The South Pennines in spring is a magical place to be.
As the landscape starts to stir after the winter, events celebrating the season of rebirth and fertility fill the calendar.
Communities in Heptonstall and Midgley perform the traditional Pace Egg on Good Friday. There are performances throughout the day – either catch an early one before the players have been to the pub (!) or spend the day and watch them all – audience particpation is encouraged! More information on the Hebden Bridge Web.
On Easter Monday, thousands of yellow plastic ducks take to the water in the annual Hebden Bridge Duck Race, and a birdie theme continues in Marsden, when the community celebrates the coming of spring with its Cuckoo Festival.
Spring is the season for foraging and in the Calder Valley, the hunt is on for sweet dock (also known as bistort) in order to enter the Dock Pudding Championships held in Mytholmroyd. The dock leaves are cooked with oatmeal and onions and the resulting delicacy is served with bacon and eggs. Past entrants include Robbie Coltrane!
Later in the spring, don’t miss the opportunity to travel back in time in Haworth during the 1940s weekend – vintage vehicles, Spitfire flypasts, GIs, Winston Churchill and lots of dancing. But probably no bananas.
May is music month: first there’s Firth Fest in Holmfirth and then you can go and be calmed by a classical programme at the Pennine Spring Music Festival in Heptonstall. Folk-lovers should try Holmfirth Festival of Folk or the Shepley Spring Festival – there’s plenty of places to stay if you’re not quite up for camping! And no visit to the South Pennines would be complete without taking in the Whit Friday Brass Band Contests. The contests take place in the open air of the Saddleworth villages and the standard of the brass-playing is world class.
Another Spring event to look out for is the Holmfirth Film Festival, which presents a series of events at the iconic Picturedrome.