Working with Hardcastle Crags

Our first meeting by Les Allan – member of the Accessible Calderdale Disability Access Forum

I was picked up by Community Transport for Calderdale and taken to Hardcastle Crags for our initial meeting with Chris Bryerley.

One of the main problems about Hardcastle Crags is getting there, apart from walking routes there is only one way in and out. It is a narrow road and unsuitable for large vehicles. There is a bus service to Hardcastle Crags but it only runs for part of the year and buses are few and far between. Some form of public/private transport needs to be brought in, this could be in the form of mini buses such as those used by community transport. These should be available not only for disabled people but for anyone who cannot get there otherwise.

The meeting was held outside Gibson Mill which proved to be a rather noisy area with dogs barking, delivery vans and people stopping for refreshments. This caused me some discomfort and I am aware that much of what was being discussed was lost on me. There did not seem to be a choice of sitting in the sun or shade, I do not feel I was the only person who felt uncomfortable sitting in full sunlight.

Various issues were discussed including access to the mill itself and access to the river. It seems to me that half of the reason for visiting Hardcastle Crags is to experience the river and it would be disappointing if this was not possible. There are lots of ways to improve access without spending large sums of money, such as, levelling tracks, smoothing out surfaces, and providing access from the main path to the riverside for people with mobility issues.

I am looking forward to working further with Hardcastle Craggs and making some improvements together with the National Trust.

Accessible Hebden Bridge by Nadia Clarke

Recently my mother asked me to join her on a day out and to blog about access in Hebden Bridge for the organization she runs called Visits Unlimited. I was very keen because I know it is important to show families with disabled children and disabled people were is good for access and to provide that information.

Accessible Hebden Bridge


I believe it is important to show families with disabled children and disable people where they can go on a day out that can offer them good asscee. Information really make decisions on where to go.

The day started with a breakfast at the lovely, modern and accessible cafe called Squeeze. I met such friendly staff and they were so nice in making sure I enjoyed my food. I ordered a Veggie brunch. Definitely one of the most delicious vegetarian breakfasts I have had and the Latte reminded me of drinking coffee a few years ago in Sydney, Australia when I was on my world trip. I will be back for sure.

Accessible Hebden Bridge

Accessible Hebden Bridge

Accessible Hebden Bridge

Can’t beat that for a breakfast!

Accessible Hebden Bridge

Accessible Hebden Bridge


The toilet was large and although it was not a Changing Places toilet a lot of thought had gone into making sure it was accessible.

acessible hebden bridge


Well, I know that Hebden Bridge is not the easiest place to get around with a wheelchair because of the old fashionable buildings and I am hoping that the Accessible Project will make a difference and changes will happen to improve the town for disabled people. Having the right attitude and going the extra mile will make a difference even if some of the shops are unable to make big adjustments.

accessible hebden bridge

accessible hebden bridge

After brunch I drove down in my electric wheelchair to Calder Holmes Park. Wow, I loved it huge and amazing accessible park I know. The children who were there were loving it! I went on roundabout and I felt dizzy but good job I was not sick ha ha ha! It brought back many memories of being with my brothers and sisters at Manor Heath Park when we were part of the 1Park for All project making parks inclusive in Calderdale.

After brunch I drove down in my electric wheelchair to Calder Holmes Park. Wow, I loved it huge and amazing accessible park I know. The children who were there were loving it! I went on roundabout and I felt dizzy but good job I was not sick ha ha ha! It brought back many memories of being with my brothers and sisters at Manor Heath Park when we were part of the 1Park for All project making parks inclusive in Calderdale.

accessible hebden bridge

I did a bit of a walk along Canal. It was really beautiful and good access for a short while but I am nervous next to water and felt a bit scared if I would fall in!

accessible hebden bridge


Visits Unlimited were busy filming that day and I went to meet them at the accessible Town Hall. There have a lift, disabled toilet, cafe and a lovely huge space outside with my wheelchair.

I will be back to Hebden Bridge this summer!

For more information on:

Squeeze Café

Calder Holmes Park

The Town Hall

To see more pictures of my day in Hebden Bridge or to read other blogs that I have written please visit my page by clicking here

Foster Bridge in Hebden Bridge

Foster Bridge

We are listening as much as possible and sending Chris to travel the length and breadth of Hebden Bridge.  Chris soon has a meeting with all interested parties at Foster Bridge (one of Hebden Bridge’s listed bridges).

Foster Bridge is an old packhorse bridge now and in very poor repair, to the extent that anyone with a mobility impairment cannot cross over it. The interesting thing is that over the bridge is a cricket club and an archery club and a lovely extensive river walk with seating and picnic areas AND the bridge is by far the best way to access these wonderful areas.

The Council have funded the renovation of the walk which do meet accessible standards however because the bridge doesn’t allow access for those with mobility impairments there is little chance of being able to reach those services and natural gems on the other side.

As a team we are working incredibly hard but do feel free to make contact with us if you have any questions. We are grateful for your continued support and we look forward to making each action take this project forward.

Hebden Bridge Attracts the Eye of Visit England!

Hebden Bridge is Eye Catching News

Visit-England are very aware of this town accessibility project that we are all working hard on.  Visit England asked our lovely accessibility assessor Chris to recommend a shop and a café for them to contact so they could trial a new web development on their site.

Chris duly obliged, both readily agreed and both were contacted. The cafe business should be well-publicised for their volunteering and yet again another big arrow on the map for Hebden Bridge.

The work between Visits Unlimited, Hebden Bridge town council and business owners has attracted national coverage.

A huge thank you to those businesses who’ve come forward and shown a great deal of interest to help make this town more accessible and welcome many more visitors.

Katie, Chris and team!

Visit England


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 

Making Hebden Bridge into an Accessible Destination

Creating an accessible destination.

When you have a beautiful and sensory rich town like Hebden Bridge we want people to come and experience it. We know that when people enjoy it they then share it.  It isn’t easy for everyone and Visits Unlimited have been invited to support the local community and business to make Hebden Bridge a more accessible destination. We want to make Hebden Bridge an even greater experience for everyone because we know Hebden Bridge cares.

Improving accessibility improves the economy.

Saturday 3rd September was the launch of our new project #AccessibleHebden at the Hebden Bridge Town Hall.  We are truly delighted to be working in close partnership with the ‘Hebden Bridge Partnership’ and Calderdale Community Foundation. We will be working together over the next 6 months to help make Hebden Bridge an attraction for everyone to enjoy.

As a national Community Interest Company we have delivered both disability awareness and customer service training across the country for a number of years to many small businesses, venues, attractions, museums and heritage sites within the tourism sector.

We know that supporting a venue to become accessible to a wide range of impairments is much more than doorways and ramps.  It is about a positive can-do attitude; finding solutions to participation and inclusion; and imbedding a warm welcome approach throughout the organisation, its staff and volunteers.


What are the benefits of becoming a more Accessible Destination

More than one in six people in England and Wales having an ‘activity limiting’ health problem or disability. British and international visitors from this market segment currently spend over £3 billion on overnight tourism trips in England each year and UK disabled people spend up to £12bn on trips out this is especially relevant for businesses. In short, improving your accessibility could improve your business. Being an Accessible Destination will raise the profile of Hebden Bridge through social media and will really put you on the map of places that are going that are going that extra mile and are welcoming to people with a range of impairments.

Long term vision

It also goes beyond being good for business. It supports your own members of staff/volunteers who may themselves have a disability or one of their friends or family. The Hebden Bridge and Calder Valley community will hugely benefit, as will the elderly and families with buggies chance we have placed a community focus on this project.

What will businesses gain?

There are three aspects all businesses need to address to provide access for all:

  • Customer service and training – being disability aware with the right attitude and confidence to serve all customers
  • Information and marketing – providing detailed information on the accessibility of your facilities and services and making this information easy to find
  • Physical facilities – making reasonable adjustments to buildings and facilities so they are easy for everyone to enter and move around


The cost of becoming an Accessible Destination

It may be surprising to know that some of challenges can be resolved in a low cost and creative way and this we have great experience with.

Each organisation will be able to apply for a grant of around £2000 to help with some of their challenges around meeting the needs of not only disabled tourists but also their families, their friends and of course local disabled people.  The results of creating these changes will affect the whole community and the results can only be beneficial.

Do you want your local business to support your town to be an Accessible Destination?

If the answer is yes then please contact myself; Katie Clarke by email; for a copy of the expression of interest for the FREE Access Audit.

Or you can pick up a hard copy at the Watermark or the Town Hall in Hebden Bridge and return it there or post it to:

Katie Clarke

Visits Unlimited

15 Savile Park Gardens



Our auditor Chris Cammiss will be meeting many people on his travels whilst doing our Access Audits. He will become a familiar face in the community.         Chris is a very experienced auditor and will offer practical and reasonable recommendations for you.

Calderdale Community Foundation will administer the grants and their aim is to make this as easy as possible. What this means is there are no long-winded forms to fill consequently this making it an easy process.  Businesses and organisations can give a phone call to the Foundation and someone will help with the process.


Thank you

We are pleased to give something back to the Hebden Bridge community. Each member of our team were involved in supporting friends and the community during the boxing day floods 2015.

We love the motto of the community and the Watermark Fund. We are very proud to be working with so many good people including the new Disability Access Reference Group, Hebden Royd Town Council’s Mayor Tony Hodgins, the Neighbourhood Planning Committee, and businesses, organisations, venues and local people.

After the floods in Hebden Bridge we are really pleased to be working on a new project in the Calder Valley.

We will be working with the Hebden Bridge Partnership and Calderdale Community Foundation over the next few months and helping increase tourism to this beautiful town whilst at the same time improving accessibility.

Chris our access auditor describes the project: “Much of my regular work involves intensive study of a specific site. The prospect here of working with many people at a multitude of different locations is very exciting. I’m keen to help local businesses improve their accessibility in all sorts of ways, and to focus their energy so Hebden Bridge becomes a beacon of best practice in accessibility.

I’m hoping to work with as many local disabled people as possible so we can set in motion permanent changes in attitude which will mean Hebden will continue to progress long after the project has ended.

As a long-term permanent wheelchair-user, I’ve gained lots of personal experience of access issues as a very active tourist both by myself and with my large family, so this will be an excellent opportunity to pass on much of what I’ve learned.

Disabled people form a large percentage of the population – around 15%. With this population ageing the figure will rise. News spreads faster than ever these days so successful outings to welcoming, accessible venues will soon attract more and more visitors. I really want to see Hebden Bridge benefit here, rewarding their positive attitude in approaching Visits Unlimited.”