Back in 2011, Hebden Bridge was named the ‘Greatest Town in Europe‘ by The Academy of Urbanism – just one of the accolades that the West Yorkshire spot has earned over the years.
It’s been thriving for decades, starting back in the 70s when a large number of creatives moved there to live and work, attracted by the abundance of cheap housing and the beauty of the area. Recent years have seen even more people move there – with many shunning city life for something more rural out in the sticks.
If you don’t live there already, then this walk is perfect for capturing the essence of the town, taking in many of its best spots, as well as exploring the area’s history and abundant natural beauty.
Getting to Hebden Bridge from the city centre is pretty easy, there are regular trains from Victoria and it only takes 30 minutes or so. Make sure you get a window seat too because the views on the way are excellent.
Arriving at the station and you’re in the South East of the town. From here just head down over the River Calder and into the town itself. Head past Calder Holmes Park and onto the very picturesque towpath on the Rochdale Canal.
Taking a gentle stroll down the historic canal, be sure to watch out for hissing ducks and the occasional eager cyclist.
You’re going to get off the towpath at the bridge of Pennine Way and head towards Underbank Avenue. Take a right at Jumble Hole Road and you can get onto the trail that leads you up into the steep wooded valley of Jumble Hole Clough – home to some derelict old mills.
Following the river and you’ll end up at Staups Mill, which dates from the late 18th Century. Initially powered by the river and a couple of dams upstream, the mills is pretty much just entirely ruins now but make for a picturesque stop off along the route.
From here we’re going to head towards the hamlet of Jack Bridge which can be reached via Blackshaw Head and past a couple of farms and holiday spots.
Jack Bridge is home to the excellent New Delight Inn which is the perfect spot for a pint and some nuts (for energy). There’s a great outdoor bit here and they even have a campsite – although I doubt you’re going to need that right now. Not unless you’re terrible at walking and need a rest.
From Jack Bridge, you can walk down the side of the river to Heptonstall, home to another great pub – The White Lion – as well as the grave of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and novelist Sylvia Plath in the cemetery of St Thomas’ Church.
From here you can easily make your way back into Hebden Bridge and explore the town further. There’s the excellent Vocation Brewery, and the very popular Old Gate Bar & Restaurant.
I’ve also been told to let you know all about the Fox & Goose on the A646 – it’s a proper community-run co-op pub and they serve a fantastic range of real ales from microbrewers in the area.
So there you have it – a nice stroll through the delights of Hebden Bridge. There are obviously many, many more things to see and do in the surrounding areas – meaning multiple visits are probably a must.