Surrounded by breathtaking countryside, Hebden Bridge has been voted as the "fourth funkiest town in the world" best small market town in the UK and "the greatest town in Europe". Set atop the hillside, hundreds of feet above Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall is one of the most historic villages in Yorkshire, beguiling the visitor with its quiet charm.
Hebden Bridge has been voted as "the greatest town in Europe" by The Academy of Urbanism, is officially the best small market town in the UK (winner of the best Small Market Town and People's Choice categories in the 2016 Great British High Street Awards) and was described in British Airway's 'High Life' magazine as "one of the world's funkiest towns" .
Hebden Bridge's people have been instrumental in creating and maintaining the town's character. Possessing a strong community spirit, the town is renowned for its creative culture, with a fascinating history and a mission for sustainability. Unique double decker "over and under dwellings" hang on the leafy green hillsides above the town. Houses were built in terraces with 4 to 5 storeys because space was limited by the steep valleys and lack of flat land. The upper storeys face uphill while the lower ones face downhill, with their back wall against the hillside, each with separate entrances.
Hebden Bridge's 18th century core and Victorian streets spread from the 16th century packhorse bridge over the Hebden Water that gives the town its name. The wavy steps, leading to Hebden Water alongside the bridge, are a great place to stop and feed the ducks! Stroll along the Rochdale Canal, linking the Railway Station to Calder Holmes Park, the town centre, Hebden Bridge Little Theatre and Stubbing Wharf. Sample the vast array of great independent shops or the pavement cafes, a result of the award winning pedestrianisation scheme.
Try one of the Walkers are Welcome waymarked walking routes from the town centre. Travel up to the National Trust's Hardcastle Crags; over 400 acres of deep rocky ravines, tumbling streams, oak, beech and pine woods and some of the best examples of upland meadows in the country. The 19th-century Gibson Mill at the heart of the Crags is home to the Weaving Shed Cafe and shop. The Calderdale Way, a 50 mile (80 km) walk exploring the hills, moors and valleys of Calderdale passes by just above Hebden Bridge and through the villlage of Heptonstall.
Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum have created a 'Step Free (Wheelchair) Access Map' of Hebden Bridge, detailing the passability of routes in the town, Blue Badge parking and the location of accessible toilets and bus stops. There are also details of diasbled toilets, portable ramps, hearing lopps, rear access and Blue Badge parking at shops, cafes & pubs in the town on the reverse of the map. You can downlaod a PDF copy of the map by clicking on the link in green above.
There are many events in Hebden Bridge throughout the year, such as the annual Arts Festival, Handmade Parade and Vintage Car Rally, with numerous smaller events, exhibitions and displays at the many local galleries and shops. The events, independent shops and cafes make Hebden Bridge is a great place for some family fun, but don't just take our word for it; watch this short video about the town from the Bewildered Family Guide to Yorkshire.
Set atop the hillside, hundreds of feet above Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall is one of the most historic villages in the Pennines. Don't miss the Heptonstall Museum, housed in the Old Grammar School building, telling the story of the infamous Cragg Vale Coiners and Heptonstalls' part in the English Civil War. Nearby 'Weaver's Square' is a fine example of different types of Yorkshire paving, from cobbles to flagstones and becomes an open air theatre for the Pace Egg Plays at Easter.
Built in 1764, the design and construction of Heptonstall's Octagonal Methodist Chapel were overseen by John Wesley, who preached there on 22 occasions. One of the first octagonal chapels, it is one of the oldest Methodist churches in continuous use today. Uniquely, Heptonstall has two churches within one graveyard. At the centre of the village are the ruins of the Church of St Thomas a' Becket, founded between 1256 and 1260 and severely damaged in a great storm of 1847. The present day parish church was built in 1854. The graveyard is the final resting place of both the poet Sylvia Plath, wife of the late Ted Hughes and of David Hartley, leader of the notorious Cragg Vale Coiners, who was executed in York in 1770.
For stunning views of the Calder Valley take a steep but picturesque walk from Hebden Bridge up The Buttress to Heptonstall and back down by way of Hell Hole Rocks.
You can also visit Hebden Bridge's own website HebdenBridge.org.