South Pennines Travel Guide

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Gibson Mill, Hardcastle Crags

Gibson Mill, Hardcastle Crags


The South Pennines is an area where the remains of the once predominant textile industry, [cotton in and around Todmorden and mainly wool elsewhere,] merge into the attractive hilly landscape. The area is located within the municipal boroughs of Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in what was, for a short time, the county of West Yorkshire [far smaller than the historic West Riding of Yorkshire. The Rochdale Canal, newly reopened a few years ago, goes through the area and it is split up by various roads from Lancashire to Yorkshire.

Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Hawarth and Ripponden all provide a choice of walks and there are mill ruins along all the smaller valleys, often of what started as water mills. An example is what is now the tiny hamlet of Lumbutts above Todmorden, where there is a tower [unsafe and no public entrance] which contained three waterwheels arranged horizontally. The best museum is possibly just out of the area, being the Industrial Museum in Halifax.

The area known as Hardcastle Crags, near Hebden Bridge, where two minor rivers meet, is one of the very best for walks. Much of the land area belongs to the National Trust, who are carrying out work on a visitor centre at the old Gibson Mill, an early watermill which changed to steam early and unfortunately ceased production early as well.

Haworth is the town of the Bronte sisters and might now be considered a tourist trap although the Parsonage Museum is still worth a look for Bronte enthusiasts.

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