Yorkshire's 'friendly, but not in your face' village with touching final resting place for TV duo

Conversations in this part of Pennine Yorkshire often focus on the weather and that's no surprise as it is so changeable.

Upperthong - or at least the upper bit - sits at an elevation of around 800ft above sea level, with Holmfirth down in the valley, and even in summer there can be a chilly wind blowing across the moorland and down the narrow streets.

It may be July but today the temperate is only 14C - it feels more like 10C - and most locals are wearing big jumpers or a fleece.

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For Rod and Nancy, who are visiting relatives from their home in Australia, the cool Pennine weather is not pleasant. But they do love the countryside and the sturdy, stone-built houses. Rod says: "It (Upperthong) is very quaint and attractive with lots of greenery and little houses. You can just walk up here and you are in the countryside."

But he doesn't like the cold, saying: "We like it to be 20 to 25C. Summer here is like a Melbourne winter."

"It is so chilly," says Nancy, who is wearing several layers.

Even locals notice the cold. Ann Brennan Brookes, who has lived in Upperthong for over 20 years, mentions the nippy weather and says the village "gets the snow first" as winter approaches. She loves the village, describing it as friendly, but says children's don't play out in the street like they used to do which she thinks is sad but a 'sign of the times'.

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Judi Austin, who was walking through Upperthong on a round trip back to her home in Netherthong, says walkers, runners and cyclists are 'spoilt for choice' as there are so many footpaths and rights of way. She is a big fan of the views from nearby Wolfstones, also known as Wolfstones Heights, which sits at 1,059ft above sea level.

"I like going through the woods at Wolfstones - the views are fabulous."

She sees the Holme Valley as a community made up of distinctive villages where people are generally "friendly, but not in your face".

Judi says that local people will often ask 'new faces' where they are from and what they are up to, because they are interested in people and their stories. She says: "People want to know what you are about and they will tell you stories. If they see a strange face they are always interested who you are and why you are here."

The downside to Upperthong, and other villages in the valley, is the lack of parking.

"That is a big issue," says Judi. "Narrow lanes and a lack of parking."

Locals who move away tend to come back and there is no better endorsement than that. Judi adds: "People go to University and away for work and they come back to have their families."

And while the hamlets and villages may be quiet and peaceful, there's a thriving arts and music scene in the centre of Holmfirth, she adds. "There's a plethora of things going on in Holmfirth, it is very up and coming. There is always something going on at night, with a music venue and an arts scene."

Upperthong is also something of a magnet for fans of TV sitcom Last of the Summer Wine as actors Bill Owen and Peter Sallis were laid to rest side by side in the graveyard behind St John's Church. The churchyard has become something of a pilgrimage location for fans of the long-running comedy. Visitors have been known to leave wellies beside the grave in tribute to Bill Owen and his loveable character, Compo.

A local couple, who did not want to be named, said it had become something of a 'pilgrimage village' for people seeking out the Summer Wine connection once they had exhausted the central Holmfirth hotspots.

They said the village pub, The Royal Oak on Towngate, was the centre of village life. The beer garden has fine views across the valley and beyond. But newcomers need to be alert to the weather - and get used to the harsh wind and driving rain.

"We are 900ft up and you do need a fleece," they added. "It can be five degrees colder up here than in the bottom of the valley."

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