Hebden Bridge

West Yorkshire



Hebden Bridge is a vibrant small town attracting a high number of tourist visitors in the Pennine valley of Yorkshire's River Calder in the metropolitan district of Calderdale.

The town is 4 miles east-north-east of Todmorden, 6 miles (8.5 miles by road) west-north-west of Halifax, 10 (11.5) miles south-west of Keighley, 12 (13.5) miles north-west of Huddersfield and 11 (15) miles south-west of Bradford.

Hebden Bridge grew around a packhorse bridge where an ancient hilltop packhorse route across the Pennines dropped into the valley to cross Hebden Beck. The bridge linked the earlier hilltop settlement of Heptonstall with the rest of the Calder Valley. The name appeared as Hepstenbrig or The Heptenbrig on 16th century maps. The bridge of 1510 still stands as a historic landmark in the centre of the town.

During the industrial revolution the rushing streams saw the valley as an ideal place for the development of watered-powered textile mills. The town also saw a considerable amount of clothing manufacture, earning it the knickname Trouser Town. The town also has a history of clog-making, though in recent years production has moved to nearby  Mytholmroyd

The housing which developed around the mills clung to the steep valley sides, often built as four-storey over and under-dwellings giving Hebden Bridge a unique character.

Transportation of goods was helped by the building of the Rochdale Canal, which provided an eastward link from Hebden Bridge from 1799 and across the Pennies by 1804, but this was soon superseded by the railway which reached Hebden Bridge in 1840.

With the decline of the textile trade in the late 20th century, Hebden Bridge reinvented itself as it attracted an extrordinary mix of artists, musicians, photographers, craft-workers, green-activists and environmentalists and their outlets, in turn turning the town into a tourist hotspot. The town also attracts many outdoor-types attracted by walking, cycling and climbing in the South Pennines. The Pennine Way and Pennine Bridleway national trails pass near to the town. Hebden Bridge was on the route of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014.

Hebden Bridge has also in recent years attracted commuters travelling into larger towns in West Yorkshire and also Greater Manchester and Lancashire, but as a dormitory town it relies heavily on its railway rather than its rather poor road connections, which within the constrains of the Calder Valley have little scope for improvement.

The townsfolk of Hebden Bridge show an immense community spirit, this has particularly come to the fore in rapid clean-up operations after devastatingly deep flooding in the town from the Hebden Beck and River Calder, most recently in 2012 and on Boxing Day 2015. Not only did they clean-up they went on to win the small market town category and People's Choice Award of The Great British High Street awards 2016.

The town has appeared in several TV programmes and films, including recently the BBC police drama Happy Valley, filmed around the Calder Valley, Halifax and Huddersfield.

The town stages a Piano Festival in April  Website, an Arts Festival around the end of June  Website and a Vintage Weekend featuring classic cars in August  Website.

Town features


Hebden Bridge has a good range of independent small shops, including gift and jewellery shops and boutiques, outlets for antiques and hand-made goods and shops selling eco-friendly, ethically-sourced and Fair Trade products.

Hebden Bridge has an old 17th century coaching inn and town centre and canalside pubs offering great places to sit outside on a sunny summer afternoon to enjoy a leisurely drink. Country pubs can also be found in some of the outlying hamlets around the town.

Hebden Bridge Post Office is in Holme Street.

The town’s last remaining bank recently closed to be replaced with a mobile bank visit on two days a week.

There are pharmacies in the town.

The town has a host of cosy little cafes.

Hebden Bridge has Mediterranean and Thai restaurants and a good range of pub food.

The town has a small selection of takeaways offering sandwiches, fish and chips and asian cuisine.

The River Calder flows through Hebden Bridge, where it is joined by Hebden Water.

Hebden Bridge Marina is on the Rochdale Canal.

Hebden Bridge Town Hall is a grade II Victorian listed building dating from 1897 which has had a new community and business building added since it was transferred to the Hebden Bridge Commuinty Association in 2008. It provides a hub for community organisations and businesses, versatile function rooms, conference space and a wedding venue.
Further details at  Hebden Bridge Town Hall website.

Hebden Bridge has public toilets (coin operated).

Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre is in Butler's Wharf.

Hebden Bridge library is in Cheetham Street.
More information at  Calderdale Council - Hebden Bridge library web page.

Places of worship: Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Spiritualist.

Hebden Bridge has nursery, infant and primary schools.

New Road Memorial Gardens and Calder Holmes Park provide an attractive link and play area between the town centre, Rochdale Canal and Hebden Bridge railway station.

Entertainment

Hebden Bridge Picture House

New Road
Dating from 1921, Hebden Bridge Picture House is one of the main places of entertainment in the town. It is one of the last civic-owned cinemas in Britain having being saved in the 1960s by the then Hebden Royd Urban District Council. The cinema passed to the district authority, Calderdale Council, under local government reorganisation in 1974, but in 2012 was transferred to Hebden Royd Town Council. The cinema programming is aimed at catering for a wide variety of tastes. Although regularly in use every day for screenings, it can also host live events from local amateur and charity groups, music acts and stand-up comedians.
 Hebden Bridge Picture House website.

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre

Holme Street
Hebden Bridge Little Theatre has performed its plays at a variety of venues since the group was formed in 1924. It eventually settled in a converted coach garage which it upgraded in 1993 to a 120-seat theatre. Members of the group perform five plays a year and has open casting read-throughs of its forthcoming performances.
 Hebden Bridge Little Theatre website.

The Trades Club

Holme Street
This socialist members club has both local and national acclaim as a top small venue for live music gigs, attracting some well-known names as well as local performers.
 The Trades Club website.

Museum

Heptonstall Museum

Church Yard Bottom, Heptonstall
The museum is in the ancient hilltop village of Heptonstall, 1 mile uphill to the north-west of Hebden Bridge. It tells the rich history of the area, with details of the Battle of Heptonstall in the English Civil War and the 18th century counterfeiting of the Cragg Vale Coiners. Based in the building of an old grammar school which closed in 1889, it still has some of its old school desks and books.
 Calderdale Museums - Heptonstall Museum web page.

Places to Visit

Hardcastle Crags

off Midgehole Road
Hardcastle Crags is a delightful wooded valley about 2 miles north of Hebden Bridge with beautiful streams and more than 15 miles of footpaths. A visitor centre, cafe and shop is based in Gibson Mill, a former textile mill built around 1800, in the heart of the valley. The centre gets its power entirely from water turbines, solar panels and a biomass boiler, has a filtered spring water supply and recycles all waste. Hardcastle Crags is managed by the National Trust.
More information at the  National Trust - Hardcastle Crags website.

Heptonstall churches

Church Street and Northgate, Heptonstall
Heptonstall parish church has a unique history in that the shell of the original 13th century church of St Thomas a Becket stands next to its 1854 replacement, St Thomas the Apostle. The original church was built around 1260 but saw extensions over the years including a heightened tower which ultimately saw the church damaged when part of it fell away in a storm in 1847. Heptonstall village is about 1 mile up the hill to the north-west of Hebden Bridge.
More information at the  St Thomas, Heptonstall website

Heptonstall Methodist Church in Northgate is among the oldest octagonal chapels of the Methodist Church and is believed to be the oldest Methodist Church to have continued use. Although Methodism in the village was founded after the preachings of William Darney, John Wesley became a frequent visitor to Heptonstall and visited at the time of the building of the chapel in 1764. The chapel was later extended in 1802.
Further details at the  Heptonstall Chapel website.

Stoodley Pike Monument

Langfield Common
A landmark monument stands at Stoodley Pike on the Langfield Common moor above the Calder Valley about 2 miles south-west of Hebden Bridge. It is accessible to walkers via footpaths and open access land. Steps lead up inside the monument to its balcony. The original monument was built towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars, it having been started in 1814 to commemorate the surrender of Paris to the Allies. It was finished after the Battle of Waterloo when peace was established in 1815. It later collapsed just before the declaration of war with Russia in 1854 and was rebuilt when peace was restored in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War.


Travel

Hebden Bridge

Station Road
Hebden Bridge railway station is a two-platform station for Northern services operating along the Calder Valley line and is a short walk of just under 10 minutes from the town centre. The line was originally engineered by George Stephenson and opened in 1840. The present station, dating from 1893, is Grade II listed and has been preserved and restored to 19th-century style.

Trains head eastwards down the Calder Valley line to  Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge and then via Halifax and Bradford to Leeds or via Brighouse, Mirfield and Dewsbury to Leeds.

Trains operate in a westbound direction towards Todmorden, Rochdale and Manchester Victoria or towards Burnley, Blackburn, Preston and Blackpool.

A Friends of Hebden Bridge Station group helps to maintain the station and runs a library in a waiting room for rail users.
Further information at the  Friends of Hebden Bridge Station website.

Station managed by Northern. Train operator/s: Northern.

 Northern - Hebden Bridge Station and departure information at Northern website.

Bus travel

Buses operate to stops which offer a travel interchange on the Hebden Bridge railway station forecourt, a short walk of just under 10 minutes from the town centre. There are also stops on streets nearer to the town centre. Buses operate from Rochdale or Burnley and Todmorden to Halifax through Hebden Bridge. There are also services to Ripponden and Huddersfield and via Haworth to Keighley. Local buses operate to most local villages and hamlets around the Hebden Bridge area.

Road travel

The long A646 single carriageway road is the only main route along the Calder Valley and easily becomes congested and jammed in the event of road works or flooding. It leads to the railway being a popular choice for visitors and anybody commuting from and to Hebden Bridge. The only other A road from Hebden Bridge is the A6033 leading over the moors towards  Oxenhope and Keighley, which is a handy route if heading towards the Yorkshire Dales. The nearest point on the motorway network is the M62 11.5 miles away between Elland and Huddersfield.

Emergency services

West Yorkshire Police  West Yorkshire Police website.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

Local government

Civil parish council

Hebden Royd Town Council
Hebden Royd Town Council is based at the Town Hall in St George's Street, Hebden Bridge, and also covers Cragg Vale and Mytholmroyd. The council has 18 councillors covering six wards who are elected for four years. The council provides a limited range of services including providing community grants and local input into the planning function of the district authority. A Mayor of Hebden Royd is elected by the council annually, together with a deputy mayor.
 Hebden Royd Town Council website.

Other parish councils
The rural area surrounding Hebden Bridge also includes four small separate single ward civil parish councils: Blackshaw Parish Council, Erringden Parish Council, Heptonstall Parish Council and Wadsworth Parish Council.

Metropolitan district council



County strategic authority

West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Covers some combined services of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield - which were at one time provided by a West Yorkshire metropolitan county council, with the addition of the non-contiguous City of York council and unelected Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.
 West Yorkshire Combined Authority website.

Police and Crime Commissioner

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire
 Police and Crime Commissioner West Yorkshire website.

Fire Authority

West Yorkshire Fire Authority
The fire authority is made up of elected members of each of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield.
 West Yorkshire Fire Authority web pages.

Ceremonial county

West Yorkshire

Historic

1891-1937 Hebden Bridge Urban District Council within West Riding of Yorkshire
1937-1974 Hebden Royd Urban District Council in West Riding of Yorkshire (following merger with Mytholmroyd Urban District)

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