Two rivers and two canals form the heart of this fascinating mill town. From the Middle Ages and possibly as far back as the Roman occupation, Sowerby Bridge was an important crossing over the Ryburn and Calder rivers.
Industrial growth meant the development of transport here was rapid. In 1735 one of the oldest turnpike roads in Britain was completed, whilst in 1757 John Smeaton, the Eddystone Lighthouse designer, surveyed the development of an early "navigation" (part river, part canal), the Calder and Hebble, which was eventually built in 1770.
Add to this the most successful trans-Pennine canal, the Rochdale (1804) which is home to Tuel Lock, the deepest in the country.
Today Sowerby Bridge is shaped in a new style. Its flower-decked canal wharf is a great eating and drinking location, updating one of Britain's most authentic early millscapes. Enjoy a canal boat holiday with Shire Cruisers. Explore the town's foodie reputation, its independent shops and the solar powered market.
September's Rushbearing Festival is not to be missed, as it is unique in Yorkshire. The nearby village of Norland holds an annual Scarecrow Festival on the same weekend as the Rushbearing Festival. combine the two for a great family day out.
Near Sowerby Bridge you can also find Mill Bank Village, a Yorkshire in Bloom Gold award-winning village located in a conservation area. Full of heritage and grown from the cotton, woollen and silk industries Mill Bank is located on a steep south-facing valley, south west of Sowerby Bridge. It's a great place for walking and exploring old pack horse trails, ancient highways and many footpaths. The Calderdale Way passes through the village and is popular with ramblers and hill walkers.