Welcome to West Yorkshire's Townpage

Bingley - Small town to northwest of Bradford in Aire valley, with name well known as headquarters of former building society. Still many fine Georgian houses. Well-known in canal circles for major engineering work: a series of locks which raised coal-loaded barges 60 feet in a short stretch on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

Brighouse - Textile town to east of Halifax, famous for the Brighouse and Rastrick brass band. Nearby is the Calderdale Industrial Museum.

Castleford - Coal-mining town just to the east of the Pennines, where the rivers Aire and Calder meet. Built on the site of a Roman fort which guarded a bridge here on their main route to the north, follewd in part by the old A1, which now 'bypasses' Castleford and its southern neighbour Pontefract. Pontefract racecourse is immediately to the south of the town. The famous sculptor Henry Moore was born here.

Cleckheaton - Situated in the Spen valley in the metropolitan borough of Kirklees, Clexkheaton, the name means high farmstead', has been inhabited since Anglo-Saxon times. The Spen Valley has been the inspiration of famous writers J.B. Priestley and the Brontes who lived on Halifax Road, Hightown before moving to Haworth.

Cleckheaton is also famous for its involvement in the 1812 Luddite disturbances at Rawfolds Mill. Ned Ludd, who gave his name to the Luddites, was involved in the smashing of mill machinery in riots. Cleckheaton was well-known for its involvement in the card clothing industry, essentially this being the equipment used to straighten the wool before spinning and weaving.

The Red House (Museum) and Kirklees Hall are two buildings of local interest mentioned in the Bronte books.

Dewsbury - Large town, part of Kirklees district, to the southeast of Bradford, overlooking the Calder. Really ancient origins marked by Saxon cross. St Paulinus, who accompanied St Augustine to this country, is said to have preached here, and Dewsbury had an immense parish. Woollens produced here in medieval times, but massive expansion in 18th century. Became centre for heavy woollens - rags and blankets, also coalmining and engineering. Robin Hood is said to have been buried here.

Hebden Bridge - West of Halifax high up in the Pennines (close to the Pennine Way) is Hebden Bridge (and its near neighbour, ancient village Heptonstall). Hebden Bridge is called the 'Capital of the Pennines', a haven for those interested in industrial archaeology, the Rochdale Canal and the railway from Leeds to Manchester also using the same valley. A great attraction in the hills nearby is the beautiful wooded vale Hardcastle Crags - a 'little Switzerland'.

Normanton - Former coalmining town beside the River Calder and the Aire and Calder Navigation.

Pontefract - Eight miles east of Wakefield. Stands above the junction of the Aire and Calder. Richard II was murdered in Pomfret Castle, whose ruins include a round tower and dungeons. There is a hermit's chantry founded in 1386 cut in a rock 65 steps below the surface. 18th century town hall and marketplace with Buttercross and old pump. Nearby is Nostell Priory 18th century house with superb decoration by Robert Adam and Chippendale. Pontefract cakes, discs of liquorice, are made here. Town Museum. Nearby is the very fine 18th century house Nostell Priory.

Pudsey - Former woollen cloth manufacturing town between Bradford and Leeds. Nearby are Kirkstall Abbey and the Bradford Industrial Museum.

Shipley - A town north of Bradford city centre, down in the valley of the River Aire (and by the Leeds and Liverpool canal). Developed by Sir Titus Salt when he built the huge woollen mills in 1853 in what was a healthy location. He also planned a model village which has been restored: rows of houses, mills, shops, a church, school library, hospital and parkland blend in perfect harmony. Salt Mill is now an award-winning attraction with a collection of paintings by David Hockney. Nearby is Shipley Glen, a wooded glen reached by cable-hauled tramway.

Sowerby Bridge - Just to the south of Halifax, down in the valley of the Calder is Sowerby Bridge, where the River Ryburn joins the Calder. At a wharf traffic from the Rochdale Canal and Calder and Hebble Navigation meet up. Nearby is the deepest lock in Britain. Above the town is an extraordinary folly, Wainhouse Tower. In the 17th century one of the Archbishops of Canterbury came from Sowerby.

Todmorden - West of Halifax and high up in the Pennines (close to the Pennine Way) is Todmorden. On the Rochdale Canal whose arrival spurred the town to grow. It is on the border with Lancashire and, unusual for a Yorkshire town, its industry was cotton not woollen. It has impressive buildings including town hall and a fine park. Magnificent views from local hilltops.

Wetherby - On the Wharfe, ancient market town with the remains of a Norman Castle and traces of a Roman ford. The bridge carrying the Great North Road over the river is stilll partly medieval. Horse racing course near the town. Very good trout fishing.

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