Reasons to visit Brighouse
PUBLISHED: 11:43 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 February 2013
The West Yorkshire town, winner of a Yorkshire in Bloom Silver Rose Award, is working to encourage more visitors. Amanda Griffiths reports<br/>Photographs by Kirsty Thompson
Once just a small hamlet of little more than 30 houses and a bridge, Brighouse really came to life when the Calder and Hebble Navigation was built. It led to the development of the town's successful textile industry.
The Friends of the Rydings, a group formed to support the development of The Smith Art Gallery, and local historian Chris Helme, have put together a Brighouse History Trail outlining the background to the town since the Industrial Revolution. Sunday guided trails are led by Chris from the gallery (01422 288060, www.visitcalderdale.co.uk) or you can pick up a laminated leaflet from the gallery and explore the town at your own pace.
Whether you're interested in history or not, there are some interesting buildings in Brighouse. Many have blue plaques attached, courtesy of the Civic Society, which tell you what they used to be and when they were built. In particular look out for the town hall, Thornton Square and Park Chapel in Bethel Street. Formerly a Methodist church, the building is now used as a pub and restaurant. St Martin's parish church, central Methodist church
Brighouse's canal basin is well used by barges. A walk along the towpath from the town centre brings you here quickly and easily and you'll see some of the waterfront redevelopments which have taken place in the old industrial buildings that run the course of the canal. It's a great place to feed the ducks, or just to sit and enjoy the space. If you're lucky you'll be able to watch a barge or two pootling past, coming in and out of the locks.
Brighouse's showcase park has won the prestigious Civic Trust Green Flag award. This means Wellholme Park, Bradford Road, in the same elite ranking as Hyde Park in London, Hampstead Heath and Cheltenham Spa Gardens. Only 423 parks in England and Wales have managed to achieve the strict standards and quality required to qualify for this highly-coveted award, of which there are only 26 in the whole of the Yorkshire and Humberside region. The park has, among other things, a children's play area, a skate park, tennis courts, bowling green, well tended flower beds and playing fields.