People and stories at the heart of the British countryside. Ellie Harrison follows in the footsteps of Whiteley Turner with a springtime saunter around Luddenden, Calderdale.
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This is Calderdale in West Yorkshire,
a mix of Pennine moor and mill towns,
craggy hills and wooded vales.
Calderdale sits a few miles west of Halifax.
The bit I'm exploring is round and about the village of Luddenden...
..a little-known area that features prominently in this book,
the rather marvellously titled A Spring-time Saunter.
Published 100 years ago,
it was written by a local chap called Whiteley Turner
and though winter still lingers in this landscape,
I'll be making my own springtime saunter regardless.
So, David, who was this Whiteley Turner?
Well, Whiteley Turner,
he's an ordinary guy who works in a textile mill down in Luddenden
and when he was 12,
he has an accident in the mill
and his arm gets caught in a carding machine
and it rips off the arm, basically. Oh, gosh.
He has to have the rest of it amputated.
He can no longer work in the mill because of that
and it means that he has to do something else.
He goes back to school and then he gets a job taking tea and coffee
round to these isolated farms.
It was on these rounds that the remarkable Turner
started writing newspaper articles about what he saw.
From them came the book.
When Turner made this journey,
there would have been mills all along this valley.
They've long gone, but the power behind them remains...
..not the howling wind,
"Now we command a goodly view of Fly Flatt Reservoir.
"How shallow the water looks.
"So low that little islands of black heath protrude above its surface,
"seemingly making it possible to hop from one another
"to the embankment on the far side." And here it is.
There's not a lot of hopping across it today, though, David.
No, you certainly couldn't hop across it today, could you?
There's far more water in it than when he saw it.
This is Warley Moor Reservoir.
Fly Flatt is the other name for it.
The community of Fly Flatt is behind us
and you can see that in the picture,
all the various farms are on the picture and they've all gone now.
Nothing but heaps of stone.
The coming of the reservoirs changed the landscape
and made the mill owners rich.
They built huge stately piles with this new-found wealth
and there was none grander than Castle Carr,
in its day the finest building in the area,
now no more than a pile of ruins.
David, this place is extraordinary, isn't it?
It's amazing, isn't it? Yes.
It's weird seeing something in such a state of disrepair
compared to its picture in the book, which is, well,
it's indistinguishable, isn't it? Yes.
And all that's left is just the entrance
and the portcullis is still there
and this is their main gateway into a big courtyard.
The carriages would have come in here
and the fountain that was actually in the courtyard,
in the centre, has ended up in Leeds, near the railway station.
Castle Carr fell into disrepair and in 1960, was finally broken up.
The lead from its roof and most of its stone was sold off.
Whiteley Turner passed into obscurity.
The cost of publishing his book left him penniless
and he died aged just 54,
but Spring-time Saunter remains a fitting testament
to one of Yorkshire's most beautiful landscapes.
Some of the country's best home cooks
Ellie Harrison follows in the footsteps of Whiteley Turner with a springtime saunter around Luddenden, Calderdale.