Bad weather hits tourist numbers

Jacqui Matthews at Todmorden Information Centre.
Jacqui Matthews at Todmorden Information Centre.

THE number of tourists heading to Todmorden over the summer was down on previous years as the upper Calder Valley was hit by up to four times the average amount of rainfall.

Todmorden Information Centre has reported visitor numbers were down by 100 in July and fell by 600 in August as the area suffered flooding during the wettest summer in 100 years.

Official figures from the Met Office have revealed that 212.8mm of rain fell in the upper Calder Valley in June - more than four times the monthly average of 49.7mm.

Rainfall in July was 145.8mm - more than double the 69.6mm average - and a total of 140mm fell in August, significantly higher than the 91.8mm average.

Homes and businesses have been flooded on several occasions and the horrendous weather appears to have kept tourists away, impacting on the local economy.

Jacqui Matthews, Todmorden Information Centre manager, said: “It feels like it’s been quieter.

“We had about 600 more people in August last year than we did this year. In July, we were down by about 100.

“The first few months of the year were pretty similar and in May we were up when the weather was good.

“There have been fewer locals. They might have decided the weather is horrendous and gone abroad.

“We’ve probably had more interest from outside Todmorden.”

Jacqui said other factors such as the Olympics may have contributed to the decrease in tourists.

Last week’s rare sunny weather and the launch of the South Pennine Walk and Ride Festival has raised hopes that things might improve.

“We might see an increase in September,” she said. “It seemed to be a good week last week.

“A lot of the visitors we get are walkers who are happy to walk in any weather.”

Despite the wet weather, this summer’s events have still been well attended.

“Even though the weather was horrendous for the agricultural show, it was still heaving,” she said.

Nationally, the dreadful weather is estimated to have cost rural Britain at least £1bn.