Last weekend we headed to Hebden Bridge. Hebden is a lovely little town, in the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, set within some beautiful countryside with the picturesque Rochdale Canal running right through the heart of the town.
It was a beautiful sunny morning as we packed up the car and headed off on our little adventure. We were going to be staying on a canal boat, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time! I have visions of our later years spend lazily cruising the canals on our own boat, living life one tea shop/ country pub at a time, the hippie dream, so I was happy to be having a little taster.
First though I had read about a lovely National Trust place just a mile or so away. Hardcastle Craggs promised a beautiful woodland walk with a 19th Century Mill at the centre, just my cup of tea! Dan and the kids weren’t too keen, they wanted to get straight to the boat, but with the promise of tea and scones, we pulled on our boots and off we headed. It was so worth it. What a beautiful enchanting woodland. Bluebells carpeted the woodland floor, moss, thick green springy moss, covered fallen logs and ageing walls. I found the perfect spot for a little Ostheimer stack!
The walk was a little longer than we expected, uphill, up and over streams and craggy rocks. We decided that trolls and goblins definitely live here. Arthur soon got tired, thankfully I’d brought the sling!
Just then, the skies opened and as with typical British weather, the lovely sunshine was gone in an instant. Big fat raindrops fell from the sky, the kind that soak you in an instant. It was now a mad scramble for the tea room! By the time we arrived there, it was just 10 minutes before closing, phew!!! We were absolutely dripping wet….but you know, those are my favourite kind of days. The tea tasted much better and the scones much sweeter. The tea room was set in the Mill and what a place! I didn’t get chance to take pictures with the weather but it was beautiful. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Hot Chocolate after rain = happiness
After a brisk walk back, to everyone’s delight, we headed to the boat. Again in typical British weather style, the sky was blue and the sun was shining as we looked for our boat. It was set in its own private moorings along the canal, and what a treat it was! The boat was from the 1960s and styled true to its era. It was bright, clean and spacious. A lovely living area and a small but fully equipped kitchen area. The bedroom was lovely, with a window to watch the ducks from. The boat also had a compost loo, which was great. It wasn’t claustrophobic at all, with this boat being slightly wider than standard canal boat.
Obviously within the hour Dan had canal boats in the eBay watch list and we would most definitely be living aboard one in the future. Ha! Yeah sounds good!
Arthur quickly made friends with the locals, the ducks and geese. He was delighted, and chose the best spot for a snack.
The moorings was just a 10 minutes walk along the canal to the town, with a park on the way.
There is something a little different about Hebden Bridge that makes it a little quirky, it definitely has a hippie vibe going on, which is probably down to the high number of creative, artistic residents. Hebden is also home to Calder Valley Steiner School. Gentrification has just completely skipped Hebden Bridge out altogether. Besides from the Coop and a OneStop, all the shops are independent. You won’t find a Costa or a Greggs here! It was a refreshing change. There is an amazing choice of places to eat with all cuisines catered for, you are absolutely spoilt for choice. We had timed it perfect too, completely accidentally the Hebden Bridge Folk Roots Festival was happening all weekend. This meant the town was bustling, with all kinds of shenanigans happening all around Hebden. Live music in all the cafes and pubs, street performances, all of it free!
We were on a very tight budget this weekend, it was a last minute thing for us and we didn’t have many pennies to spare, but we really spent hardly anything at all. We did treat ourselves to matching rainbow cups and Dan bought me a lovely writing journal.
I cooked our food at the boat, it was fully equipped with all the cooking basics, we enjoyed our food out on the deck, with the ducks. Arthur had ice cream for breakfast one morning, which he thought was the best thing in the whole wide world. We spent our evenings sat outside watching the sun go down (Arthur tucked up in bed) Ollie loved watching the bats flying around at dusk. With the arrival of darkness, the boat and moorings was lit up with fairy lights, just magical.
Our weekend was slow and simple, just the way I like it. We explored up and down the canals, spent time drinking coffee by the river (us not the kids!) and playing in the park. Honestly I had so much fun just walking and having a nosey at all the other canal boats, I think I’m getting really old.
It was a really lovely break, and I would most definitely recommend a Canal Boat stay. You can find details of The Misty Lady here.
I can barley contain my excitement as I write this, we are off to Copenhagen on Monday!! I can’t wait to share our adventures with you, I hope you have enjoyed reading about this one.
I will also be writing about our adventures as part of a regular feature for The Learning Through Living Journal Enchanted Escapes.
Thank you so much for reading!