Blackshaw Head Chapel Anniversary

DSC_1384Blackshaw Head Methodist Chapel celebrated their 200th anniversary with a family service led by lay preacher Roger Munday, who outlined the history of the chapel as well as leading worship. There were performances from the children of the Sunday School, including a poem written by Gwen Hughes. A display of pictures and memorabilia included many memories of the building and residents, and also explained how close the chapel had come to closing in the 1980s, saved only by the generosity of local people.

DSC_1394Several other activities are planned for the remainder of the anniversary year, including a recreation of a historic group photograph by local people, and a concert.

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Picnic at Slack Top


Picnic flyer-page-0A family picnic is to be held on Popples Common to help find out local people’s views on the future of the Slack Baptist Chapel. The Big Picnic will take place from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday, 12 July. Bring your own food and blanket,  find out more about ideas for the future of the building, and share your own thoughts.

The chapel was sold by the Baptists several years ago and is currently owned by an evangelical Christian group, however services have had to be moved because of problems renovating the building. Suggestions to use it as a halfway house for those recovering from drug abuse were dropped after objections from local residents. Could the chapel become a community centre, or could there be other uses for the building? All are welcome to this picnic to talk and find out more.

Artist Update: Frolicked

Make sure your children are in Weaver’s Square in time for what promises to be the best entertainment at the festival this year.

Frolicked is an outdoor puppet theatre company. They create intimate and magical experiences for all kinds of unusual spaces and places. Their engaging, interactive performances include a host of memorable and beautifully designed puppet characters.

Don’t miss it!


Blackshaw Head chapel anniversary

blackshaw2The 200th anniversary of Blackshaw Head Methodist Chapel will be celebrated on Sunday 14 June, and all are welcome to attend.

There will be an informal service at 4.30pm for all the family, followed by refreshments and a chance to look at a display of old photographs.

The chapel was originally built on the site of a bull baiting ring, and is in a classic Georgian style. A Sunday School wing was added in 1838, and within five years had 240 scholars and 66 teachers. It is still well used by community groups.

For more information, RSVP Roger on 01422 844214, or email or visit

Children wanted for cash

Call out for help with stalls! 

Older children are wanted to help out manning the stalls at the children’s events at the Bowling Club.

Youngsters earn £10 for 6 hours work on festival day plus a sweetie bag, or alternatively £1 a hour if you can’t spare all day!  Please contact Beth Hardman for more information: 07796 265027.

What’s on for kids

Lots of exciting things are happening on festival day Saturday July 4 for children as part of the Children’s Programme of events down at the Bowling Club.

There will be story telling with the ever-popular Ursula Holden Gill, and many summer fair type activities including Splat the rat, Teddy Tombola and guess the number of sweets in the jar, and test your strength. Why not try your luck at target practice – water bombing Nigel Farage, Ed Miliband and David Cameron!

There will also be woodland workshops and a bouncy castle, a pop up photo booth and lots of lovely food, drinks and cake, including a candy floss machine!

Sponsored Walk Memories

A sponsored walk and tea will be held on Saturday, 6 June 2015, starting at 1.15pm. The annual Heptonstall Methodists walk finishes with a tea at the Sunday School.


The walkers’ reward

This year, the walk falls on the same day as the first sponsored walk, so we would like to invite anyone with pictures or memories of the walks to share them at a display and on our website. If you have any pictures, please get in touch with Amy Binns at

Heptonstall Pace Egg video

This year’s Pace Egg play was a rip-roaring success as usual, this year captured on film by videographer and local resident Paul Cooke. As well as excerpts from the show, you can also hear St George, Hector and the rest of the motley crew try and explain what it’s all about, while the Doctor, played by Dave Burnop, tells us how the play was revived for the village:


Pace Egg Heptonstall 3 April 2015 from Paul Cooke on Vimeo.

Lumb Bank open to the public

Ted Hughes’ former home at Lumb Bank will be open to the public as part of the national Fun Palace day on Saturday, 4 October.

There will be a range of activities for all ages, including an interactive writing treasure trail, lantern-making, drop-in art and nature workshops, music, tea and homemade cake, tours of the house including the chance to meet Arvon writing tutors, an open mic reading and a fire garden finale. Entry is free.

The idea of a Fun Palace was conceived in the late 1950s by radical theatre director Joan Littlewood as a laboratory of fun, combining populist and high culture, art and science. Despite years of development, no Fun Palaces were ever built. But they didn’t stop being a great idea, as writer Stella Duffy realised when she began encouraging venues across the UK to become pop-up Fun Palaces to celebrate the centenary of Littlewood’s birth.

Already 100 Fun Palaces are on the map, from the RSC to the Southbank Centre and the People’s History Museum in Manchester, spreading the ethos that ‘culture’ is by and for the people – and if it’s not, then it should be


Take a tour of Ted Hughes’ former home
Meet Arvon’s creative writing tutors and the Lumb Bank team
Discover our interactive writing trail around the grounds and meet the writers

Drop into our family friendly artist led workshops

Enjoy the music and try our tea, cake and Lumb Bank lemonade
and more…..

Call in any time from 2pm, with a short film about Lumb Bank and tours starting at 3pm.
2.30pm Hebden Bridge Junior Brass Band
2.30pm – 4.30pm Drop In Workshops
Making A Lantern with Kerith Ogden & Making A Giant Iron Man Comic with Lou Crosby
3.30pm Norden Saxophone Quartet
4.30pm ‘Oh What A Lovely War’ songs by Halifax Thespians
5.30pm Open Mic. Perform your own creative work.
6.30pm Fire Garden Finale and Farewell created by Kerith Ogden Handmade Parade and Walk The Plank.

This is a free event.
Please no cars down the lane.
Call 01422 845718 for more info.

Artist Update: Hebden Bridge Hill Millies

It wouldn’t be the festival without this bunch – so we’re really pleased that they’ll be dancing for us again this year.


The Hebden Bridge Hill Millies are a Women’s Morris Dancing side based in Hebden Bridge, dancing in the Cotswold tradition infused with their own special magic. Accompanied by 4 fantastic fiddlers. They can sometimes be seen in Nora Batty disguise!

Beer Festival

A beer festival will be held in the village on March 28th, 29th, 30th.

Shelley Yirrell, of The Cross Inn, said there would be all sorts of amazing events during the day and evening for both adults and families including: live local music, 40 guest ales, a hog roast, barbeque, fell run and much more.


Film Crews visit for new drama

New crime series “Happy Valley” was being filmed in Heptonstall’s graveyard this week, which included the installation of a “victim’s gravestone”.

Sarah Lancashire stars in the drama by award winning writer Sally Wainwright (Last Tango in Halifax, Scott and Bailey), which is set around Calderdale.

Entertainment Outlook wrote:

Lancashire plays Catherine, a no-nonsense police sergeant who heads up a team of dedicated police officers in a rural valley in Yorkshire. When a staged kidnapping quickly spirals out of control and turns into a much more brutal and vicious series of crimes, Catherine finds herself involved in something significantly bigger than her rank, but unknowingly close to home.

Sarah Lancashire said:

“Happy Valley is a dark, funny, multi-layered thriller revolving around the personal and professional life of Catherine, a dedicated, experienced, hard-working copper. She is also a bereaved mother who looks after her orphaned grandchild. It’s an emotional, complex, challenging role. I’m terrified, exhausted and freezing cold but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Sally Wainwright, executive producer and writer, said: “I’m pleased that we’re filming Happy Valley right in the heart of Calderdale in West Yorkshire. It’s going to be hard work, but on screen it will look stunning”.

Nicola Shindler, executive producer and founder of RED Production Company, adds: “Sally has done it once again, delivering an expertly crafted and brilliantly written drama series that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as Catherine and her team attempt to get to the bottom of a truly shocking crime. We’re delighted to have such a strong line-up of talent to bring the original and gripping scripts to life, in what is sure to be a remarkable piece of television.”

Happy Valley is 6×60 minute series made by RED Production Company for BBC One. It is written and executive produced by BAFTA-winning writer Sally Wainwright, produced by Karen Lewis (Last Tango in Halifax, Exile) and directed by Euros Lyn (Broadchurch, Doctor Who). Executive producers are Nicola Shindler and Sally Wainwright for RED Production Company and Matthew Read for BBC.

Happy Valley has begun filming in the Calder Valley area of Yorkshire and will be broadcast on BBC One in 2014.

New housing and other developments

New housing estates in Heptonstall will be considered as part of Calderdale’s “Land Allocation and Designation Plan”, and the council is urging local residents to make their views known.

The plan will influence all future planning decisions for many years to come, and a series of public workshops are being held. Three major plans for housing estates and several smaller schemes have been submitted for the Heptonstall and Colden area as part of the first stage of the plan.

Plans now on the Calderdale Council website which have been submitted for consideration include:

Land next to Draper Lane, Slack: 187 semi-detached and terraced dwellings (reference CFS-0256) (this is part of the land now being considered for a caravan site).

Land next to Towngate, Heptonstall: 57 semi-detached and terraced houses (reference CFS-0226)

Land next to Lily Hall, Heptonstall Road, 5 to 10 terraced cottages (reference CFS-0303)

Gypsy Flats, Colden Road, Blackshaw Head: up to 90 houses (reference CFS -0181)

The meeting for Hebden Bridge area is on 6th February @  7.00 to 9.00 p.m. – at Hebden Bridge Town Hall

Places are limited, so if you wish to attend, please contact 01422 392206 or email

Full details of these and other smaller plans can be seen by searching from Calderdale’s planning page for site submissions.

Heptonstall Old Church in song

Ted Hughes’ poem “Heptonstall Old Church” has been set to music by acclaimed acoustic folk singer-songwriter Milly Hirst.

You can hear this lovely, haunting track here. Perhaps Heptonstall’s festival committee might like to consider her?’s correspondent is musically illiterate, but this is what alphabetbands has to say about it:

“We’ve spoken before about the divine sounds of Milly Hirst and the bewitchingly delicate songs she sings. Such is the level of elegant beauty that she exudes, it’s worth talking about her some more, especially as she recently released a new song, “Heptonsall Old Church” which is as heavenly and soothing as anything she has done so far.

“Based on the Ted Hughes poem of the same name, “Heptonstall…” is like a countryside walk at dusk. It’s as tranquil and beautiful as dwindling light flickering amongst the woodland while the noise of the city is a distant, forgotten sensation replaced instead with gentle guitar picks, graceful strings and backing vocals (courtesy of Jessica Wilson). Serenity abounds as the majestic sights of rolling fields and farmland unfurls before you, a line of trees on the horizon silhouetted by the faint amber glow of the sunset behind (making the artwork choice particularly apt). A warm fire and steaming mugs of tea or chocolate await but, like when listening to Milly sing, you can’t leave; you must stay and take in the beauty of the view one more time.

“She remains the only person we have ever seen literally silence a room when singing, to hold a man so drunk he can’t stand in raptures as he listens, understandably muted by the mesmerising beauty of the sounds filling the room. Just like everyone else who hears her play then.”

The poem reads:

A great bird landed here.

Its song drew men out of rock,

Living men out of bog and heather

Its song put a light in the valley

And harness on the long moors.

Its song brought a crystal from space

And set it in men’s heads.

Then the bird died.

Its giant bones

Blackened and became a mystery.

The crystal in men’s heads

Blackened and fell to pieces.

The valleys went out

The moorlands broke loose.

Bowling Club events

The Bowling Club is set for a Christmas season full of fun with events from a charity bike ride to a New Year’s bash, as follows:

Sunday, December 22, 12 to 4pm, annual charity bike race, registration noon, first race 12.30pm.

Monday, December 23, club open as usual 7.30pm til late.

Christmas eve, club open 6pm til late.

Christmas day, club open 12 to 2pm.

Boxing Day, open 8pm til late with quiz and bingo.

Sunday, December 29, 1pm til whenever! Games day.

New Year’s Eve, 8pm til next year. Party night with the village’s own Dave Redman.

Saturday, January 4, 10am, Heptonstall Cancer Research Walk. Entry fee £5 including festive snacks and mulled wine. for info, contact Susan Greenwood on 07944 466724 or


Charity walk from Bowling Club

The third Heptonstall 10 mile Cancer Research Charity Walk will take place on Sat. 4th Jan 2014, leaving Heptonstall Bowling Club at 10am.

Entry fee is £5 and includes mulled wine and festive snacks at the start and soup at the end when there will also be a raffle, with a shorter walk which is pushchair friendly for anyone not able to commit to the full route.

For further information please contact Susan Greenwood on 0794 4466724 or by email

New houses next to Bowling Club?

The Parish Council will be considering plans about a community group’s self-build project for the “Co-op field”, directly opposite the Bowling Club car park, at their next meeting on December 9.

Hebden Bridge & Todmorden Community Self Build Housing Community Interest Company (usually known as HATS CIC) are looking for a site suitable for self-building about 20 houses – a mix of 2,3 and 4 bedroom houses according to this article by, which says the houses would be sustainably built to a high standard, with room for gardens and allotments.

They say the houses would be available for modest rents, and would remain the property of the trust so they could never be sold at a profit on the open market.

Roger Greenwood, clerk to the parish council, said: “The council is not aware of any specific intentions in respect of this land – a request for Asset Transfer from Calderdale Council to the Parish Council failed and therefore remains in C/dale ownership. The HATS CIC issue will be considered at a future meeting.”

More information about the Hebden Bridge & Todmorden Community Self Build Housing CIC is available on their website. The following is taken directly from it:

The Hebden Bridge & Todmorden Community Self Build Housing CIC is a community interest company incorporated by volunteers and residents of the Upper Calder Valley concerned over the long term provision of affordable housing within the community. 

The objectives of the project is to deliver a housing development and mechanism for narrowing the differential gap between average housing cost and average wage of young people and families in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, through:                
                – Community Land Trust
– Self Build
– Flagship Development for the Zero Carbon Challenge
– Co-operative Housing

What is a Community Land Trust?
A Community Land Trust is a mechanism for acquiring and holding land for the benefit of a defined locality or community, and operates to capture the value of the land for the community in perpetuity. The formation of a Community Land Trust can deliver affordable housing for local people on modest incomes by taking the land cost out of the total price of a home.

Why Self Build?
Self Build Initiative – by inviting members of the community, in need of an affordable option for family housing, to contribute 15 hours per week of their own labour, to build part or all of their home, up to 25% of the build cost may be represented in terms of sweat equity.

Why Flagship Zero Carbon Development?
Flagship Development for the Zero Carbon Challenge – Construction and designs to flagship zero carbon targets may achieve up to 70% reduction in typical household fuel consumption costs.

What is a Housing Co-operative?
Housing co-operatives are groups of people who collectively own and manage the properties they live in. The premise of housing co-operative is that it will never be sold or flipped for profit so members can choose to remain in the co-op for a long time. This encourages involvement and commitment to the community and allows members to feel secure in their co-op and their neighbourhood.

Our Manchester pantomime star

Heptonstall’s own Ben Faulks is taking the leading role in Manchester Opera House’s Christmas pantomime.

Dick Whittington tells the rags to riches tale of a young man and his cat on an exciting quest for fame and fortune. Featuring all the traditional pantomime ingredients; sensational songs, a live band, magic, dazzling dance routines, magnificent slapstick comedy and bags of audience participation!

Dick WhittingtonStarring alongside Ben as Alice Fitzwarren and her dog will be Ashleigh and Pudsey – last year’s popular winners of Britain’s Got Talent.

Making her panto debut will be West End and television star Jodie Prenger as Fairy Bowbells, Opera House favourite Tam Ryan returns as Idle Jack and panto dame extraordinare Eric Potts plays Sarah the Cook.

The show runs from Friday, 6 December, to Sunday, 5 January. The performance on Thursday 2 January at 1pm will be a relaxed performance.

To book tickets, click here. 

Traidcraft weekend at St Thomas

Forget the crowds and the traffic jams – get your Christmas shopping sorted the way it should be done with beautiful fairly-traded gifts in the inspiring surroundings of St Thomas’ Church, Heptonstall this weekend.

Pull Along GiraffeJudith Parish has once again sourced the best of the Traidcraft range for this annual event, including Christmas cards, clothing, toys, gifts, decorations and food.

Some of the village’s top bakers will be supplying cakes, tea and coffee too. The event runs from 7pm to 9pm on Friday, from 11am to 5pm on Saturday and from noon to 5pm on Sunday.

It’s always a great fundraiser both for the charity and the church, so  stock up with goodies and have a slice of cake, then congratulate yourself on your good deed for the day. .