Hebden Bridge is one of the finest walking centres in Yorkshire, perhaps matched only by Grassington for the variety of great routes emanating from the town.
This walk is as good as any, combining an easy stroll along the Rochdale Canal towpath with a climb through the classic Calderdale wooded valley of Jumble Hole Clough, sections of both the Pennine Bridleway and Pennine Way, and a visit to the fascinating old hilltop village of Heptonstall.
The final descent back to Hebden Bridge is on a very steep cobbled lane - one-in- three gradient in places - known as The Buttress. There are superb views across Calderdale to the monument of Stoodley Pike and along the wooded gorge of Colden Clough. Look out for treecreepers, jays and nuthatches in woodland, rooks on upland pastures.
1. At the main Hebden Bridge traffic lights cross to Holme Street and at the top go left then quickly right to follow the Rochdale Canal towpath westwards. Just before a bridge marked 21 turn right and follow a track out to the main A646.
2. Cross at the lights, turn right and walk a short distance to Underbank Avenue. Turn left, then left again under the railway bridge to walk past houses. When a railway bridge is seen to the left look for a Pennine Bridleway (PBW) sign on the right. Follow this route past Jumble Hole into wooded Jumble Hole Clough. At a bridge on the left turn sharp right uphill and follow the PBW waymarkers to an access road with farm on the left.
3. Turn right and follow the obvious track. Before houses turn left on the Pennine Way. Follow this across fields a straight line, passing Popples farm and crossing Badger Lane, continuing ahead to the crest of the hill. The path drops down via a narrow walled section to cross a good path and descend steps to the head of Colden Clough.
4. Cross Colden Water by the old footbridge, and follow the path right. Ignore steps on the left and keep ahead, following red waymarkers denoting the Hebden Bridge Loop of the Pennine Way. Ahead is the deep gorge of Colden Clough and, above it, the village of Heptonstall. The way marked loop path eventually crosses a field to emerge on a road.
5. Turn right and walk into Heptonstall. Continue downhill past car parks and look for a footpath sign on the left to descend steps with railings. Turn right on a road, and before an incline fork left down the steep cobbled lane known as The Buttress. At the bottom go right for a short distance, then cross a bridge back into the town centre.
Difficulty Rating: 3 stars
Time: 2 1/2 hours
Distance: 5 miles
Maps: OS Explorer (1:25000) Sheet OL21 South Pennines
Parking: Hebden Bridge
Public Transport: Hebden Bridge is on the Calder Valley Line: trains from York, Leeds,
Bradford Interchange, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Halifax. Buses from Halifax, Keighley,
Huddersfield. For train and bus times check www.wymetro.com or call 0113 245 7676.
Refreshments & toilets: Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall