A CANAL WALK TO STUBBING WHARF PUB

This is an easy walk on the towpath of the Rochdale Canal with great refreshments at both ends.

Length: 1½ km (1 mile).
Start and Finish: Hebden Bridge Railway Station
How Strenuous: Pretty much on the flat.
How Uneven: The canal towpath is well surfaced and all on the flat. This walk can be done with push chairs and can be navigated by wheelchairs.
Obstacles: None.

Leave Hebden Bridge Station and turn left. Cross the bus turning area and follow the road downhill as it curves right and crosses a bridge over the River Calder. The River Calder runs from Heald Moor near Bacup in Lancashire and flows into the River Aire near Castleford.

Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn left to follow a path between the river and a car park.

This descends into Calder Holmes Park. Continue ahead, on a wide tarmac track passing to the right of the skate park and the café.

Ignore the ramp on your right that leads up to a footbridge. Instead, continue straight ahead keeping to the right of the children’s play area to reach a canal bridge (number 17).

Carry on past the bridge for a few paces and read the information board about the building of the Rochdale Canal. Then retrace your steps and cross the bridge. Once across the bridge, immediately turn left to join the canal towpath. On your left is Black Pit Lock and on your right is an iron bench with a horse at each end. The Horse Bench was made to celebrate the role of working horses on the canals before steam power and diesel engines.

Continue along the canal towpath as you and the canal pass over a bridge. Below you on the right is the confluence of Hebden Water and the River Calder. If you peer carefully over the bridge you may be able to see a head carved into the parapet.

This spot once generated a powerful whirlpool in times of high water and was thought to be the most dangerous stretch of the river in the upper valley, giving rise to the name Black Pit.  A whirlpool does still appear when the rivers are in spate. It is thought that this ‘archaic head’ (a carved stone head where portraiture has been deliberately avoided) was set there to protect the structure from mishap.

Continue past Hebble End Works until you reach another canal bridge (number 18). There is now a short section of cobbles, which may be more challenging if you are using a wheelchair or mobility scooter. Be careful as you pass under the bridge. Look out for cyclists coming the other way along the towpath.

On the other side of the bridge the cobbles stop and the wide flat towpath is firm with some gravel. Continue past Hebden Bridge West Moorings and several barges, to arrive at Stubbing Lower Lock (number 10). You may see several geese around here.

When you reach Stubbing Upper Lock (number 11) you have a choice. You can continue along the towpath with its relatively even surface or a more interesting alternative, is to cross the canal over a narrow bridge and follow a permissive path up steps and along the far side of the canal with tree bark and wood chip underfoot.

If you choose to cross the narrow bridge, you need to cross just before lock number 11 and go straight ahead up steps to arrive at a children’s play area, picnic tables and raised beds.

Continue along the wood chip path by the railway, until you reach a gate and a tarmac road. Turn right along the road and cross back over the canal. Turn left along the road to arrive at Stubbing Wharf.

Return journey

Walk back along the towpath. If you turn left at bridge number 18 it will take you into Hebden Bridge town centre. Turn right past the Co-op and walk through Hebden Bridge. After leaving Hebden Bridge you will see a turning on your right to the station.