Lumb Falls is a secluded spot for wild swimming, paddling and picnicking - perfect for those ‘in the know’ and yet hidden from prying eyes by a bowl of woodland.
It’s a picturesque and relaxing place where several small falls converge. The beck spills over a gritstone lip, eroding the shale and mudstone underneath, creating a plunge pool. Local swimmers have partially dammed up the stream to ensure the water maintains a decent depth. Although the water is brown, stained by minerals and peat, it’s meant to be a good spot for a splash and a swim, and is popular with local kids.
An ancient packhorse route crosses the stream just above the main waterfall - you can see the bridge in this photograph - and at one stage the main route from Hebden Bridge to Haworth ran up this river along Crimsworth Dean.
A few miles north of Hebden Bridge, north west of Pecket Well, and running on from the National Trust’s Hardcastle Crags, Crimsworth Dean is a secluded Pennine valley, an SSSI, and teems with nature especially at this time of the year. Bring insect repellent if you’re thinking of spending any time here though - the still water attracts flying beasties galore.
There’s an important literary connection too: the former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes based one of his poems on a photo of six local lads who were photographed here, prior to going fight in the Great War. None returned. A small plaque commemorates his poem. The full poem, and background information, can be read on Hebweb here.
Below is an excerpt
‘Six Young Men’ by Ted Hughes
The celluloid of a photograph holds them well -
Six young men, familiar to their friends.
Four decades that have faded and ochre-tinged
This photograph have not wrinkled the faces or the hands.
Though their cocked hats are not now fashionable,
Their shoes shine. One imparts an intimate smile,
One chews a grass, one lowers his eyes, bashful,
One is ridiculous with cocky pride -
Six months after this picture they were all dead.
All are trimmed for a Sunday jaunt. I know
That bilberried bank, that thick tree, that black wall,
Which are there yet and not changed. From where these sit
You hear the water of seven streams fall
To the roarer in the bottom, and through all
The leafy valley a rumouring of air go.
Pictured here, their expressions listen yet,
And still that valley has not changed its sound
Though their faces are four decades under the ground.