Hebden Bridge is an old mill town in West Yorkshire. It is set in the deep cleft of a heavily wooded steep-sided valley, with a river, Hebden Water, running through it, crossed by the packhorse bridge that gives the town its name.
Hebden Bridge has evolved down a wobbly little path all of its own in these parts, and is often likened to Glastonbury; although it is a lot grittier and probably much more deeply alternative and counter-cultural than its southern cousin. Socially, it is home and meeting place for a diverse population, many of them creative and new age minded people, with a high proportion of lesbians (and some gay men).
Hebden Bridge is on the Pennine Way and Rochdale Canal (the latter followed here by the Hull–Manchester Sustrans Route 66).
Numerous UFO sightings have been reported in the vicinity: space aliens obviously don't need directions to find us. Humans can arrive by train, at Hebden Bridge station, restored to its former glory; the town centre is a 5-minute stroll down the canal or through Calder Holmes park. Trains link directly to Manchester, Bradford, Leeds, York and Blackpool.
Buses are good to Halifax and Todmorden, every 10 minutes.
People coming from the M62 West will be best coming off at Junction 21 and driving through Littleborough before making a right to drive through the moors, until picking up a sign to Mytholmroyd and Cragg Vale, longer but lovelier than arriving through Todmorden but be careful in poor weather (it is the Pennines after all).
Walking is easy as the town is largely pedestrianised now. The walks down the canal are easy for most people and are also OK for tougher wheelchair users.
- 1 Hardcastle Crags, ☏ +44 1422 844518, email@example.com. Beautiful wooded valley, covered with bluebells in spring, that has walks ranging from riverside to pine covered hills and from easy tracks to half-day adventures cumulating in spectacular views with 19th-century Gibson Mill serving refreshments at its heart. Free, but parking in the car park costs £5 so try to walk.
- 2 Stoodley Pike. Prominent hill-top monument with wide views. Free.
- Old road to Haworth – great walk
- A changing roster of different street markets
- Cool, converted mills turned into homes and shops (Innovation; Pecket Well Mill)
- The honesty box, a small building serving a large range of delicious ice cream in the hills, accessed by a nice walk up from the co-op or train station. (It is impossible to drive there.)
It is worth buying the cheap Trail Guide from the TIC in Hebden Bridge before you go. For such a tiny village it's full of history, sights including:
- Two churches – in the same churchyard, which is very rare in the UK. Also in the churchyard is the grave of 'King' David Hartley. He was hanged at York for coin clipping. A more recent grave is that of the poet Sylvia Plath.
3 Heptonstall Museum, Heptonstall, HX7 7NB, ☏ +44 1422 352 334. tiny but well worth seeing for the exhibition of the Yorkshire Coiners (the coin clippers) in a building that was once a school.
- Early Hexagonal Methodist church – the oldest in England to have been in continual use.
- Last handloom worker's cottage
- Piece Hall – where pieces of cloth made under the domestic system were exhibited and sold.
- Weavers' Square – where different types of Yorkshire road services can be seen and compared.
- 1 The Picture House, New Road HX7 8AD, ☏ +44 1422 842807, firstname.lastname@example.org. "A thriving, independent, not-for-profit cinema operated by Hebden Royd Town Council" £7 film, £15 live performance (adult).
- 2 Trades Club, Holme Street HX7 8EE, email@example.com. 11AM–6PM (Box Office). "A socialist members club and music venue"
- Treesponsibility, a local charity that plants trees everywhere they can; free days out with them planting are a good way to see the hills.
Organic and fair trade stuff, designer baby stuff, original art, jewellery, clothes, crystals and hippy tat aplenty. Good mountain bike shop (Blazing Saddles). Heart Gallery great addition to the High Street. Fabulously named Ruby Shoesday on Market Street.
Massages and other therapies
- The Book Case, 29 Market Street, Hebden Bridge, ☏ +44 1422 845353. For local maps, guides and history.
- Excellent cafes are plentiful - some recommended ones include but are by no means limited to, vocation, Tibetan kitchen, squeeze, the trades club kitchen, aya Sophia and Marcos.
- On market day, head to the car park near the square for cheeses, pastries, pies, pizza, Turkish food for snacks, Indian food for a meal or onion bhaji and much more depending on the week.
- 1 Fox and Goose, 9 Heptonstall Rd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 6AZ, ☏ +44-871-951-1000, firstname.lastname@example.org. Beards and dogs and CAMRA favourite pub.
- The Cross Inn in Heptonstall
- Lots of B&Bs
- Many Couch Surfers live here so try them for a free night's sleep
- Hebden Bridge Hostel, The Birchcliffe Centre, Birchcliffe Rd, ☏ +44 1422 843183. £17.
|Routes through Hebden Bridge|
|Edale ← Marsden (17 miles) ←||S N||→ Stanbury (10 miles) → Kirk Yetholm|