Burrowed in West Yorkshire’s scenic Upper Calder Valley, Hebden Bridge is a quaint & pint-sized town that’s absolutely brimming with character.
Well-known as a hotbed for budding artists, poets, hippies, eccentrics and the like – it’s also a cracking location for countryside walkers.
With Hebden Bridge officially becoming England’s first ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town in February 2007, surrounding the town centre you’ll find a marvellous landscape that’s host to a whole concoction of trails big and small just waiting to be discovered.
Along these rambles, you’ll have the pleasure of exploring: picturesque moorlands, hidden waterfalls, historic woodlands, rugged valleys, tranquil reservoirs, a secret beach that’s been dubbed as ‘the highest beach in England’ and much more.
Growing up just a 30-minute drive away, I’ve ventured pretty every nuck and cranny around Hebden Bridge throughout the years, so I’m pretty confident you’ll enjoy any one of these highly recommended trails!
Let’s get walking…
Start Point: National Trust Carpark, Hardcastle Crags, Gibson Mill, Midgehole Rd, HX7 7AW
Distance from Hebden Bridge Centre: 1.4 miles
Perhaps the most prevalent walking spot in all of Hebden Bridge, Hardcastle Craggs boasts a whopping 400 acres of stunning valley to wander around.
With over 15 intertwining trails to choose from all varying in difficulty, walkers are able to have a fresh experience each visit and tailor their ramble to be as long or short as they like.
This makes Hardcastle Craggs a fantastic day out for all ages and abilities and proves particularly popular among families; especially when some of the local events are up-and-running!
This isn’t to say Hardcastle Craggs is only suitable for children however – there are several more challenging hikes which will surely satiate the appetite for all you more experienced ramblers.
The rugged valley is also teeming with history. For instance, Hebden Bridge is home to Gibson Mill – one of the first constructed mills of the industrial revolution in around 1800.
Originally used as a cotton mill, the building was later repurposed as an entertainment centre at the start of the 20th Century and became predominantly known for its tea dances and roller skate parties.
Even today the mill continues to attract visitors and comprises of both a museum and charming café – a perfect spot to grab a brew and stretch those legs during your hike!
While there is parking at the Crag, it’s also only a 30-minute walk from Hebden Bridge. Simply make your way up Midgehole Road from the town centre.
Stoodley Pike Monument
Start Point: Hebden Bridge, HX7 6JE
Distance From Hebden Bridge Centre: 0 miles
One of the most iconic symbols of West Yorkshire’s craggy skyline, Stoodley Pike Monument continues to attract ramblers from far and wide.
The striking structure measures 37-metres tall and resides on top of the 400-metre high Stoodley Pike hill. Wherever you are in the Upper Calderdale area, you’ll likely see the structure’s imposing height dominating the countryside for miles around.
Originally built in 1857 by James Green at the end of the Crimean War, Stoodley Pike Monument is only reachable on foot by the various Right-Of-Way trails snaking up the hillside.
One of the most popular routes tends to be the Stoodley Pike Circular Hike which begins from Hebden Bridge town centre.
Coming in at around 10km (6 miles), the walk isn’t too taxing but does involve a steep ascent up Stoodley Pike hill. Nevertheless, once you reach the summit I’m sure you’ll agree the views from up top are well worth the effort!
Once you reach the monument, you’re also able to climb its spiral staircase for an even better vantage point – though be sure to watch your footing since it’ gets pretty dark inside!
For more info on this walk, make sure you click through to our Stoodley Pike blog post.
Lumb Hole Falls
Start Point: Hebden Bridge, HX7 6JE
Distance from Hebden Bridge Centre: 0 miles
Also nicknamed ‘Lumb Falls’ or even the ‘Hebden Bridge Waterfall’, this Yorkshire gem has been enjoyed by those in the know as a hidden wild swimming location for years.
A stunning waterfall nestled in tranquil woodland and teeming with plantlife, if you visit during season you may even be greeted to an abundance of wild garlic and blue bells illuminating the surrounding landscape.
Many visitors wanting to check out the hidden Hebden Bridge Waterfall just drive to the location and park on a nearby road, although I think it’s much more rewarding to walk here and incorporate it as part of a larger trail instead.
The starting point can be from wherever you’d like, but I’d recommend starting either from Hebden Bridge centre or even perhaps Hardcastle Craggs carpark.
The Lumb Hole Falls Circular is my favourite route to see the waterfall, which starts from the town centre and is around 9 miles in length.
For more info, be sure to click through to our detailed ‘Lumb Hole Falls’ step-by-step guide.
Widdop & Gorple Reservoir Walk
Start Point: Widdop Rd, Hebden Bridge HX7 7AZ
Distance From Hebden Bridge Centre: 10.5 miles
Located a few miles north on the hills above Hebden Bridge, this splendid stroll takes you around the picturesque reservoirs situated within the craggy landscape of Widdop Valley.
An ideal option for those looking to get away from the crowds, the remoteness of the beautiful uplands offers a peaceful respite from the usual day-to-day.
Circling Widdop reservoir and climbing onto Shuttleworth Moor before descending towards both Gorple Upper and Gorple Lower Reservoir, this 4-mile ramble is crammed with interest and spectacular sights to see.
Unknown to many who walk here, the unusual rock formations dotted around the moors of Gorple and Widdop are actually rich in folk lore and it’s even been speculated they may share ties with the occult.
With a particular rock carving showing an eerie resemblance to the hawk-headed Egyptian god, Horus, some believe that this could be linked to an old occult group from Bradford named the Temple of Horrors!
Free parking is available at the car park on Widdop Road, and nearby you’ll also find the Pack Horse Inn – a quaint 17th Century pub that’s perfect for a beer and bite to eat after your walk.
Start Point: Hurstwood Reservoir, Worsthorne, BB10 3LG
Distance From Hebden Bridge Centre: 11.4 miles
Located just next to the Widdop & Gorple reservoirs you can also find Hustwood.
A charming rural village that’s steeped in local history, the hamlet contains three sites which are categorised as Grade II listed buildings in the National Heritage List for England: Hurstwood Hall, The Great Barn and Spenser House.
The Spensers were one of the most prominent historical families of the area, best known for Edmund Spenser – widely regarded as one of the best poets of the English language, who lived here between 1576-1578.
Just to the east of the village is Hurstwood Reservoir, a popular walking spot for locals which is also part of the Penine Bridleway National Trail and the Burnley Way footpaths.
The Hurstwood Reservoir walk is a short scenic stroll in itself, but being connected to other well-known trails means you can improvise and extend your rambles to be as long as you’d like.
You could even encompass the Widdop & Gorple reservoirs mentioned above into your stroll!
With free parking available just outside of Hustwood reservoir entrance, this spot is always a great walking choice.
Start Point: Lumbutts Rd, Todmorden OL14 6JJ
Distance From Hebden Bridge Centre: 4.9 miles
Laying claim to the title of ‘highest beach in England’, Gaddings Dam lies hidden up on the moors between Todmorden and Walsden; only a 15-minute drive from the centre of Hebden Bridge.
Originally built as a means to supply water to the area’s thriving cotton-mill industry in the late 1800s, today the dam is enjoyed by ramblers who make the journey to admire the gorgeous views and visit the small stretch of sand nicknamed ‘Todmorden Beach’.
Residing 355 metres above sea level and 60 miles inland, the beach is certainly one of the country’s most unusual wild swimming spots.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, you’ll also find it’s a popular picnic site during the summer months and is known for attracting quite the crowd.
With no nearby parking, a trusty pair of walking boots are required if you’d like to head up to the beach for yourself!
While there are several routes to reach the beach, the shortest and most popular is the trail from Shepherd’s Rest Inn on Lumbutts Road.
However, parking here can be notoriously hard work due to the popularity of the dam. You aren’t able to park at the pub and the roads are particularly narrow.
Our recommendation would be to park either in Walsden or Todmorden and start your walk from here. It only takes around half an hour to reach the trail starting point at Shepherd’s Rest and the extra steps make reaching the beach feel all the more rewarding!
For those interested in visiting, make sure you head over to our comprehensive Gaddings Dam post here.
Burnley to Hebden Bridge
Start Point: Manchester Road, Burnley, BB11 4HF
Distance From Hebden Bridge Centre: 12.9 miles
If you’re struggling to decide on which walk to venture on, why not simply opt for this trail which combines several of the rambles above!
Starting from Burnley, this route has you hiking along Widdop, Gorple and Hurstwood Reservoir, followed by a scenic ramble through Harcastle Craggs – all before dropping down into Hebden Bridge for some well-deserved pub grub.
Coming in at 14-miles in length, the trail is long but relatively flat throughout (except the brief incline from Hurstwood Reservoir to the Gorple Stones), making it achievable for most abilities.
For more information, be sure to check our detailed ‘Burnley To Hebden Bridge Country Walk’ breakdown.
These are but a handful of our personal favourite walks around the Hebden Bridge area.
The surrounding landscape is jam packed with so many lovely trails – they just all can’t be squeezed into one small blog post!
With a plethora of countryside routes, canal footpaths and charming towns to discover, wherever you decide to walk I’m positive you’ll have a cracking ramble!
For more hiking ideas, feel free to trawl through our Yorkshire archives
Happy walking 🚶🚶