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Any changes in the town?

From Pip Neal

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Hello, my name is Pip Neal, a retired and rather disabled gentleman from Reading in Berkshire.

A few years ago we had the pleasure of visiting Hebden Bridge and fell in love with it. We were supposed to be up there for a week but I was taken ill and we had to return home after 3 days.

We visited that tourist shop/cafe with the screw water lift.

In what I would call 'the square' was an amazing monument. On the corner of that square was a wonderful bakers shop which sold the best savoury (cornish) pasties ever.

Because we had to meet a deadline we didn't have time to look around for good accommodation.

We ended up in a house up a steep hill, a few miles away opposite a wonderful pub which you went across a bridge to. They did brilliant meals but I can't remember the name of the pub. Has the pandemic damaged the town's business in any way?

Despite being 300 miles away we would love to visit you again but is that baker's shop still in business? We loved those pasties so much that we filled the car up before we left and froze some when we got home.

Has there been any changes in the town? Let me know,


From Jewel Chadwick

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Hello Pip. Just thought I should reply so you wouldn't think us all too ignorant! It's not that visitors aren't welcome but there are very many steep hills, streams and bridges round here so afraid for assistance, names or maps are needed. We also now have lots of guest houses which have meant many changes for our old down-to-Earth northern communities. 

70 years back, we used to come up from Maidenhead visiting family when there were just wild moors scattered with old cottages and huge bright mills along shady valleys with endless rows of workers' terraced cottages in marshy bottoms. But seemed to see a cheery Xmas tree in every window. I was entranced by the magic of the moors and longed to live in a cosy cottage.  

So this is where we came to have babies - who sadly now live 1000s miles off with no desire to return!

It's good to hear you were still attracted by its staunch character and saw beauty in our wild countryside as well as quaint little oddity suppliers. Hebden Bridge has now lost its mills into tourist attractions and the blackened old homes bulldozed or become Air B&Bs. This may increase our attraction to those used to more southerly settings - w/e pub custom certainly seems to thrive on stag parties & like which has fast-changed the place's character towards almost cosmopolitan. 

Of course Covid has put paid to such jollies with many businesses changing hands or going under - recent focus here has been on offcumdens' trade but old local shops too have suffered. Lots of visitors seem to get stuck at the Square & Wavy Steps so you did well to go exploring beyond.

And I do know how tiring now is remembering names ;) You might like looking at some maps to connect with our whole Upper Calder Valley and local history eg. Pennine Heritage from the Birchcliffe, old Baptist Chapel. 
So do hope you manage to make the 220 miles - you'll be welcome and it'll be worth it.  

From Michael Prior

Friday, 28 January 2022

Hi Pip. On YouTube, Nigel of NigglePics has a lot of videos he has done about changes in and around Hebden. Worth looking at.

From Andy M

Saturday, 29 January 2022

 Hi Pip. The pub you visited was probably the Stubbing Wharf  - it's the only one I can think of with a bridge to it! - but it's only just outside the main town.

A few businesses have sadly gone but, thanks to the visitor and tourist trade, many  have survived and Hebden Bridge is well placed to take advantage of the increase in UK based holidays! 

From Gideon Foster

Monday, 31 January 2022

Hi Pip. The pub you refer to, could have been a place called the New Delight at Colden. It's a few miles up the hill, out of Hebden Bridge.