Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge

Monday 20th February 2017

Ask people where they know in Calderdale and many will say Hebden Bridge, so it seems fitting that we should start our little information blog about one of the breath taking towns not just here in the Calder Valley but anywhere in the UK

This handsome little town is awash with creativity - from the artists and musicians hard at work in their studios to the Arts and Music Festival held every year. The town also has a number of famous literary 'residents', including Sylvia Plath whose grave can be found on a medieval settlement in the hills above the town, and former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes whose birthplace can be found in the nearby village of Mytholmroyd

Hebden Bridge's cobbled lanes quickly give way to glorious Yorkshire countryside. The nearby Hardcastle Crags, owned by the National Trust, are a must-visit - boasting a beautiful wooded valley complete with tumbling streams and a carpet of bluebells in the spring. Hebden Bridge is also Britain's first official 'Walkers are Welcome' town, with three easy to follow trails signposted from the town centre.

The cobbled lanes of Hepstonstall, a weavers' village high up on the hills above Hebden Bridge, have remained unchanged for around 200 years. With just two pubs "The Cross" and "The White Lion", a small post office and very pleasant café offering lunches and teas, this tiny village is popular with walkers and is regarded as one of Yorkshire's best kept secrets. Heptonstall churchyard must be one of the most fascinating in the country, containing two charming churches and reportedly the remains of over 100,000 people, with many bodies buried in the same graves.

Hebden Bridge Arts Festival is held every summer, bringing the best national and international artists and performers to the area for a celebration of comedy, music, dance, literature and visual arts.

St George's Square in the centre of Hebden Bridge is crammed with organic and vegetarian cafés, cosy pubs serving real Yorkshire ale and tempting delicatessens.
If you're in search of a caffeine hit then head to Market Street for some cosy coffee houses - the perfect way to perk up your morning! Or, if fine dining's what you're after, head to Kittie's Restaurant (also on Market Square) or the Organic House Café for a superb selection of organic and vegetarian food.

Hepstonstall Museum is a small community museum, exploring the changing importance of the village of Hepstonstall and the surrounding area from prehistoric times to present day. This includes an exhibition dedicated to the Cragg Valley Coiners, who produced counterfeit currency and even committed murders to conceal their trade.

Thanks to its overwhelming population of artists, writers and other fascinating people, Hebden Bridge's vibrant streets are overflowing with independent book and craft shops and inspiring galleries - including Artsmill gallery, showing work from both international and local artists in a bright, airy gallery space. If jewellery and textiles are your style, visit the Heart Gallery to peruse bespoke jewellery pieces, textiles and stationery - the perfect place to pick up a present for you or a loved one. As a shop in a town known for its thriving artistic community, Spirals continue this proud tradition by stocking lots of work by local artists, from small craft items to designer jewellery, paintings and prints.
The Book Case are an independent bookshop selling a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles, children's books, unusual literary gifts and gorgeous stationery. They have been serving the local community for nearly 30 years, and also stock a comprehensive collection of local history titles for the area.

Other great independents in Hebden Bridge include The Snug Gallery, which is a leading contemporary craft gallery in the north of England. Showcasing contemporary craft and design by some of the most prominent designer-makers from the UK and Ireland alongside a selection of photography and lovely things.

The Rochdale Canal winds its way through Hebden Bridge, bringing with it plenty of colourful canal boats and providing a peaceful towpath that's perfect for picnics.