Hebden Bridge was named after the packhorse bridge in the centre of the town. The stone bridge has just celebrated its 500th anniversary. Before it was built in 1510, there was a wooden bridge over Hebden Water, which in medieval times was a meeting point of packhorse routes from Halifax to Heptonstall, Burnley and Rochdale, all centres of the handloom cloth trade. During the English Civil War in 1643, an important battle between the royalist Cavaliers and the Roundheads took place here. The Roundheads won a significant victory, forcing the Cavaliers, who on horseback were ill-equipped for the steep terrain, down into the valley and back across the bridge.
Nowadays the bridge - only wide enough for pedestrians or horses - forms an attractive focal point in the heart of the town centre. The town is notable for the number of independent shops: it has lovely cafés, galleries and some interesting craft and clothes shops. The area also has a rich literary history. The Brontë sisters wrote their famous novels just a few miles away in Haworth, the American poet, Sylvia Plath is buried at Heptonstall on the hill overlooking Hebden Bridge and the late poet laureate, Ted Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd, two miles away.
For more Sunday Bridges, courtesy of Louis La Vache, please click here.