by hebdenbridge.org.uk

Heptonstall is a village that is just outside Hebden Bridge. The Google map opposite shows Heptonstall in relation to the town of Hebden Bridge. However, you could equally say that it is 'just above' Hebden Bridge, since it is located above a steep hill. The photograph above shows Heptonstall perched on the top of the Hill.
Much of it is an intact medieval village, harking back to the times when the valley floor was too marshy to occupy and the population preferred to live on the hills. The interesting architecture makes it well worth a visit and it costs nothing... all you need to do is wander around its cobbled streets.
Heptonstall can be reached by car or bicycle from the Halifax road, which runs from Todmorden to Hebden Bridge and on to Halifax. If you are travelling from Todmorden then there is a turn left up a steep hill to Heptonstall, before you reach the town centre of Hebden bridge. If you are travelling from Halifax then you continue through Hebden Bridge until you reach a turning circle which diverts you back towards Hebden Bridge, but then you follow the road and turn up the steep hill that rises to Heptonstall. There is also a bus service from Hebden Bridge to Heptonstall.
There ia a (free) car park, just before you reach the cobbled streets at the bottom (South) of Heptonstall. Alternatively, if you drive through the narrow main road through Heptonstall (Smithwell Lane) then you can park at the top of the hill, where the road is wider.
As with Calderdle in general, for those on foot there are many paths that lead to Heptonstall. If you wish to visit Heptonstall from Hebden Bridge then the most straightforward route is to continue from the old packhorse bridge in the centre of town (the original Hebden bridge) and follow the packhorse trail up to Heptonstall.

View Larger Map

The main tributary of the river is just West of Heptonstall, as you can see on the map above. Moving up this river brings us to the National Trust's Hardcastle Crags . The photograph on the left is from the Widdop road, which runs parallel to the main valley of Hadcastle Crags, and looking in the direction of Heptonstall and showing the steep wooded valleys.There are numerous walks from Heptonstall down into the valley.

The photograph on the right is a view of Hardcastle Crags in the autumn, as you descend from Heptonstall.

[ Rodwell Head Farm ] Holiday Home nearby

Unusually Heptonstall has two churches; a splendid intact church, but - more interesting by far - is the ruined church. This church, dedicated to the martyred archbishop Thomas a Becket, held services until the mid 19th century. However, the church was severely damaged by a storm in 1847, and it was decided to build a new church, rather than repair the old one. There is an ancient graveyeard between the two churches. But at the other side of the newer church there is another graveyard, in which the American poet Sylvia Plath is buried. [Note that Sylvia Plath was the first wife of Ted Hughes, the former Poet Laureate, and they lived near Heptonstall in the 1960s.]

Weavers Square is at the centre of Heptonstall, photographed on the left with the church in the background. There are occasional events held there. Most notable is the Pace Egg Play (see the photograh on the right) which is held on every Good Friday. The play is acted out three or four times and lasts about 20 mins. Its free to watch, though you can donate to the represented charity.

Events are also held at the St Thomas Church, such as the delightful Pennine Spring Music Festival.

For a diary of events, please see the local webbsite www.heptonstall.org.

Just to the side of the ruined church is the Heptonstall museum. The museum is within the original Heptonstall Grammar School. The notice of opening times is given on the right.

The main street through heptonstall is a cobbled road called Smithwell Lane. It is mainly made up of weavers' cottages with mullion windows. There are two pubs on Smithwell Lane; The White Lion and The Cross Inn.

Taking the road that runs to the side of the Cross Inn. Northgate. We pass the ancient gateway on the left, and then reach the Methodist church , which is shown on the right.

There's a lot to see, but all this is in fairly short walking distance.

Returning back to the foot of Smithwell Lane we have two useful retail outlets; the Post Office (and shop) shown on the left and the Towngate cafe-deli shown on the right.

[ Farm House Holiday Home nearby ]

hebdenbridge.org.uk Homepage