Holmfirth in Yorkshire, home of Last of the Summer Wine

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Last of the summer wine has always been around. The last new series aired in 2010 and is currently being repeated on the Drama channel (freeview).
I like the show, especially episodes involving the combination of characters Compo, Cleggy and Foggy.

So when prompted for a day out, I’ve always wanted to have a look around some familiar scenes, off we headed to Holmfirth.

Parking was very cheap, £2.80 for the full day, just passed the centre.
Around the corner was the town centre, a scene of one of my favourite episodes, “Whoops” where the trio attempted to jump off a moving double decker bus – a Christmas episode I think.

Jumping off double decker buses in Last of the summer wine's "Whoops"
Jumping off double decker buses in Last of the summer wine’s “Whoops”
Last of the summer wine's regular haunt...
Last of the summer wine’s regular haunt…

Then through the ginnel you can see to the left of the hardware shop is Sid’s cafe.
The cafe remains the same today as it was in the show, some fabulous memorabilia on the walls, friendly, helpful staff, with directions to other locations used for filming on the tables, nice touch.
Souvenirs are not too expensive, everything from fridge magnets to pinnies.

The only thing I would say is, although the staff know character names, when I asked for a Bill Owen mat, they didn’t seem to know which character he played or who he was. Strange to me, similar to when I visited Hetton-le-Hole to see Bob Paisley’s memorial and people there hadn’t heard of him.

It’s been over 7 years since a new series of the show last aired, but the number of people walking around looking at all the filming locations was amazing!
Further along the street from the centre (to the right of the picture) brought us to a narrow car park, alongside the wall at the side of a river.
Looking to the houses across the river, was the filming location of Nora Batty’s house (now a guest house) and Compo’s house next door.

A short ride away down Scholes road, to where the White Horse pub is and Cleggy’s house with next door neighbours Pearl and Howard, was filmed.
Walking up the track towards the houses, signs up saying “Residential area” and keep out, I got the feeling that my walking up there and taking a couple of photographs of the filming place and scenery overlooking the hill (as seen in the show), would not be welcomed.
The google images and maps all show photographs of the same houses only from a distance on the opposite hillside, so I guess others have found the same as we did.

This I don’t understand.
If you buy a house that has been a mainstay filming location of a sitcom for well over 30 years, you would expect to get some visitors now and again.
The same applies if you live in a house you allow to use as a filming location.
Such a shame really, as I got the impression that the show being filmed in Holmfirth was welcomed in the centre and used as a source of trade, but in the more residential areas used, any interest shown by visitors was not welcomed.

We ended our trip stopping off to pay our respects to where Compo (Bill Owen) himself is laid to rest, the nearby St John’s parish church in Upperthong.

All in all, a nice little day out, there’s a lot of new builds around the filming areas, but the scenery is largely unchanged and remains easily recognisable from the show.
BBC, if any of your executives come across this post, they would do well to take note, that after more than 7 years since filming finished, Last of the Summer wine continues to attract large numbers of visitors to the area and has lost none of its appeal.
Does this not tell you something about the show’s popularity?

* UPDATE:

Since writing this piece, sadly, the great Peter Sallis (Cleggy) has passed away.
Peter is buried right next to Bill Owen (Compo), at St John’s church in Upperthong

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