Saturday, September 6 and Thursday September 11, 2008
The countryside and villages around HEBDEN BRIDGE have turned the area into the undisputed tourism capital of Calderdale. Thousands of visitors from far and wide visit the village each year.
The Village is eight miles (13 km) west of Halifax at the confluence of the River Calder and Hebden Water.
Hebden Bridge and the adjoining village of Mytholmroyd were once busy industrial centres with cotton and woollen mills producing corduroy, moleskin cloth and finished garments. Hebden Bridge factories - water-driven at first - gradually replaced the traditional handloom weaving and spinning carried on at area farms and cottages. There are many reminders of the area's industrial past - ruined mills - lonely chimneys!
Hebden Bridge takes its name from the "Packhorse Bridge" over Hebden Water.
The restored Rochdale Canal attracts boaters, fishermen and walkers.
Hans and I spent our time browsing the many shops that fill the streets of Hebden Bridge and St. George's Square, which is for pedestrians only, made it quite relaxing to walk around this lovely town.
NORLAND SCARECROW FESTIVAL
The Norland Scarecrow Festival is held in a village a million miles away and dates back centuries. They also have a scarecrow of Pinocchio here somewhere. Norland is a small sparsely populated village near Sowerby Bridge – very small. They are however very enterprising. The local folks set up a Millennium committee in 1999 and came up with this grand idea. The village dates back to the 1200’s and has always been farmland. The use of scarecrows is nothing new. What they capitalised on was their countryside ingenuity, traditional protection of crops and the huge Rushbearing Festival held every year in nearby Sowerby Bridge. Well done folks.
There are probably over 100 scarecrows, incredible artistry and craft and the roads literally are clogged with traffic one time a year. There is a prize for the best scarecrow and some are amazing. Definitely go for a visit!
- Arts and Culture
SOWERBY BRIDGE RUSHBEARING FESTIVAL
Saturday, September 6 & Sunday September 7, 2008
The RUSHBEARING FESTIVAL is always held on the first weekend in September. Literally thousands will line the streets of Sowerby Bridge to watch sixty men clad in white shirts, black trousers, panama hats and wearing traditional clogs, haul a sixteen foot high, one ton, thatched and decorated Rushcart.
Rushbearing dates back several centuries to the time when church floors consisted of little more than compressed earth. Rushes were used to cover the floor, with new layers being added as they became stale. Once a year, the church cleared out the old rushes and new ones were brought to the Church in carts. This gradually turned into a celebration and holiday involving revelry, music and Morris Dancing.
Wharley Moor Reservoir and Ovenden Wind Farm
After leaving Halifax in a NW direction - heading for ... we didn't know where, as we were on the mystery trip part of our weekend! We stopped after about 5 miles, for a leg stretch/ smoke break /Ooooh, Arrrh at the scenery.
Wharley Moor Reservoir (aka Fly Flatts) is home to the RYA affiliated Halifax Sailing Club, considered to be one of the best places for inland sailing, due to its location, over 1200 metres above sea level, with winds that are ideal for sailing. Link
Further proof of the windy conditions can be seen for many miles around - the swirling blades (56ft) of the 23 100 ft tall turbines of Ovenden Moor wind farm, which help provide electricity for 5,600 homes. They are located on Hollin Hill, above Wainstalls.
The wind farm opened in June 1993, partly funded by a EU grant. As with most wind farms in the UK, they cause controversy.
There is a car park and information display, also the chance to walk within 50 yards of the turbines.
It was quite atmospheric, with the turbines appearing and disappearing through the mist.
Curious to get a better view (and photos) of the wind farm I headed up a path (passing by a discarded WC, assorted bottles and cans, and what might have been a fridge- Grrrrrr!!!)
Over the hill was a water filled disused quarry. I took a picture, but decided not to venture further as the grass and rocks were quite slippery - Our weekend had co-incided with severe weather conditions through many parts of England and Wales. Returning down the hill, I was distracted by a small frog (or was it a toad?) hopping onto some nearby grasses.
Rushes that decorate the cart for Sowerby Bridges annual Rushbearing Festival are gathered from Fly Flatts in mid August each year!
- Sailing and Boating
Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival
This could possibly be a transportation tip, *if* you are a fair Yorkshire maiden from the Dales west of Halifax. Every year in September dozens of men pull a cart (piled high with rushes and aforesaid fair maiden) through the rural lanes around the town of Sowerby Bridge. This is a slow process, as the procession stops at each pub for liquid refreshment. The procession is a great example of many old English customs - the procession is joined by colourful Morris Dancers, Sword Dancers and Mummers.
The procession is an ancient custom which was revived in 1977, I suspect as a bit of attraction for the tourists. And a fine excuse for a pub crawl!
We caught up with the procession as it entered Sowerby Bridge itself. The timetable for the route is not folowed strictly but it pays to park your car/catch your bus and find a vantage spot quite early, due to the roads being closed at regular intervals by the attendant cops.
Location: around Sowerby Bridge, about 3 miles west of Halifax
- Road Trip
- Women's Travel
- Arts and Culture
The Piece Hall
I won't bore you with the history of Piece Hall, we'll be here all day if i do. However please do check out the links on this page.
Briefly, it is where the manufacturers of cloth (each bolt being called a piece) brought and sold their wares. If you stole a piece, you could be hanged. No messing about in THOSE days.
It is a giant marketplace really, with a huge square in the middle, surrounded by lots of little shops, each one crammed to the gunwhales with exciting things to buy. At Christmas it is decorated to the nines with lights and of course a huge tree. Just the place to go for those stocking fillers!
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
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