Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley are full of opportunities to explore the old and the new, the wild and the wonderful.
Dramatic hills, rivers, waterfalls and wooded valleys are on the doorstep as is the friendly market town of Hebden Bridge. Our town is famous for its literary connections, LGBTQ community and its pubs, restaurants, coffee houses, independent shops and cinema, canal and marina. We could go on but ultimately we hope you are going to come and experience it all for yourselves.
The Hostel is centrally located in Hebden Bridge in the borough of Calderdale, with a fast-growing reputation as a thriving arts community and cultural centre. 20 mins drive or train ride away takes you to Halifax with the 18th century Piece Hall and Dean Clough with its focus on contemporary art across six galleries – including IOU’s own Studio, Gallery & Workshop. Alternatively, Todmorden is close by with a burgeoning food scene.
Set in the South Pennines, Hebden Bridge is surrounded by footpaths, bridleways and historic packhorse trails that cut across the valley from the tops of the moors to rivers running through the valley bottom.
The landscape offers something for all levels of ability, whether you are looking for a gentle walk or stopping over in the town as part of a longer trail ride.
For help in planning your adventures
Footpaths and trails cross the valley bottom and wooded sides with waymarked walks for all ability -plus the tea rooms and exhibitions at Gibson Mill
All you need to know when planning a walk on the Pennine Way
A great guide to walking in Calderdale
The industrial heritage of the Calder Valley is seen in its hills, on the pack horse trails and derelict chimneys, in the canals linking Manchester and Leeds, and its prosperity shown in the architecture of its towns
In recent years more of the historical commercial mills, warehouses and factories have been reimagined into thriving centres for small businesses, tourism and the arts.
Places not to be missed
The Piece Hall for independent shops and restaurants
Dean Clough for contemporary art galleries, The Design Shop and Northern Broadsides Theatre
Salts Mill to see David Hockney digital artworks and browse the large book shop
The Rochdale Canal – for a walk or a canal boat ride through locks and mill towns
Hebden Bridge and Todmorden are home to literally hundreds of artists and craftspeople who have set up studios and workspaces in the old mills and buildings of the town centres.
From jewellery to print making, sculpture and ceramics, there are regular Open Studio days and Art Fairs all year round.
Good places to check what’s on
There are also many galleries stocking local artists and holding regular exhibitions
The Calder Valley landscape and the people who have lived and worked here have long inspired creativity in writers and artists.
The valley was home to poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, who is buried in Heptonstall Churchyard. Hughes’s home at Lumb Bank is now an Arvon Writing Center.
Author Benjamin Myers lives in the valley and is best know for his historical fiction The Gallows Pole about the Cragg Vale Coiners. Filming took place around the valley and in Heptonstall for the BBC drama based on his book which is due out in 2023.
There are many more literary references and film locations around Calderdale, and of course just a short drive or easy bus ride away is Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage
There is no shortage of chances to enjoy live music during your stay in the Calder Valley- literally there is something for everyone almost every night of the week
From acoustic and folk to live bands and international DJs – you only have to take a look at the listings from the region’s venue to get an idea of the scope of what’s on offer.
Hebden Bridge Trades Club – an iconic venue and BBC 6 Music favourite which hosts local open mic nights through to legendary artists such as Patti Smith and the Fall.
The Golden Lion, Todmorden – an eclectic mix of folk, psychedelia and DJ’s including David Holmes, Goldie and Jarvis Cocker
The Grayston Unity, Halifax – considered one if not the smallest venue in the UK the Grayston puts on a mix of live music and spoken word events
If you are planning ahead it’s also worth looking at the Live at The Piece Hall’s summer concert programme which for 2023 includes James, Madness and Sting.
The Hebden Bridge Brass band plays regularly at events in the town and their concerts are listed on their FaceBook page.