After a 7-year hiatus, the award-winning BBC crime drama Happy Valley finally reappeared on our screens for its third series in January, pulling in millions of viewers keen to discover the fate of steely police officer Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) and her nemesis the chilling psychopath Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton).

The Yorkshire-based drama has been a popular fixture on British television since 2014, thanks to its irresistible blend of dark humour and hard-hitting storylines. Yet viewers have also been drawn to the stunning scenery of the show’s West Yorkshire location, deep in the heart of the Upper Calder Valley.

Central to the show is the market town of Hebden Bridge, the hometown of protagonist Sergeant Cawood which has served as the backdrop for many of the show’s most iconic scenes.

Located around 8 miles west of Halifax and 15 miles southwest of Bradford, Hebden Bridge sits at the meeting point between the River Calder and Hebden Water with the verdant green hills of the Calder Valley providing a stunning backdrop. Settled by the Anglo Saxons as Heopa Denu, or “Bramble Valley”, the town’s lush, steep valleys and riverways made it an ideal setting for the water-run mills of the textile industry and Hebden Bridge flourished throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Is Hebden Bridge really the happiest of valleys?

Named the fourth quirkiest town in the world by High Life magazine in the noughties thanks to an influx of creative types in the 1970s and 1980s – Slyvia Plath is even buried in the Heptonstall churchyard which sits high above the town – in recent years Hebden Bridge has also won accolades as the UK’s best small market town, the greatest town in Europe (according to Culture Trip) and one of the most beautiful locations in the UK to name but a few.

For those homeowners needing a change then, Hebden Bridge seemingly has something to offer everyone.

From the charming mill cottages set along traditional cobbled streets and the impressive grandeur of the period properties which sprung up during the Industrial Revolution to the family-friendly, modern executive estates on the edge of town, whatever your preference when it comes to a new property, Hebden Bridge is likely to have one that fits the bill. With an average sold price of £207,006 over the past 12 months according to Rightmove, versus £295,000 nationally, the town’s pricey million-pound properties on the rural outskirts are balanced by many more affordable town centre options.

The strong sense of community on offer in Hebden Bridge is also a big draw. Independent retailers such as Crooked Books, One Step Beyond and the popular Hebden Bridge Market provide a welcome break from homogeneous chain stores, as do tempting eateries such as Cheesus (the clue is in the name!), Muse Music and Love Café and Aya Sophia. Although if you need to reach the bright lights of Leeds or Manchester for work or play, then you can be in either city in less than an hour and nearby Halifax is only 20 minutes away. The Hebden Bridge train station also offers regular services on the Calder Valley Line between York, Leeds, and Manchester.

For getting away from it all though, the Calder Valley is certainly hard to beat. Whether you are on horseback, bicycle, canal boat or on foot, there are miles and miles of beautiful West Yorkshire countryside to explore and historical landmarks to discover such as the Winny Stone, Stoodley Pike and Hardcastle Crags.

Creative types will also be pleased to know that there is still a local strong arts scene. The popular Heart Gallery, Northlight Art Studios, live music venue the Trades Club and independent cinema the Hebden Bridge Picture House fly the flag for local artists, as do Arts festival Open Space 70, the Hebden Bridge Film Festival and a range of other community-led events. Inclusive Hebden Bridge is also said to be the Lesbian Capital of the UK, with a popular Happy Valley Pride festival taking place annually.

Amidst the doom and gloom statistics of falling house prices, the West Yorkshire region is also expected to be at the top of the table in terms of overall house price growth for the next five years alongside the North West and the North East, so an investment in Hebden Bridge could certainly be a canny move.

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