The Calderdale Way

The Calderdale Way Itinerary: 50 Miles for 50 Years

Join us in celebrating Calderdale’s 50th Birthday this year, by setting out on an epic 5-day hike exploring Calderdale’s hills, moors and valleys. The Calderdale Way is a 50 mile (80km) walk which encircles Halifax, Hebden Bridge, and Todmorden. It follows old packhorse routes, passing through pretty hillside villages and old mill towns, and provides exceptional panoramic views over the Pennines.


This itinerary aims to provide inspiration and guidance for completing the Calderdale Way as a multi-day hike. We encourage you to embrace the concept of ‘slow travel’ this year – taking the path ‘less travelled’ and exploring places and attractions slightly off the tourist map.  It couldn’t be easier to arrive to the Borough by train, and discover Calderdale’s spectacular countryside on foot, and at your own pace.


The itinerary breaks down the Calderdale Way into 5 sections, highlighting points of interest along the route, providing information on where to stay and places to eat and drink along the way. Unlike some long distance walking trails, there is an abundance of facilities along the route, so you won’t be short of places to enjoy a good meal and rest your head, at the end of a long day!


The holiday let Rake Hey Farm offer various ‘Calderdale Way’ packages to their guests, including bag transfer between each accommodation stop; or hosting walkers at their holiday let and dropping them off/picking them up at the beginning and end of each leg.  Please see their website for details.


Route Summary:

Day One: Brighouse to Ripponden (approx 13.5 miles)

Day Two: Ripponden to Todmorden (approx 10.5 miles)

Day Three: Todmorden to Hebden Bridge (approx 9.5 miles)

Day Four: Hebden Bridge to Shibden Valley (approx 15 miles)

Day Five: Shibden Valley to Brighouse (approx 8.5 miles)


Calderdale Way Map Route
Calderdale Way Map Route (Heart of the Pennines)

Day One: Brighouse to Ripponden (13.5 miles)

Arrive by train to Brighouse. Direct trains from Leeds and Manchester run every hour.


Before you set off on your epic adventure, there’s time for a decent breakfast in Brighouse to start you off right. Consider stopping off at Mamil Café Bar, a independent cycle-themed bar which backs onto the canal basin, or the Secret Tea Rooms –  vintage style, traditional tea rooms (don’t be fooled by the small shopfront – it’s like a tardis inside!). Now to head off to the start of the Calderdale Way route, hopefully with an extra spring in your step! To get onto the Calderdale Way, join the canal towpath opposite Sainsburys, and walk along the towpath with the canal to your left.


Today’s walk will take you along tranquil canal towpaths and through beautiful woodlands and moorland, providing panoramic views of both the Calder and Ryburn Valley, and views of landmarks such as Cromwell Lake, and Wainhouse Tower (the tallest folly in the world!). You’ll pass by Clay House, a fine yeoman’s house built around 1650, through North Dean woods, which supports over 60 species of birds, and a wide range of plant life, and through Norland Moor Local Nature Reserve – particularly gorgeous in autumn, or when the heather is in full bloom in late summer! You’ll finish the day in the historic village of Ripponden, where there are a number of places to stay, eat and drink, including one of the oldest pubs in Yorkshire, the Old Bridge Inn.


Day Two: Ripponden to Todmorden (10.5 miles)

Today’s route takes you up to the hilltop village of Millbank, an award-winning village in a conservation area, before carrying on to the Pennine moorland of Cragg Vale. On your way, you may want to stop off at Craggie’s Farm Shop and Café (0.5km off route) to stock up on delicious homemade pies and pastries for your journey. Right next door is Little Valley Brewery – pop into their Brewery shop to hear all about their beers, made with 100% organic ingredients.


On the route, you’ll pass by Cragg Road, known to be the longest continuous ascent in England (climbing 968 feet over 5.5 miles!), and walk around the stunning Withens Clough Reservoir. At some point, the Calderdale Way will cross paths with the Pennine Way, and here is a great spot to stop and enjoy the views over the moors and of Stoodley Pike. You’ll eventually pass through Mankinholes and then descend towards Todmorden, where an abundance of food and drink is available. You can’t miss the opulent Town Hall in the heart of the town…and you won’t regret popping into Todmorden Market, where you can enjoy local edible delights such as the award-winning Pextenament Cheese – produced less than two miles away on the Pennine hills.



Day Three: Todmorden to Hebden Bridge (9.5 miles)

Today’s route involves crossing the canal and railway as you leave Todmorden, passing the spectacular Gauxholme Viaduct as you go. Then comes a long steep climb from Todmorden up to the isolated hamlet of Blackshaw Head, enjoying stunning views of Stoodley Pike on the horizon as you go. The stone clapper bridge at Hebble Hole is a delightful place to enjoy a picnic, and even have a paddle in the stream! Follow ancient causey stone paths as you make your way towards Heptonstall – an ancient historic village and hidden gem in Calderdale. Enjoy Heptonstall’s quiet charm as you meander along its cobbled streets, before visiting some of its key attractions, such as the St. Thomas a Beckett church ruins, Sylvia Plath’s grave within the Heptonstall Church graveyard, the unusual Heptonstall Octagonal Chapel, and Heptonstall Museum (open Thursdays – Saturdays).


Here you have three choices, you could choose to stay in Heptonstall where there are several establishments to stay overnight and eat and drink; carry on a bit further along the route and stay at Robin Hood Inn – a 17th century coaching inn in the hilltop village of Pecket Well; or use the Calderdale Way link path to take the opportunity to explore the renowned Hebden Bridge, known for its bohemian charm, artisan shops and pretty canal-side walks. For a low cost overnight stay, there’s the option of Hebden Bridge Hostel, an independent self-catering hostel run by creative arts organisation IOU.



Day Four: Hebden Bridge to Shibden Valley (approx. 15 miles)

If you have chosen to stay over in Hebden Bridge, follow the Calderdale Way link path up to Old Town and then onto Allswell Equestrian Centre – a 2.5 mile detour which will allow you to rejoin the main Calderdale Way path. Today’s route involves mainly walking along the moorland edge, and provides wonderful views over the Calder Valley, as well as opportunities for spotting upland birds in the spring and summer.  Enjoy fine views up Luddenden Valley, and then slowly descend towards Jerusalem Farm Nature Reserve, taking the time to make the 250m detour to Bob’s pop up tea and cake shop – if you happen to be there when they are open on a weekend!


Along the route towards Brockholes, you can also find the Cat I’th’ Well pub (0.5km off route) and the Moorlands Inn pub, where you may want to stop for a pub lunch. Once you’re fed and watered, it’s time to carry on towards Shibden Valley – on your way you’ll pass by the 17th century hamlet of Holdsworth, and the Carolean mansion Scout Hall (built in 1680), before making your way through Shibden Beck.


You have the option to finish today’s route slightly sooner by treating yourself to a night’s stay at Holdsworth House Hotel and Restaurant – a luxury, family-owned 17th Century Jacobean manor house amid stunning, secluded gardens. Or, you could use the Calderdale Way link path to make your way to the Shibden Mill Inn – a 17th century inn nestled in the beautiful Shibden Valley, which boasts a renowned restaurant featured in the Michelin Guide 2024. Either way, you’ll be well fed, watered and rested, and ready to set out on the home straight on your final day!




Day Five: Shibden Valley to Brighouse (8.5 miles)

Your last day involves a varied and intricate route where urban sections are counterbalanced by some delightful walking through the open fields in between villages, as well as the charming, wooded valleys of Shibden Dale and Wood Fall Beck. You’ll pass through the village of Shelf, where you’ll have several options for temporarily resting your weary legs. You could take a seat on the ‘Stone Chair’, a grade II listed monument dating from 1891, originally erected by pub landlord William Clayton as a bench for those waiting outside for the stagecoach. Or you could stop for a drink at either the Duke of York pub, or the Bottomley Arms (the latter being just 150m off route).


As you carry onto Norwood Green, you’ll cross Wood Fall Beck (don’t forget to count all 117 of the 99 steps!) and there’s also an option to make a detour to check out the impressive waterfall at Kester Hole, another fantastic hidden gem in Calderdale. In Norland Green, notice the Ellis Memorial Clock Tower (built in 1897 to commemorate the Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee), and there’s the Old White Beare pub if you’re in need of a pit stop. As you near the end of your journey, take in great views of Brighouse, before you drop down once again into the town centre, and to the canal basin…where the Calderdale Way route officially ends.


You did it! Give yourself a MASSIVE pat on the back – time to go and celebrate with a hearty meal in Brighouse, before making your way home!





Further Information

For comprehensive information on the route, please visit the Heart of the Pennines website, which includes mobile friendly descriptions of each leg, PDF downloadable files, up to date bus details, and more information on facilities and points of interest. It also provides details on the thirteen link paths that give you access to the main route, with starting points that are all served by public transport. The link paths make it possible to undertake circular walks, completing the Calderdale Way in shorter sections.


We also recommend purchasing the highly informative and eye-catching Calderdale Way Map guide, produced by local cartographer Chris Goddard. This hand-drawn guide breaks the route down into five manageable sections, with detailed notes on public transport, parking, refreshments along the route. There is also a wealth of information and sketches about local history, wildlife and folklore.