Walking in Calderdale, West Yorkshire
Calderdale is a special part of Yorkshire. Few locations offer this blend of beauty and history in such a small place. Our location in Pennine Yorkshire gives us the wonderful rivers, hills, valleys and moorland, but Calderdale is much more than beauty and great views. Calderdale is full of places that need to be there, that have a purpose, not just places to see. These places are part of the soul of Calderdale, places which help to tell Calderdale’s story. And what a story it is. There’s no better way to immerse yourself and discover more about this beautiful area than on foot.
Calderdale was the cradle of the industrial revolution. Mills and factories brought wealth and prosperity. The people who worked in them brought a sense of true community. Most of the shops, theatres and public buildings which those communities built are still here. Victorian and Edwardian architecture framing stories of the people, who not only strived to make a success of their lives and their communities but who helped to change the world. You can find out much more about our beautiful architecture and industrial heritage through many of the guided walks on offer that allow you to experience town and country in just a few hours; so time to don your walking boots and get ‘happily lost’ in Calderdale.
Walking Information & Guides
There are so many walking routes in Calderdale, you are spoilt for choice!
Hebden Bridge pioneered the UK initiative ‘Walkers are Welcome’ in 2007 with the aim of encouraging and creating a network of towns and villages that are welcoming to walkers. Now over 100 towns and villages across the UK have joined this community-led scheme.
Whether you are looking for short, easy walks or a more strenuous option, there are over 60 walking guides (leaflets, booklets and books) about the Calderdale area are available at local Visitor Information Centres and on-line from the Heart of the Pennines on-line shop.
There are plenty of options if you prefer to walk with a group or with someone who knows the area and the landscape and heritage.
A programme of guided walks exploring the heritage of Calderdale is offered all year round by Calderdale Heritage Walks. The majority of these walks are centred on towns and villages, but some have a more rural feel exploring the old lanes, paths and settlements of our extensive countryside. Almost all walks take place on Sundays and cost £3 per person.
You can also join Calderdale Ramblers for a walk on most Sundays throughout the year.
Calderdale Council's Safer Cleaner Greener Countryside Team offer occasional guided walks as part of their extensive events programme.
There are lots of linear walks that can be done by using local buses.
You can plan walks on your own by using the West Yorkshire Metro website.
Alternatively, to make it easier, local walking groups have produced some bus walk guides, available from local Visitor Information Centres. Bus walks make it easy to do linear walks and can get you up on to the tops without a big effort!
E-Trails give you the opportunity to download images and spoken descriptions of some of the highlights of the walk as well as having an accompanying printed guide which contains a map and walk directions.
The e-Trail Apps provide audio commentaries & historical photographs which can be downloaded to a phone or tablet. They include stories of local events & people as well as information about the awe-inspiring ecology & outstanding industrial and political heritage of the area.
The printed Route Guides allow you to still enjoy the e-Trail if you don’t have a mobile phone or tablet - with the written script available to download from the website.
Easy Walking and Family-Friendly Walking
You can explore the landscape of Calderdale without needing to do a strenuous hike!
There are gentle walks on relatively flat routes (the canal towpath is an ideal gentle route with you being able to choose how far you want to go). A range of these walks are on the Easy Walks page of the Hebden Bridge Walkers Action website.
There are short walks that may be a bit more strenuous but only take an hour or so. ‘Pop Out’ walks are available from Todmorden Information Centre with an example walk available on the Todwalkers website.
Halifax has a surprising and quite amazing music history. The Halifax Music Heritage Trail celebrates this important cultural history of the town. From Dusty Springfield, Rod Stewart, Iggy Pop to Joy Division, Pulp, The Cure, The Jacksons, the list of artists who have played the town is long and diverse. You can download a PDF map of the Trail here.
Pennine Bridleway (Mary Townley Loop)
The Pennine Bridleway runs for 205 miles (330km) from Derbyshire to Cumbria. The Pennine Bridleway runs roughly parallel to, but separate from the Pennine Way and offers access for Horse Riders and Cyclists in addition to Walkers.
The Mary Towneley Loop is a 47 mile section of the Pennine Bridleway with a variety of tracks, looping past Blackshaw Head, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Walsden. You will encounter open moorland, hidden reservoirs, ancient packhorse tracks sweeping into valleys with gritstone walls, mill chimneys and canals, all offering a glimpse of past histories.
It is easy to plan shorter walks using the Mary Townley Loop- a leaflet and map are available to download from the National Trails website.
A superb way to go walking in Calderdale - The Calderdale Way is a 50 mile (80 km) walk exploring the hills, moors and valleys of Calderdale. It is an ‘up and down’ journey with few level sections. However, the higher levels provide some exceptionally fine panoramic views and are well worth the effort.
There are numerous link paths which connect the Calderdale Way to the valley floor which means the route can be walked in several short stages. The walk encircles Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, following old packhorse ways across the open gritstone hillsides with sections of traditional stone causeway. The route passes through medieval hillside settlements such as Heptonstall, Lumbutts and Mankinholes and old mill towns on the banks of the River Calder.
A short diversion along the Pennine Way takes in the popular walk to the 100ft monument, Stoodley Pike.
Pennine Way & Hebden Bridge Loop
The Pennine Way is a long distance trail that starts in Derbyshire and ends on the Scottish borders, offering 268 miles of some of the finest upland walking along the rugged backbone of England.
The Pennine Way enters Calderdale at Blackstone Edge, passing Stoodley Pike, dropping down into the valley at Callis, climbing back up to Colden and over the moors to Widdop. Walkers often say this stretch is one of the best on the whole route.
The route is well serviced with local buses.
To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Pennine Way, Hebden Bridge Walkers Action created a waymarked loop to Hebden Bridge and back to the Pennine Way via the ancient village of Heptonstall. The Hebden Bridge Loop makes a wonderful and moderately challenging 6 ½ mile circuit of the fantastic landscape surrounding Hebden Bridge.
Todmorden Centenary Way
The Todmorden Centenary Way is a twenty-mile circular route that can be joined at any point and walked in any order which goes through upland pastures, woodland, open moor and steep sided valleys around the market town of Todmorden. It offers a series of day and half day walks of various lengths or a whole weekend’s walking.
The Centenary Way can be joined at any point and its sections walked in any order. Walks can be devised to suit all abilities and link paths enable circular walks to be planned with the option of using public transport.
The Rochdale Canal runs for 33 miles between Sowerby Bridge in Calderdale, all the way to Manchester. It runs through the Upper Calder Valley passing Luddendenfoot, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Walsden.
The canal is close to train stations at Sowerby Bridge, Mythomroyd, Hebden Brige, Todmorden and Walsden. There is a towpath all the way which makes it a great flat walking route, suitable for buggies.
You can walk short sections by using regular local buses to get you to the start and finish of your walk.
Calder and Hebble Navigation
The Calder and Hebble Navigation runs for 21 miles from Wakefield to Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire. It has 27 locks and a number of flood locks.
There is a towpath all the way which makes it a great flat walking route. You can do short sections by using local buses to get you to the start and finish of your walk.
Cromwell Bottom is one of the richest areas in Calderdale in terms of biodiversity, boasting over 130 species of plant, 200 species of birds, large numbers of mammals, amphibians and lots of invertebrate life. Anyone, adults and chiildren interested in nature, needs to visit Cromwell Bottom.
The area is mainly woodland with a really good network of paths. There is also a wheelchair and pushchair accessible route. There is a car park at the reserve and a regular bus service from Halifax bus station.
The 121 foot (37 m) high Stoodley Pike Monument dominates the skyline above Todmorden, sitting atop Stoodley Pike, a 1,300-foot (400 m) hill on the Pennine Way. The monument was designed in 1854 by local architect James Green, and completed in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War.
The Pike can only be reached on foot and are many walking routes to it from Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.
Sheltered from the moorland wind, this deep wooded valley is an enchanting mix of wood, water and stone.
The National Trust have put in some superb waymarked walking routes suitable for all abilities. It’s a great place for children - crossing the river on stepping stones and spotting birds, insects, amphibians and if you're lucky, deer! Hardcastle Crags offers a completely different experience throughout the year - from the icicles of midwinter to the carpet of bluebells in the spring.
The early 19th century Gibson Mill is situated within the site. A tour of the mill tells the history of the valley and the mill over the past 200 years. The mill also has changing exhibitions throughout the year.
Gibson Mill is 100% self-sufficient in energy, water and waste treatment. It has a hydro-electric system, solar photovoltaic panels and a log-burning stove fuelled by wood from the estate.
You can also rest and recharge at the Weaving Shed Café, serving delicious ethical and locally-produced food and buy the perfect gift or memento in the shop located there.
Hardcastle Crags is open all year round from dawn until dusk, admission to Hardcastle Crags and Gibson Mill are free.
Dogs are welcome (including in the café and mill) if kept under close control.
You have three options to get to Hardcastle Crags:
By car - there is parking at Midgehole and Clough Hole (fee applies)
By bus – the 906 runs from Hebden Bridge on weekends between May and October. It will take you to both the bottom and the top of the valley.
Walking – there is a route from Hebden Bridge on good paths with a bit of road walking. It will take you about 45 minutes. Pick up a guide from Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre.
Ogden Water offers excellent opportunities to escape from the streses and strains of everyday life. Ogden Water is a very popular destination for picnics, walking, family outings and nature activities. Why not enjoy a picnic at our picnic tables whilst taking in the stunning views.
There are hourly buses to Oden Water from Halifax bus station.
There is a lovely flat footpath around Ogden Water and three longer walks from the site. Friends of Calderdale Countryside have produced a detailled guide which is available at the Ogden shop, local Visitor Information Centres and on-line from the Heart of the Pennines on-line shop.
Calderdale’s parks are great for fairly flat walking on good paths and you can combine a walk in the park with woodland walks and canal towpath walks.
- Shibden Park, Halifax
- Manor Heath Park, Halifax
- People’s Park, Halifax
- Savile Park, Halifax
- Wellholme Park, Brighouse
- Calder Holmes Park, Hebden Bridge
- Centre Vale Park, Todmorden
The long period of hot weather has meant there is an increased risk of moorland fires in #Calderdale. Please take care when out and about in moorlands around Calderdale and West Yorkshire. Click here for more advice about staying safe on the moorlands.