Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge – an environmental and social context

On the journey from the hill-tops to the river bottoms of the upper Calder valley, the place names you encounter – Cock Hill, Black Pit, Stoodley Pike, Blue Pig, Summit Tunnel, Millers Grave, Old Chamber, Bell Hole, Egypt Farm, Long Causeway, Milk Churn Joan, Tom Bell’s Cave, Solomon’s Backside, Neck End and Jowler – possess a rugged poetry, which speaks of human endeavour from the Mesolithic to the medieval, and from the industrial revolution to the information super-highway.

The Doomsday Book refers to isolated local farmsteads. Saxton’s 1577 Map of Yorkshire records Midgley, Heptonstall, Erringden and Ewood as places of settled habitation, whilst Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Todmorden are not even mentioned.

Although a corn-mill began operating in the Fourteenth Century (on the site now occupied by ‘Innovations’), Hebden Bridge owes its growth to the burgeoning textile trade and the development of trade routes in the form of pack horse trails, turnpike roads, the Rochdale Canal and the railway. Over the past three centuries, the local economy has changed from mixed farming and family textile businesses through mill and factory production to tourism and the creative industries.

From grand collective movements – such as Methodism, Chartism and the Co-operative Societies – to more individualistic initiatives represented by the hippies, sexuality choices and alternative therapies, Hebden Bridge has a deep-seated tradition of promoting humane alternatives to the excesses of unfettered economic forces. This tradition continues in our status as a Fair Trade and environmentally conscious town.

The current occupants of the valley live in an environment shaped by its previous inhabitants and, in their turn, shape that environment for their descendants. We believe that the richness of local voices expressing their thoughts, feelings and experiences of change, constitute a valuable resource for the present and future inhabitants of the upper Calder Valley and beyond.

About Us

Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

Get in touch

Pennine Heritage Ltd.
The Birchcliffe Centre
Hebden Bridge

Phone: 01422 844450
Contact Us