‘Glastonbury of the North’, Hebden Bridge has been dubbed;
‘Fourth funkiest town in the World’, the ‘Coolest place to live in Britain‘ and
‘One of the best places in the UK for quirky, independent local shops’.
There’s a vibrant music, arts and alternative scene
and one of the densest networks of footpaths in the country.
Protected by the National Trust, Hardcastle Crags is a wooded wonderland.
If you’ve never been to Hebden Bridge it’s in West Yorkshire;
you’ll find it on the Leeds-Manchester trainline;
it’s at the tail-end of the Pennines;
has double-decker houses and a fascinating industrial heritage,
an abundance of waterways, old mills and wooded valleys.
The canal is thriving with colourful narrowboats and towpath pubs;
the hills are steep, there are still cobbled streets; the moors of the Brontes are close by
and high above Hebden lies Sylvia Plath‘s grave.
Flowing through the centre of town is the river over which the Packhorse Bridge passes.
There’s an independent Picture House, a myriad cafes, weekly and monthly flea and farmers’ markets;
a town square with buskers, real ale pubs, a wine bar, a milk bar and handicrafts galore.
Apparently we’re the lesbian capital of Britain; there’s certainly Bohemian flair in the air.
We’re a thriving Fairtrade Town and believe in Transition.
We’ve a community wind turbine at Blackshawhead.
Incredible Edible is based just up the road in Todmorden and
Mytholmroyd was the birthplace of poet laureate Ted Hughes.
Nearby Heptonstall, with its wee stone weavers’ cottages, is steeped in history and myth.
Hebweb is our online forum; Calder Valley Plain Speaker our eco heart.
The Trades Club is our legendary music venue, The Town Hall our meeting space.
Treesponsibility aims to keep us forested and climate-resilient.
Hebden Bridge Hostel, aka Mama Weirdigans, gives you the chance to stay a few days, so
Come and see…
And from the intrepid chroniclers of travellers’ truth at the
Urban Repairs Club:
“Although famous for its counter-culture of “hippies”, new agers, artists, socialists and anarchists, Hebden Bridge also benefits from standing at the crossroads of two other huge English sub-cultures: canal narrowboating and long-distance hiking, as represented by intersection of the Rochdale Canal and the Pennine Way.
It refuels all with real ale at its freehouse pubs, or with tea and cake at its various cafes. All these sub-cultures, and Hebden Bridge itself, seem to stand resolutely outside corporate-dominated clone town culture. Paradoxically, it’s also the free market as it was meant to be – full of independent traders and small businesses, offering choice to a well-informed consumer, rather than corporate mega-monsters brow-beating the flock into the overconsumption of trash.
The historic thread running through Hebden Bridge seems to be nonconformism: in the sense that whatever one’s precise theology and ritual today, be it indie bands, motorbikes, narrowboat living, or the healing power of moorland hikes, the unifying characteristic is an independence from the diet the modern-day established church of the corporate media is dishing up.
This version of the Pennine mill town is comfortable in its own cultural skin, and is thriving. Both traditional and radical, occasionally boisterous – a southern phoney could still get thumped if they misbehaved too badly, one feels – Hebden Bridge is a template for regeneration that is attracting increasing national attention (a flurry of interest from the media has surrounded the publication of Paul Barker’s Hebden Bridge – A Sense of Belonging).”