“Heptonstall is one of the most historic villages in Yorkshire, beguiling the visitor with its quiet charm.” according to the Visit Calderdale Tourist website. During our visit to Hebden Bridge we walked up to the delightful village of Heptonstall. Plenty of quiet cobbled lanes, sleepy cats, pretty cottages and a romantic church ruin awaited us. While there are many idyllic Yorkshire villages, Heptonstall must be one of the prettiest villages in Yorkshire! Here is a photographic guide to Heptonstall in Calderdale, Yorkshire.
Heptonstall is a wonderful village which seems as if nothing has changed for hundreds of years. Furthermore, the lack of crowds makes Heptonstall one of Yorkshire’s best secrets!
Getting to Heptonstall
Getting to Heptonstall requires a small effort but you will be richly rewarded. Heptonstall is a village perched on the hilltop above the fantastic town of Hebden Bridge. While you could drive to Heptonstall it is much better to park or get the train to Hebden Bridge and to walk up. Afterall, we are looking to escape modern day life and be transported back in time when we visit this pretty little village. Let’s help to preserve the small hamlet by leaving our smelly noisy cars in the valley below.
After leaving the train station or the car park, grab a naughty baked good from the bakery Humblest of Pleasures. You will enjoy this once you reach Heptonstall. Now get ready to climb upwards!
Heptonstall stands high above the town of Hebden Bridge. There are various walking routes from Hebden Bridge to Heptonstall but one of the most picturesque must be the cobbled road known as The Buttress. The steep cobbled path takes you through a lush green tunnel. Trees have created a shady path which is perfect on a sunny day to keep you cool as you head upwards. The foliage dances in the breeze and encourages you on your quest to find the village of Heptonstall. Colourful purple foxgloves are dotted at the side of the path and other various wildflowers can also be found. This is much prettier than driving up to Heptonstall! Keep following the public footpath signs and soon you will be rewarded with incredible views of Hebden Bridge. Even on this sunny weekend summer’s day, we passed very few other walkers.
After taking plenty of photos and climbing more steps, you must follow the tarmac road for the last section. You may be huffing and puffing but you have almost reached the lovely Yorkshire village!
Things to do in Heptonstall
Once you reach the village of Heptonstall you will know that your efforts were worth it. This attractive village does not see anywhere near the amount of people as nearby Haworth or Cotwolds villages such as Castle Coombe. While there is a car park you can only reach this village via a turning centre in Hebden Bridge. Maybe the fact that it is a little tricky to reach has helped it preserve its quiet charm.
In the heart of the village is a map showing you the various things to do in Heptonstall. For such a small village it boasts a ruined church, a dungeon, a museum, an octagonal Methodist church, two village pubs, a cloth hall and many beautiful cottages.
My partner devises a circular route to take in the sites of Heptonstall. We begin ticking off the list of things to see in Heptonstall by visiting the dungeon. The dungeon of Heptonstall was a little underwhelming. It is a door with some barred windows but when you peep inside it appears to now be someone’s garage as a motorbike could be seen inside. We continued around the village, past a little farm full of chickens towards the octagonal Methodist church.
The octagonal Methodist church in Heptonstall is said to be the oldest in the world in continual use. The area around the church was very pretty as little yellow and orange poppies had sprung up in the cracks around the stone cobbles. More flowers could be spotted amidst the gravestones. This seemed to be a very peaceful place and no ugly modern necessities interrupted this timeless scene in Heptonstall.
Continuing upwards past many beautiful cottages I immensely enjoyed wondering around Heptonstall. There were a few other tourists but not many. We all seemed content to aimlessly walk around this Yorkshire village.
We spotted more wild poppies. Yet unlike the poppies at the Heptonstall Methodist church these were red spotty poppies! I am afraid I have no idea what these types of poppies are called but I was mesmerised by them.
My partner went off our initial circular route after spotting a path over a field covered in buttercups. Donkeys were standing in the field to our right and a little cat hopped up on the short wall to my left. She paused briefly to pose among the flowers before wondering off to the donkeys.
Walking over the fields we soon spotted the wonderful site of Stoodley Pike in the distance. Stoodley Pike Monument is a huge 37m monument on the summit. Built to commemorate the defeat of Nepolian it has been hit by lighting numeous times. The Pennine Way leads walkers to Stoodly Pike and is just 2 miles from Hebden Bridge. That walk will have to wait for another day.
Following what appeared to be the main road we walked back into the village. Almost every cottage in Heptonstall was worthy of being admired. Some cottages had huge flower displays, others had pretty doors, one had a hedgehog crossing sign and one had flowers in a teapot.
The village was a centre for hand-loom weaving meaning that the cottages also have large windows to allow maximum light. Heptonstall even had a cloth hall where the finished work was traded there was a Piece Hall in Halifax!
There are two village pubs in Heptonstall but we headed to the town square to perch on the wall overlooking the ruined church for our baked good from Hebden Bridge.
Now it was time to put on far more calories than we had burned walking up to Heptonstall. The donut and cookie from Humbles of Pleasures really were delicious!
After giving our feet a quick rest and our tummies some food it was time for the grand finale and the real reason, I had wanted to visit Heptonstall. We would visit the church ruin of St Thomas a’ Becket.
There is something very romantic and gothic about church ruins. Yorkshire is full of many grand abbey ruins. From the UNESCO site at Fountains Abbey to secret Jervaulx Abbey there are plenty to visit and most cost. The church ruin in Bemptonstall on the other hand is completely free to visit! The church is the best thing to do in Heptonstall!
The church of St Thomas a‘ Becket was built around 1260. It lived through a battle and a siege during the civil war but during a great storm in 1847 the church was badly damaged. It was decided that it would be more economical to build a new church. The church ruins are carefully maintained and are open to the public for free.
As you enter the graveyard you notice the two churches and carefully walk over the gravestones. The church ruins are very romantic. Little yellow flowers grew in the corners and a burst of pink flowers was in the centre. We walked around this pretty ruin for a while admiring the various arches and taking plenty of photos. Again, it was not busy and we didn’t have to wait to get any images without other visitors. This would be much more difficult at some of Yorkshire’s other ruins!
I absolutely loved visiting this church ruin in Heptonstall. I completely forgot about visiting the grave of American poet Sylvia Path while we were there.
Sadly, after we had finished exploring the ruin church of St Thomas a’ Becket in Hemptonstall, it was time to head back down into Hebden Bridge for lunch. It was hard to leave such a pretty village but the photos will now transport me back to our lovely visit in Hemptonstall.
Staying in Heptonstall
There are very few places to stay in Heptonstall itself. There are a few more options in Hebden Bridge and some even prefer to stay in the busy city of Manchester. Use the booking.com tool below to find the perfect place to stay.
Would you visit Hemptonstall?
Have you been inspired to visit Hemptonstall? Has this Hemptonstall travel guide inspired you to visit this pretty Yorkshire village? Let us know in the comments below if you enjoyed this guide of Hemptonstall in Calderdale. Also be sure to check out this ultimate Yorkshire bucket list for more Yorkshire travel ideas! If you like quaint villages you may also enjoy our guide to Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast.