Thursday 14 January 2010

Hebden Bridge

A few months ago we took a trip to Hebden Bridge nestled in the Calder Valley in the heart of the Pennines. The drive through the valley was lovely - it was a bright sunny day and the sheep on the hillside doing the usual sheep thing. In my world little lambs would be at school like in 'Timmy Time' learning to paint and play drums. However, in the real world, they were chewing the grass and soaking in the sunshine.

We parked near the Co-op, where all the walkers were picking up their supplies. Unfortunately my other half had a bout of travel sickness and was not in a good way - so this blog is based on a hour we spent in the town.

The town is built in a valley with a canal running through it. The buildings are built out of traditional york stone. It was a very pretty little town, in a chocolate box sort of way - obviously in a Yorkshire stylee.

I'd heard many things about Hebden Bridge and it's alternative lifestyle, what I saw was a rather prosperous - despite the recession - middle class town. It's the type of town that Chorltonites aspire to but will never achieve in Manchester, unless they sell up and move over the border to Yorkshire.

There lots of pretty, but essentially useless shops selling soap, cheese and traditional toys. I felt really sorry for the kids who were dragged around the trad toy shops - the toys were well boring - wooden, educational and non violent. No self respecting child of the 21st century would be caught playing with these dull toys. Clearly it is what middle class parents think children should be playing with. You almost want to give a Hebden child an 'Action Man' just to piss off the parents.

You will never starve in Hebden Bridge as every other shop is a cafe or restaurant. Practically everyone is catered for - veggies, vegans, wheat & lactose intolerant. Not that I got to try any, as the other half was unwell. At least I could rest assured that I could get a decaf, soya latte if I wanted one.

There was to recommend on the shop side Muse Music selling vinyl and cds. It doesn't quite have the ramshackle charm of Kingbee Records, but selling good music all the same. It was virtually empty, which was a shame. I just hope it survives. There were also bookshops - naturally the witchcraft section was prominent for a town with an alternative scene.

What else? A nice furniture shop; a mad rambling gift shop cum cafe; the pottery shop (why! for goodness sake!); and the little cobbly pedestrian touristy bit.

I am sad to report the charity shops were bobbins. Nothing exciting and you will have richer pickings down the road in Halifax.

It was very quiet for a Saturday afternoon. Hebden Bridge was not full of lesbians as I had been led to believe by the popular press, instead the middle class families populate this little pretty place. Would I go back? Probably - it's very pleasant.

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