On 9th August, a group of ELHAS members braved atrocious
weather conditions to enjoy a visit to the fascinating Pennine towns of
Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall. Taking the train from Cross Gates we alighted
at Hebden Bridge and walked beside the Rochdale canal before catching
the bus up to Heptonstall.
Once there, we visited the ruins of the 13th century church dedicated
to St Thomas a' Becket. This church was destroyed by a fierce storm in
the mid 19th century and was replaced by the Victorian parish church of
St Thomas the Apostle, which we subsequently visited. We were surprised
by the interior of this Victorian church which was extensively and sympathetically
remodelled in the mid 1960's, and were particularly impressed by the beautiful
stained glass windows.
on to the oldest Methodist chapel still in use we passed the entrance
to Whitehall Farm whose lintel bears the date 1578, and the New House,
dating from 1736 and thought to be a Quaker house. We then took in other
historical sites such as the Cloth Hall, the site of the former Cock Pit,
and the village stocks. To complete our tour of Heptonstall we visited
the village museum, housed in the former Grammar School, which contains
items from the Victorian period, the English Civil war and archaeological
items found in the area dating back to the Iron and Bronze Ages.
We then caught the bus up to Blackshaw Head
before descending back down into Hebden Bridge to enjoy lunch in one of
the many attractive eating places there. After lunch we explored the town
looking at the unusual shops and buildings and spending ime admiring the
ducks on the river.
In spite of the weather, everyone agreed it had been a thoroughly enjoyable
day. It was only during our train journey back to Cross Gates in the late
afternoon that the weather finally improved.