My Calder Valley, by tourism champion Jayne Booth

Valley of Light Parade around the streets of Todmorden
Valley of Light Parade around the streets of Todmorden

I was rather delighted to be Tourism Champion for Calderdale. I am very passionate about supporting tourism as it provides a boost to the local economy and showcases Calderdale.

However, it is the Upper Valley that I hold dear to my heart.

Last year was a difficult year with the floods but what it highlighted was the resilience of the Upper Valley folk.

To celebrate the resilience and unity of people, the Valley of Lights was the showcase event of what had been a difficult and damaging year for the Upper Valley.

The Valley of Lights parade was both astounding and breathtaking, attracting thousands of visitors to Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd, undoubtedly boosting the local economy and showcasing our towns.

The Upper Valley attracts a constant stream of visitors throughout the year.

With its steep sided valleys, trails, bridleways, industrial and architectural heritage, the Upper Valley is a visitor’s paradise.

Let us not forget that the Leeds Liverpool canal cuts through the valley as the motorway of the past, with a vast array of canal boats either moored or meandering up and down the canal and navigating the lock systems. A beautiful place to walk especially on a warm summer’s day.

As a recognition of the beauty and the ruggedness of the countryside, a stage of The Tour De France will take place next summer, taking in the longest climb in England up and up through Cragg Vale, truly an amazing experience for the riders but a tremendous opportunity for the Upper Valley to promote itself further as a tourist destination for not only visitors but sports enthusiasts, walkers, runners and multi-terrain cyclists.

One of the best ways to see the Upper Valley in all its glory is to participate in the Todmorden Boundary Walk or the Wadsworth Parish Boundary Walk both boast stunning scenery with more than 20 miles of it incorporated in both walks.

The two tourist information centres based in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge provide masses of information about the surrounding areas, including the famous people who have lived in the area.

For example the Poet Laureate Ted Hughes born in Mytholroyd, the Paralympic silver medalist Karen Darke, and two Nobel Peace Prize winners - Sir John Cockcroft, who gained the prize for Physics in 1951, and Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson, who received the prize for chemistry in 1973 - to name but a few.

The tourist information centres advertise the many festivals that the Upper Valley hosts such as the duck races, Handmade Parade and the agricultural show to name but a few.

Let’s not forget our iconic Stoodley Pike which overlooks both Todmorden and Hebden Bridge set high on the hillside, and of course the beautiful Dobroyd Castle set high on the hill overlooking Todmorden.

The Upper Valley has so much to offer.

Incredible Edible Todmorden (IET) is becoming a global phenomenon attracting visitors from as far afield as New Zealand, with Prince Charles being an ardent supporter of IET.

Indeed IET has stretched itself along the Upper Valley with IET Mytholm.

Then let’s not forget the Victorian market hall in Todmorden with many traditional stalls promoting a variety of locally grown and nurtured produce.

The Upper Valley has so much to offer with traditional real ale pubs, quirky cafes and alternative nightlife.

It truly is a great place to visit and in easy access from the Manchester/Leeds Northern Rail line.

Come and spend some time in our unique and inviting Upper Valley and, of course, visit the Lucky Dog in Centre Vale Park made famous by Derren Brown.