Carols in the Square
Christmas Eve, 2001

Hundreds braved the wintry wind and rain this evening for the annual carol singing in St. George's Square. There were more people than ever for this popular event, spilling over into the road at both ends of the square. Atheists, agnostics and people of differing religious persuasions all singing side by side. Music supplied by the Hebden Bridge Junior Band.

Primary School results, 2001
Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Hebden Bridge’s Riverside School’s continued success is shown in the Primary School results published by the DFES today. For the 4th year running, Riverside has dramatically improved its results in the Keystage Two tests. 87% of pupils received level 4 or above at English, 89% at Maths and 92% in Science.

Added together these results give Riverside a score of 268 which is nearly 40 points better than last year and 35 points above the national average. (53 eligible for the KS2 tests)

More Riverside details from the DFES site

Results from Hebden Royd at Mytholm were English (80%), Maths (80%) and Science (100%) giving a score of 260 down slightly from last year’s 285. (20 eligible for the KS2 tests) More details from the DFES site

Local hilltop schools continued to do well. 11 pupils at Old Town gained 273 points for their school and 15 pupils at Colden gained 287 points.

Ted Hughes Centre - latest
From Piers Jackson
Tuesday, December 4, 2001

A centre to celebrate the life and work of former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes in his birthplace of Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, has come a step closer following publication of a new report.

A Pre-feasibility Study commissioned by Royd Regeneration and Calderdale Council and prepared by Brighouse development consultants Jackson Quigg Associates, recommends that the project move to full feasibility to test in detail where such a centre should be and if there is a strong enough business case to take it forward.

The initial study concentrated on examining the former Railway Station building in Mytholmroyd, with Leeds-based Bauman Lyons Architects drawing up outline sketch schemes for how the building might be used. The building is derelict and is in the Mytholmroyd conservation area of New Road for which there are detailed regeneration plans.

Jackson Quigg carried out a consultation process to determine levels of interest and support from the family of Ted Hughes, from his publisher, from a number of universities, and from statutory bodies like Yorkshire Arts, the Arts Council and local authority.

The project already has the possibility of some capital funding. English Heritage - Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS) has provisionally offered 93,000 each year for the next 3 years for Mytholmroyd including the station, and the Railway Heritage Trust has offered 45K towards renovating the station building.

Alan Brooks, Chair of Royd Regeneration and a founder member of the steering group for a Ted Hughes Centre said: "Ted Hughes lived in Mytholmroyd until he was eight, and the Calder Valley provided enormous inspiration for his poetry. It seems only fitting that we should celebrate his life and work here in his birthplace with a centre that could help inspire future generations to experience his work and relate to it in its Pennine setting".

"We would hope to provide study and research space, with exhibitions and artefacts, a bookshop and a cafe/restaurant. It may also be possible to move Mytholmroyd Library into the building if additionally we are able to develop space underneath the railway arch."

Mr Brooks continued: "We now need to take the project forward by consulting with local people and carrying out more detailed research to decide whether or not the Railway Station building is the right place for a centre, exactly what should go into it and how it would be financed and run. Expressions of interest have been very positive, and although there is a long way to go we believe a Ted Hughes Centre would be a great success."

Expressions of interest have come from as far afield as Australia, and the Hughes family have firmly supported the idea in principle.

"We will of course keep the family fully informed about our plans," added Mr Brooks. "We are very pleased to have their backing and hope we can develop a centre that matches their aspirations and those of the many people who have enjoyed Ted Hughes' writing."

The study was funded by grants from Calderdale Council Millennium Cultural Activity, Yorkshire Forward and Hebden Royd Town Council.

Calder High GCSE Results
Thursday, November 22, 2001

The Secondary School Performance tables were published by the Government today. Calder High's GCSE results fell a disappointing four percentage points. Only 44% of students taking GCSEs achieved grades A-C compared with 48% last year. The national average is 50% and the average for Calderdale as a whole is 49%. Calder High now ranks 10 out of the 18 secondary schools in Calderdale compared with 7th place last year. Why is a well-respected school with a very good catchment area not performing better?

'A' level results are also slightly down from last year at 19.3 points per pupil (2000 - 19.5, 1999. 22.4). Many local students do not stay at Calder High for their 'A' levels but go on to other local colleges. Many commute to Greenhead College in Huddersfield which is this year the second best performing college in the country at A level with pupils averaging 25.2 points.

Next year's results should be particularly interesting because the performance tables are going to have a "value-added" dimension showing how well students at secondary schools have performed when compared to how they performed at primary school.

Source: DFES page for Calder High - GCSE
DFES page for Calder High - A level

Any comments? Use the Hebweb Discussion Forum

Calder Homes Development
Thursday, November 22, 2001

Calder Homes

Plans have been drawn up to develop Calder Homes Park. These include a skateboard park, cycle route, coach parking, performance are and landscaping. The plans have been drawn up by the local councils and the Youth Action Cafe of Hangingroad Lane.

Flower beds will be replanted and there will be selective removal and replacement of trees. A footpath will be laid and there will be bench seating which will all be lit at night. The football pitch will remain but the old gasometer site will become a coach park, for use by vehicles at events like the annual bonfire and carnival. A cycle route will also run through the site which will mean pedestrians and cyclists are separated.

Funding is still being sought.

London Peace Demonstration
London demo

Hebden Bridge protestors and banner - part of a full coachload who travelled to London last Sunday for the demonstration against the war - click here to see photo enlarged and for details of local peace activities

Peace Activities

Peace activities and workshops thoughout
Hebden Bridge, Sunday, October 28
Local peace activities: latest

Views sought on proposed Ted Hughes Centre
Wednesday, October 24, 2001

From Piers Jackson
Brighouse, UK
Wednesday, October 24, 2001
Ted Hughes Centre

My company, Jackson Quigg Associates, has been asked by Calderdale Council in West Yorkshire and Royd Regeneration, the agency in Mytholmroyd, Ted Hughes' birthplace near Halifax, to investigate the potential for setting up a Ted Hughes Centre there.

The project is at an early stage and I would welcome comments from anyone who might be interested in the establishment of such a centre.

For example, what would its purpose be? Could it link in to centres of study which have connections with his work, or indeed hold archives which could be loaned for special exhibitions? What about links with the Sylvia Plath Society and Bronte Society? Should it encourage school visits at all levels? Is Mytholmroyd a good place to have such a centre (bearing in mind its position in the Calder Valley!)? Would a cafe/restaurant be a good idea?

We would be grateful if people would consider this and give us their views. We are investigating the old Railway Station building in Mythomlroyd to see if it might be suitable, and will be reporting back soon on our initial research.

Thanks in advance to anyone who feels moved to contribute.

Piers Jackson
Jackson Quigg Associates
46b Bradford Road
West Yorkshire

Peace Vigil
Sunday, 23rd September 2001
Peace Vigil
Alice Mahon, MP, St George's Square

Hundreds joined the Peace Vigil in St George's Square this afternoon. The meeting was addressed by Alice Mahon, MP for Halifax who said that not only must terrorism be stopped but also the causes of terrorism. She explained that she had been against the Gulf War and the bombing of Iraq, and that thousands of children were dying in Iraq every year because of the continued sanctions. It was agreed that on the occasion of hostilities starting, a further vigil would take place at 6pm in the square.
Peace Vigil

Special Needs Home closes

The Closure of Ashworth House

On Friday 14 th, September 2001, the only residential unit for children with Special Needs in the Calder Valley, closed. There were four children who lived there. One has been taken back to Leeds. The other three have been sent to live at Linden Brook until Social Services open another residential unit. This, apparently, may take over three months to set up. The parents who will use Linden Brook will be aware of the implication of this news.

There are seven beds at Linden Brook and if three of them are used for residential; there are only four beds to share for all the children in the Calder Valley.

Respite care may be cancelled for some children. Jennie Kerwood, mother of Jonathan, aged 12 and one of the children affected by the closure of Ashworth House, has told the Hebden Bridge Web that if people want to support the parents and carers in the Calder Valley, they could send a letter and send to Calderdale Social Services at The Director of Social Services, Calderdale Social Services, Horsfall House, Skircoat Moor Rd., Halifax. HX3 OHJ

A suggested wording of the letter would be: I firmly believe that Calderdale should have a residential unit for children with Special Needs. Linden Brook should not be used for residential care and I believe that Social Services should establish a residential children’s unit as a matter of urgency.

On Wednesday 26th. September there is an open day held by Social Services Children with Disabilities Team. This meeting is open to all parents of children with Special Needs. Jennoe is urging people to go along and question Social Services about their plans for a residential unit for children in the Calder Valley. The open day is held at the Shay, Halifax. It will last all day.

Mytholmroyd Gala
Nutclough closure plans accepted by Calderdale
Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Yesterday evening, Calderdale councillors granted permission for the conversion of the popular Nutclough pub into housing. This was in spite of the opposition to the plans by Hebden Royd Council who argued that its loss would cause damage to the tourist industry, and that the landlord had not effectively marketed the pub. The pub will be converted into two houses.


Several pubs have closed in the area in the past few years and the neighbouring Nutclough Tavern has been closed now for six months. So far these have been mainly pubs outside Hebden Bridge centre - the Mount Skip, top Shoulder of Mutton and The Woodman. More details..

If you have views about this proposed closure, make use of the Hebweb Discussion Forum.

Tougher Line on Mobile Phone Masts Welcomed
Calderdale Council's new policy on the siting of mobile phone masts on
council land has been welcomed by Councillor Jane Brown (Liberal Democrat -

Councillor Mrs Brown said: "The new policy should mean more consultation
with councillors and members of the public about the siting of these masts".

"In addition, no masts should be erected on council owned land within 100
metres of schools or other buildings where children are present"

Councillor Mrs Brown continued: "I first got involved with this some years
ago when Orange wished to put up a mast off Heights Road near Midgley and
there have been a number of other sites I have objected to since. I have
been pressing the council for some time to adopt tougher policies and I am
pleased that it now has."

"Planning rules have been changed to bring some of these masts under tighter
control but there are still many instances where planning permission is not
needed. This has led to communities feeling powerless to object to the
siting of masts".

"Even though I welcome the Council's new policy, this will only apply to
council-owned land and I will still be lobbying for tighter planning
controls to be introduced as has happened recently in Scotland"

Observer Features Hebden Bridge and Cragg Vale
Today's Observer has two large features on our area. One is about the lesbian community: "Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire has been outed as the Sapphic capital of Britain."

"Ever since hippies turned Hebden Bridge into a counter-culture paradise after it was abandoned by a desperate population of redundant mill workers in the early Sixties, the whole Upper Valley has seen wave after wave of idealistic incomers."

"In the early Seventies the blackened faades of local millhouses were scrubbed clean of their industrial past and remarketed to a middle-class population eager to reproduce the Good Life lifestyle within easy reach of Leeds and Manchester."

"The less affluent lesbian contingent began making tentative forays into the area in the early Eighties"

Read the article online

The other article is by Hebden Bridge journalist Andrew Bibby and describes community attempts to buy the Robin Hood at Cragg Vale:

"The Robin Hood may live again, however, if a group of campaigners in Cragg Vale are successful in raising 200,000 or so in shares to purchase the premises. They have set up a company, Merrymen Ltd, and a serious search is now under way to find enough fellow merry men and women who are prepared to invest at least 2,000 apiece in the embryonic venture."

Read the article online

If you have thoughts about these articles write to the Discussion Forum

Riverside Festival 2001
Riverside Music Festival
- see more photos from an excellent weekend of music in the park, 14th and 15th July

Crags re-opened on Tuesday 10th July. If you have views about the prolonged closure, you may wish to read the comments in our Discussion Forum, and perhaps add your own.

Market Street goes Organic
Friday, July 13, 2001

Until recently, if you weren't a member of of the organic food coop run by Caroline Duke, it was very hard to find any fresh organic fruit and vegetables in Hebden Bridge. This month, two organic veg shops have opened in Market Street. First came Valley Garden Organics, and then this weekend we now have Organic House.

For the past 14-15 years, hundreds of people have bought organic food from Caroline and her helpers one day a week. Her business is now passing to Heidi and Ellie who have opened the new Organic House.

With the Alternative Technology Centre just around the corner, Hebden Bridge is rapidly becoming a green centre of the north.

Stoodley Pike celebration for re-opening of paths
Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Walk to Stoodley Pike

Yesterday evening, about 30 walkers, 20 runners and several bottles of champagne made it to Stoodley Pike. This was a walk to celebrate the re-opening of Calderdale's footpaths

Nutclough Mill Tree Huggers
Friday, June 29, 2001
From Paul, Debby and Kate - residents of the Nutclough.

The tree fellers

In effect our small and probably unorganised - but spontaneous protest, has not saved the trees in the destruction of the wooded area a joining Nutclough Mill - it is now to be a car park. We woke up on Wednesday morning to the sound of bulldozers and smashing vegetation - we knew nothing about these plans and apparently other local people who were around at the time were also unaware.

It happened very quickly without time to organise - democracy and the planning application process is a complete farce.

Planning was approved in 1996 - they had one month left to complete this work. this has involved tearing up and destroying the area in a swift and abrupt manner.

We thank the people who did support us - but we were not enough. However, the local papers were interested and came to talk (we'll see what they report??)

The vandals

Have you a view on this. Use our discussion forum

Hebden Royd Partnership
Wednesday, June 27, 2001

The recently formed Hebden Royd Partnership, is aiming to bring together the views of the whole community in order to obtain a united effort for its future benefit. The aim is to prepare an agreed strategic approach and direction in order that our area can present a clear statement of its future needs and seek the external support and funding to achieve them. The Partnership will be an enabling organisation bringing community interests together to support each other, so that all become stronger and each is better able to develop its particular interest to the collective benefit of the whole area. Read all about the partnership at their new website, and maybe contribute your suggestions.

After the Floods, the Forest
Friday, June 15, 2001

The Hebden Bridge Web has received the following news item from the Treesponsibility group.

The devastating floods which hit our valley in June 2000 highlight the risks we could face as the climate changes.

"After the Floods, the Forest" is a tree-planting project which aims to minimize the amount of run-off and future flash flooding by reafforestation of the eroding valley sides close to the Watershed. We want to make the area safer, cleaner, and greener, for future generations.

We have been offered a large hillside site at Midgelden Pasture, off the Bacup Road, where we hope to establish six hectares of community woodland, with native tree species - birch, alder, rowan, hawthorn and oak.

We hope to plant 10,000 trees before Spring 2001, which will be a big challenge for us, so we are asking people to join us and help. If you, your group, or your school would like to get involved, please contact the Treesponsibility group on 01422 843222.

More info

Nutclough to close?
Tuesday, June 12, 2001

The owners of the popular Nutclough pub, Keighley Road, HB, have applied for planning permission to change the pub into two houses. A report in this evening's Courier say that owners Andy and Pat Brown says there are no immediate plans to close the pub but wish to keep their options open. The fall in trade was blamed upon Foot and Mouth restrictions and the loss of tourist trade. Regular readers of the Hebweb news will be only too aware that several pubs have closed in the area in the past few years. So far these have been pubs outside Hebden Bridge centre - the Mount Skip, top Shoulder of Mutton and The Woodman. More details.

Countryside closes

Crags and paths may re-open this week
Monday, May 21, 2001

The Hebden Bridge Web has been forwarded part of a letter to the Tod Harriers received 1st June from Calderdale Council:

"The Government is recommending that it is no longer necessary for the local authority to close any rights of way within the Borough and even the very small risks of path users spreading FMD can be reduced still further if users behave responsibly. A new user code has been published to encourage this.

The Council has discussed this advice with representatives of the NFU, the CLA and the Moorland Association and, provided the outbreak at Settle and Sipton does not apper to be spreading towards Calderdale, it was agreed that the reopoening of all rights of way should be considered."

The letter goes on to say that a meeting will be held early in the week begining 4th June to decide whether or not to reopen footpaths.

The letter is from Rachel Clifford, Rights of Way Assistant, and says if you wish to contribute to the decision, contact the council by 12 noon Monday 4th June
at: tel 01422 392105
fax 01422 312193
Foot and Mouth - footpaths meeting
Monday, May 21, 2001

Chris McCafferty, who is seeking re-election as MP for Calder Valley, told a packed meeting at the Stubbing Wharfe Inn this evening she was disappointed that Hardcastle Crags was still not open and that she had written to the National Trust, the Saville Estate and Yorkshire Water asking that they re-open their land. The meeting was called to discuss the slow response locally to the re-opening of footpaths and rights of way, particularly at Hardcastle Crags and attended by many different sections of the local community including walkers, cyclists, runners, farmers and those working (and not working) in tourism.Speakers claimed there was a perception that Calderdale was dragging its heels compared with other authorities which were opening paths.

Moves to press for footpath opening were opposed by farmers - including Helen Fletcher and Tony Newsome of the NFU - who told of the "unbelievably draconian measures" to which they had to adhere.

Two representatives from the National Trust headquarters in York said they were keen for the Crags to re-open but this was not going to happen before the Spring Bank holiday. They pointed out that the recent cluster of outbreaks near Settle had thrown a question mark over the speed of re-opening paths. Many people made the point that they could see no reason why other valleys such as the Colden could be open to the public, and not the Crags. Steve Hutton, the Green candidate, said that unless the underlying factors which allowed allowed the disease to develop were tackled, it will certainly return within a few years. Other speakers pointed out that MAFF guidelines indicate that there is a great deal of this area which could now be opened.

Councillor Michael Taylor (Lib Dem) apologised to the meeting that two relevant council officers who might have attended were both on holiday. He agreed to take to the council the passed resolution that "Calderdale put more resources into the risk assessment of the re-opening of footpaths and bridleways in order that this be achieved at the earliest possible time".

Foot and Mouth - footpaths meeting
Thursday, May 17, 2001

A public meeting is to be held at the Stubbing Wharf pub in Hebden Bridge on Monday May 21 at 8.30pm.

All those interested in the outdoors - walkers, runners, cyclists - are invited.

The purpose of the meeting is to investigate the slow response locally to the re-opening of footpaths and rights of way, particularly at Hardcastle Crags.

The organisers are inviting local politicians involved in the election campaign, and officials of the National Trust and of Calderdale's countryside department.

MAFF guidelines indicate that there is a great deal of this area which could now be opened. In Cumbria they have given permission for the re-opening of the fells in certain areas which fall beyond the 3.5km distance from infected sites. These fells are likely to be open by Spring Bank Holiday.

All welcome to come and express views about the local situation.

Update: Saturday, May 19, 2001

The National Trust is to send a representative to a public meeting in Hebden Bridge on Monday night to discuss the possible re-opening of Hardcastle Crags.

The meeting was called following concerns about the slow response to MAFF guidelines on the re-opening of footpaths after the foot and mouth epidemic. Calder Valley candidates in the forthcoming general election, including Chris McCafferty MP, Michael Taylor (Lib Dem) and Steve Hutton (Green Party) have also agreed to attend

Crags - latest
Friday, May 11, 2001

Following a contribution to the Discussion Forum alleging that it was the Saville estate who were preventing the re-opening of the Crags, the Hebden Bridge Web today contacted the Warden’s Office at Hardcastle Crags to ask just what were the factors preventing the reopening and who was responsible for making the decision.

We're were told that both the Warden and the Property Manger were anxious to see the reopening of the Crags as soon as possible. Although there hadn’t been any incidents of Foot & Mouth disease in the Calder Valley, the outbreak which had occurred in Queensbury meant that it was still a "restricted area" as defined by MAFF - even though this outbreak was now weeks ago. Many other sites are re-opening from tomorrow, including Ogden Water which is much nearer the Queensbury outbreak.

The views of locals had to be taken into account before a decision could be made by the Regional Director at the York office. The "advice and agreement" of Lord Saville’s Estate and his tenant farmers are going to be sought at a meeting on Monday between the Warden and the Property Manager of the Crags. Members of the National Trust and others who wish their views to be taken into account should contact the Regional Director’s Office at 01904 702021.

Crags stays closed
Friday, May 4, 2001

In spite of the fact that footpaths are re-opening all over the country, including Devon, the National Trust this afternoon informed the Hebden Bridge Web that it has no plans to re-open Hardcastle Crags. They could not give us a date when the Crags would open but said they are reviewing the situation on a daily basis. They explained that the decision wasn't theirs alone, but one that is made in consultation with MAFF and the local council.

Leeds bans local author Tony Langham
Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Poet Eats Our Gerbils

Leeds Education Authority have told teacher and author Tony Langham that his poem about eating gerbils is not suitable for Leeds schoolchildren. They refused to distribute Mr Langham's leaflets advertising his poetry workshops for teachers and children unless the verse about gerbil cookery was removed.

Officials in the Department felt that the content of the poem, which calls for gerbils to be smothered in garlic butter or eaten en croute, might prove offensive to headteachers and upsetting for children. The verse was originally included in an anthology of "revolting nonsense poetry". Gaby Morgan, Tony’s poetry editor at Macmillan’s, who published his poem as part of an anthology of revolting nonsense poetry for children said that they had received no complaints about the book which had sold well.

Interviewed on Tuesday evening by the Hebden Bridge Web Tony, of Eton Terrace, Mytholmroyd, said that he was, "astonished by the reaction of Leeds particularly as Bradford and Kirklees Councils have accepted my publicity material without any problems." The leaflet has also gone round several schools in Halifax without any negative comments being made.

Tony feels that council officers in Leeds are seriously lacking in humour. The person who informed him of the decision to ban his poem said that whilst she had found it quite amusing her bosses were worried about the message it was sending out to young children. Tony said that he had replied, "You don’t seriously believe that I’m advocating that children should eat gerbils? You can tell your Thought Police I don’t eat gerbils. I only snack on the occasional hamster."

Tony told us that there has been a lot of media interest in this story. An article was in this morning's Yorkshire Post, and the Halifax Courier and local tv have also been in contact.

Tony’s plans for future publications include a book of Rodent Recipes in which the first item on the menu will be ratatouille. He also informed us that he has received "several threats from the Gerbil Liberation Front" who had put out a ratwah on him.

The poem:

Nothing tastes quite like a gerbil
They're small and tasty to eat
Morsels of sweet rodent protein
From whiskers to cute little feet!
You can bake them, roast them or fry them
They grill nicely or you can have them en croute
In garlic butter they are simply delicious
You can even serve them with fruit!
So you can keep your beef and your chicken
Your lamb and ham on the bone,
I'll have gerbil as my daily diet
And what's more I can breed them at home!

Tony Langham's Apocalypse Soup is available from Pennine Pens' online store

Busy Easter in HB
Monday, April 16, 2001

Easter Chick, Daffodil and Rabbit
Easter Chick, Daffodil and Rabbit
(Photo: Frances Robinson)

Hebden Bridge was packed solid today with hundreds turning out for the Duck Race. Local businesses reported good trade, and the manager of Kebcote Country Wear was quoted as saying (Courier) that it was the best Easter he had had. The Pace Egg plays on Friday were all well atended.

Local people were also cheered and relieved by the news that the suspected foot and mouth outbreak at Lumbutts was a false alarm. Tests on the slaughtered flock were negative.

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