Car-free aroundHebden BridgeYorkshire
Welcoming to walkers and cyclists, blessed with some beautiful bus routes and with four trains an hour arriving from Leeds and Manchester, Hebden Bridge is an ideal car-free destination. The pioneering “Walkers are Welcome” town has an excellent combination of scenic paths, cosy pubs and teashops. Hike over the moors, sightsee by bus, or stroll beside the water to explore the area’s industrial and literary heritage. Here are four great car-free journeys.
1. Catch the “Brontebus” to Haworth
Sweeping panoramas, pretty destinations, huge choice of pubs and cafés: the Brontebus has it all. Victorian factory chimneys and abandoned farmhouses give the area a distinctive character as the bus climbs over the moors to Haworth, former home of the Bronte sisters.
- Bus B3 runs regularly (less on Sundays) from Hope Street in Hebden Bridge. Day tickets are available.
- There’s a spectacular view towards Haworth from the top of Oxenhope Moor: towns, villages and the Lower Laithe reservoir with a backdrop of hills.
- Hop off in Haworth to stroll up the steep cobbled street, lined with shops and cafés, and visit the parsonage where the Brontë sisters lived, now a popular museum. And you get £1 off when you arrive by bus.
- You could buy a spicy vegan pasty from Haworth Wholefoods and picnic on the moors nearby (a path leads out onto heather and rocky hills from just behind the parsonage).
- Drink locally distilled strawberry gin at Haworth Old Hall pub, opposite the bus stop, while you wait for the bus back.
- You can catch the Brontebus on to the town of Keighley – or take the Keighley and Worth Valley steam railway (10% off for bus passengers – ask the driver for a voucher).
2. Hardcastle Crags by foot
The epic views and rugged landscapes above Hebden Bridge are a magnet for visitors. And you can see why: there are waterfalls, an off-grid café and mill in a wooded valley, bluebell carpets under beech trees…
- Sadly some handy local buses have been cut recently, but you can still follow a steep way-marked trail from Hebden Bridge to Hardcastle Crags. The fabulous Hebden Bridge Walkers Action group’s booklet showing local walks (such as Hardcastle Craggs) still has lots of useful ideas.
Gibson Mill was built in 1800, one of the Industrial Revolution’s earliest factories. The 1840s weaving shed once produced cotton cloth and is now a welcoming café.
The National Trust has made Gibson Mill an off-grid building – it has no connection to the outside world for energy, water and waste and is the NT’s only 100% sustainable building.
- and thanks to HBWA, the mighty Pennine Way now has a loop via Hebden Bridge.