On Wednesday 19th August we met at Leeds station for a mystery outing. Olivia was in charge and greeted the 14 adventurers for her day trip which started with the high drama of a coffee spill which caused a small incident near the ticket office. All was swiftly cleared up by the station staff but Elizabeth had to spend the day with a coffee smelling handbag.
Next we boarded an earlier train than the one Olivia had in mind – it went a different route so there was a little panic as we passed stations that were not expected. However, all was well and we arrived at the lovely begonia decorated Hebden Bridge station in the sunshine. Hebden Bridge is a market town which forms part of Hebden Royd in West Yorkshire. It is in the Upper Calder Valley, 8 miles west of Halifax and 14 miles north-east of Rochdale, at the confluence of the River Calder and the River Hebden.
At the station we relaxed at the outside tables and enjoyed the Parcel Office café refreshments whilst browsing the Hebden Bridge tourist information brochure and notice boards. Here is a short description of the town:
• Hebden Bridge is on the Yorkshire side of the Pennine Hills. Not long ago, it was a small mill town producing wool and woollen goods. By the end of the sixties, the town was in bad shape. Shops were empty and blocks of terraced houses were being pulled down.
• During the seventies and eighties the town was repopulated by a motley mixture of artists, writers, photographers, musicians, alternative practitioners, teachers, green and New Age activists and more recently, wealthier yuppy types. The area has a rich literary history. The Brontë sisters wrote their famous novels just a few miles away in Haworth, the American poet, Sylvia Plath is buried at Heptonstall on the hill overlooking Hebden Bridge and the poet laureate, Ted Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd, two miles away.
The crocodile line of After 8’s set off from the station for a walk along the canal. The route from the station passes a large park, which was busy with parents and children enjoying the summer holidays, and the town centre which has a good mixture of independent shops and businesses. Further along the canal path we were fortunate to watch an extremely competant narrowboat captain, negotiating his boat through only one open lock gate. Most impressive.
The weather was sunny and warm and we stopped at Stubbings Wharf pub for a sit in the sunshine before heading into the town to look for a lunch spot. After a little debate we settled on a Turkish restaurant where the staff were very pleased to serve so many customers at lunchtime. Everyone enjoyed their choices from the menu and we were in good spirits when we left to explore the town. Unfortunately, the rain came and our explorations were curtailed by the downpour so we didn’t get to Hardcastle Crags – Britain’s “Little Switzerland”, a beautiful wooded valley owned by The National Trust. or Heptonstall an outstanding example of a Pennine hill village above Hebden Bridge.
Undaunted we returned to the station and travelled back to Leeds on a crowded train but in good spirits having enjoyed a day out in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge.
Thank you Olivia !