Monday 24 August 2015

Hebden Bridge

The Yorkshire bus network is amazing – I reckon its local authority subsidy must be worth every penny. And route 500, from Keighley to Hebden Bridge, via Haworth and Oxenhope, could be a tourist attraction on its own, as it climbs up onto the moors, and then drops down sharply into Caldervale. This is Brontë country, and you can almost smell it.

Hebden Bridge itself is on the Rochdale Canal, but Erin Mae is a tad too long to cope with the locks, so we decided to visit by bus, which drops you off at the very nicely restored Victorian railway station.

The town has done a great deal to make itself highly visitable. 

The setting is stunning, the nucleus is pedestrianised, and there are a lot of independent shops. 

It has a reputation for being an artistic centre, though whether this character qualifies is debatable.

The town is named for the attractive packhorse bridge, restored a few years ago, over the River Hebden.

It's enjoyable just to look at, whichever way you do.

It's far from being the only structure of note – the millennium clock was fun without being flashy.

And then there is the canal and its associated bits and bobs. The visitor moorings have a wonderful backdrop.

Just up beyond lock 9 is the aqueduct over the Calder and some converted buildings.

Downhill there is promise of more picturesque-ness.

But among it all, there were signs that not all is as it might be. The permanent moorings were not very attractive, and one of the boats on them was keeled over at 45˚ – partially sunk. Lock 8 needed a timber construction, fairly seriously rotting in places, to support the bottom gates as the water flooded over the top.

All of which was a bit extraordinary as a notice in a converted mill in the town apologised that its water-wheel was not turning as the Environment Agency says there's not enough water in the river.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Hebden Bridge, though we know there was much more to explore. The sun came out during the day, made the journey home even more enjoyable, and topped up our batteries into the bargain. And tonight, there will be yet another visit to the Skipton Folk Club. A good day!


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