involved “Without the generous support of so many friends, family members, neighbours, and businesses there is no way an event like this could be staged; it was fantastic to see everyone working together and getting to know one another in a way which impressed so many visitors to the village – I do hope everyone enjoyed themselves and will help us stage more great events in the future”.

LOCAL RESULTS – full results www.heptonstallfestivalrace.org.uk

Calder Valley positions: 2, Andy Thorpe 52:43; 7, Alex Whittem 54:51; 11, Romain Pierrel 57:32; 14, Roy Dobson 59:13; 15, Holly Page (also 1st Hurrier) 59:29; 16, James Williams 59:57; 21, Graham Hill 60:59; 28, Phil Scarf 64:07; 31, Ben Frechette 64:20; 40, Richard Sunderland 67:15; 41, Steve Grimley (also Hurrier) 67:45; 42, Tim Brooks (also Hurrier) 68:12; 49, Charlie Boyce (also Hurrier) 69:32; 51, Martin Whitehead 69:48; 57, Jackie Scarf 71:12; 60, Dave Culpan 71:52; 62, Paul Taylor 72:24; 63, Graham Lloyd 72:47; 67, Andy Thorpe 74:49; 71, Blair Garrett 74:58; 72, Louise Marix Evans(also Hurrier) 75:02; 75, Gillian Wisbey 76:22; 105, Toby Sydes 88:03.

Todmorden Harriers: 5, Andrew Wrench 54:03; 23, Dave Collins 61:20; 32, Joe Daniels (also Hurrier) 64:33; 34, Clive Greatorex 64:59; 56, Garry Ouested 71:09; 65, Kath Brierley 72:59; 85, Paul Cruthers (also Hurrier)78:37; 109, Reg Czudek 98:18.

Photos of the race can be seen by following links below…..


http://www.woodentops.org.uk/index.php?topic=home&subtopic=photos&gallery=1207heptdw&title=Heptonstall, 2012&photographer=Dave Woodhead

http://www.woodentops.org.uk/index.php?topic=home&subtopic=photos&gallery=1207heptew&title=Heptonstall, 2012&photographer=Eileen Woodhead



Come and support Heptonstall’s short summer race!

Excitement around the village as the Heptonstall Hurriers prepare to stage its second major fell running event of 2012t on Saturday 7th July. Following the success of the epic 15 mile Heptonstall Fell Race in March the local runners were asked to organise a new short, fun, fell race for Heptonstall Festival.

Heptonstall Festival Fell Race will kick off a day of family fun including live music, local food, and children’s entertainment.

The 6 mile course should be an instant hit with fell runners, featuring some of the best scenery in the area on little known paths and rights of way; The unusual double-descent format starts at the White Lion Pub with a quick run up the cobbles, followed by a 500 ft descent to the Blue Pig. After the 1000 ft ascent to High Brown Knoll runners turn tail and head back to the Heptonstall the way they came.

Set against the iconic backdrop of Hardcastle Craggs, Heptonstall, and Stoodley Pike, Peckett Well War Memorial is a real highlight. As the race progresses from Peckett Well to the summit of High Brown Knoll runners will be clearly visible from Heptonstall. Standing at 1453 feet, and 120 feet higher than Stoodley Pike, High Brown Knoll and its moorland flanks provide classic fell running, whilst offering festival-goers with binoculars the unique opportunity to monitor the race from the comfort of the finishing field in Town Field Lane. (weather permitting!). The return ascent to Heptonstall should be a real test of runner’s endurance on the final, and steepest climb from Midgehole to Lee Bank.

The race will swell the crowds at the Heptonstall Village Festival, as runners from across the region are expected to join locals on the start line. Race Organisers hope the race will be a community event, inspiring local runners, new to fell running, to experience the exhilaration of racing over hills. Beginners will find the route easy to follow, fully flagged, and well marshalled, whilst seasoned fell runners will enjoy the 1500 feet of climbs and descents over wide variety of terrain.

Runners can register from 9.00, race starts at 11.00; followed by prize giving at 12.45 in White Lion Pub. Village gala, food stalls, music, and beer kick off at 12.00. Full details and map; http://www.heptonstallfestivalrace.org.uk/

Anyone interested in helping out with marshalling duties (easy and fun) please call Stephen Grimley on 07710015560 / email stephen.grimley@royalmail.com mailto:stephen.grimley@royalmail.com