Hebden Bridge is a characterful old Yorkshire mill town on the Pennine moorlands, located at the meeting of the rivers Hebden and Calder. It sits astride an ancient trans-Pennine trade route where all lines of communication, including road, rail, river and canal are squeezed through the narrow valley at this point.
Hebden's Ancient Packhorse Bridge (circa 1510) © David Benney
The early 16th century stone pack-horse bridge, which gave the town its name, still crosses the beck in the centre of town. The River Calder that once powered the town's Victorian textile mills is now a more peaceful navigation. Many of the silent grey-stone mills have been preserved and converted into modern offices and fashionable accommodation. The town centre still retains much of its ancient character, with attractive mellow stone buildings and rows of terraced housing.
The Rochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge
The Rochdale Canal, which passes through the valley, is no longer in commercial use and is now a magnet for pleasure craft and holiday barges.
There are many splendid wooded valleys radiating out from the town providing some excellent walking country. One popular beauty spot is Hardcastle Crags, where the Hebden Beck runs steeply down a narrow rocky valley, known locally as "Little Switzerland". However, for the best vistas you need to walk up out of the valley onto the nearby moorland. Several good walking routes are clearly signposted from the centre, including the Pennine Way which passes along the western edge of town and the Calderdale Way which circles the area.
Views over the Wooded Calder Valley © David Benney
A steep cobbled lane, known as the Buttress, leads up to the town's higher neighbour Heptonstall, a village of old stone weavers' cottages and crooked cobbled streets.
To the east of Hebden Bridge, is the historic cloth town of Halifax, location of the magnificent Piece Hall, where local cloth was once traded.