Places

Hebden Bridge

Discover Hebden Bridge

Wander the creative, bohemian streets of Hebden Bridge, and you can feel the influence of the writers and artists who flocked to the town around the 70s and 80s.

From artisan shops and inspiring galleries to organic pavement cafés and charming picture houses, the town is justifiably proud of its artistic identity. Just a few minutes away you will find pretty wooded valleys and picturesque heather moorland.

Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum (HBDAF) has published a map of accessible routes around Hebden Bridge Centre, showing wheelchair friendly pavements, accessible toilets, bus stops and parking spaces and you can view this map here.

About Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge is a market town in the Upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. It is 8 miles west of Halifax and 14 miles north-east of Rochdale, at the confluence of the River Calder and the Hebden Water.

The town is the largest settlement in the civil parish of Hebden Royd.

History of Hebden Bridge

The original settlement was the hilltop village of Heptonstall.

Hebden Bridge (Heptenbryge) started as a settlement where the Halifax to Burnley packhorse route dropped into the valley and crossed the River Hebden where the old bridge (from which it gets its name) stands.

The name Hebden comes from the Anglo-Saxon Heopa Denu, 'Bramble (or possibly Wild Rose) Valley'.

Steep hills with fast-flowing streams and access to major wool markets meant that Hebden Bridge was ideal for water-powered weaving mills and the town developed during the 19th and 20th centuries; at one time Hebden was known as "Trouser Town" because of the large amount of clothing manufacturing.

Watercolour artist Thomas Frederick Worrall, who lived in nearby Pecket Well, depicted the mills in around 1900.

Drainage of the marshland, which covered much of the Upper Calder Valley before the Industrial Revolution, enabled construction of the road which runs through the valley.

Before it was built, travel was only possible via the ancient packhorse route which ran along the hilltop, dropping into the valleys wherever necessary.

The wool trade was served by the Rochdale Canal (running from Sowerby Bridge to Manchester) and the Manchester & Leeds Railway (later the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway) (running from Leeds to Manchester and Burnley).

Hebden Bridge also grew to include a Picture House (seating 500) and offices for Hebden Bridge Urban District Council.

Hebden Bridge has no swimming pool, although for some years there was a small training pool for children in the adult education centre on Pitt Street.

Hebden Bridge had its own cooperative society but during the 1960s, it was defrauded and went bankrupt. The old Co-op building became a hotel and was later converted into flats. The Co-op returned in the 1980s with a supermarket on Market Street, on the site of an old mill.

During the Second World War Hebden Bridge was designated a "reception area" and took in evacuees from industrial cities.

During the 1970s and 1980s the town saw an influx of artists, writers, photographers, musicians, alternative practitioners, teachers, Green and New Age activists and more recently, wealthier 'yuppie' types. This in turn saw a boom in tourism to the area.

During the 1990s Hebden Bridge became a dormitory town, due to its proximity to major towns and cities both sides of the Pennines and its excellent rail links to Manchester, Bradford and Leeds.

On 6 July 2003, Hebden Bridge was granted Fairtrade Zone status. On 6 July 2014, Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France, from York to Sheffield, passed through the town.