Accessible Hebden Bridge. Making the most of these hills and curd tarts.

Enthusiasm, energy and plentiful bakers, a days work here is a pleasure.

I’ve been travelling to Hebden once or twice a week for several weeks now and enjoying every minute of it. The car seems to find its own way over the tops now and I especially look forward to choosing appropriate driving music to suit the day.

People are beginning to recognise me around town now. Sometimes they already know who I am when I introduce myself, sometimes they ask if I was the person seen hovering around outside the day before, sometimes they have been warned by friends I visited earlier!
Everyone is extremely friendly and eager to learn, especially when I tell them they can claim for anything I recommend as that’s the whole purpose of the scheme! They are up for purchasing ramps and suchlike, up for staff training, new signage, new procedures – anything goes!

I’ve found the residents to be a very resilient bunch. After hearing some of their horror stories about the last couple of major floods, any changes I suggest seem a pleasant diversion rather than yet another imposition. Not one long face yet!
The worst aspect of the scheme for me is that sometimes I can’t help. A shop owner may have asked for an audit, is totally committed to following advice to make things better and is willing to undertake extra work, but I may see immediately that the ramp required would reach into the road, the steep path would require a fortune to reconfigure, there is just no room to fit a vertical lift etc etc.
And, paradoxically, my (sensible) advice on access sometimes conflicts with the (sensible) advice on flood defence. We’re both right but we can’t both have what we want.

I’ve been asked twice if I’m writing a novel when seen collating my notes on the general environment.
I’m much fitter than I’ve been for several years pushing my wheelchair around a very hilly town, along miles of tow paths and over some very demanding bridges.
But I’m not losing the weight I expected due to an excess of curd tarts. Being a proud Yorkshireman now living and working in Manchester, I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not find this delicacy in any local bakers, but now I’m forced to pass bakers with shelves full of them. I just have to make up for lost time I’m only human!

Hebden Bridge