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Hardcastle Crags history

Hardcastle Crags is a natural beauty spot of the South Pennines with more than 160 hectares (400 acres) of unspoilt woodland,which means there’s plenty of space and terrain for walking, running, orienteering, geocaching or beautiful spots to simply rest and take in the view.

This ancient semi-natural woodland is a mixture of native broadleaf trees (including oak, birch and alder) and planted areas of beech and pine. A rich variety of plant life can also be seen, with species such as great woodrush, bilberry, bluebell, wood sorrel and climbing corydalis.

As well as being the home of the northern hairy wood ant, there are tumbling streams, glorious waterfalls and stacks of millstone grit, all crisscrossed by more than 15 miles (24km) of footpaths.

At its heart is Gibson Mill, a family-oriented visitor centre, telling the history of the valley over the past 200 years, with interactive displays, dressing up, dancing and exhibitions. People have lived, worked and played in this surprising location for over 200 years.Discover how a 19th-century cotton mill evolved into a 20th-century popular entertainment venue and finally became the 21st-century example of sustainability you can visit today

Having no link to the national grid, the mill is unique in the UK and is the Trust’s flagship sustainable building.

For many years, Hardcastle Crags hosted a Sculpture Trail which was very popular with visitors but sadly couldn’t continue as funding came to an end.The landscape at Hardcastle Crags is inspirational  to artists and writers, past and present, in recognition of this we are trying to introduce new and exciting arts opportunities. Working with such a renowned artist as Ashley Jackson gives us a wonderful opportunity to do this, particularly with the focus on young people as it is a safe and popular place  for families to visit.