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An afternoon in Todmorden

An afternoon in Todmorden


On arriving in this picturesque market town, you may want to stop for supplies for a picnic lunch from the well-stocked indoor market, open Wednesday to Saturday. From Crumbly Cheese you can pick up some award winning Pextenament Cheese, produced less than two miles away high on the Pennine hills overlooking the town, from Ham Corner collect one or more of their famous pork pies and from Exchange Coffee get your caffeine hit from their very own Todmorden blend. If a loaf of bread might compliment your ever-growing bounty try Saker’s or Baked, two fantastic artisanal makers based in Todmorden. Or if a ready-made selection of vegan goodies would be more your thing call into Kava to get a picnic ready to go. Todmorden Market courtesy of Todmorden Markets website

Once you’re laden with your glut of goodies, you’ll need somewhere to eat it! Here you’ve two fantastic options; you could head off to Centre Vale Park where you can picnic on the lush open greenery and forget you’re even in a town centre or head into the woods for an atmospheric lunch surrounded by fairy folk if the tales are to be believed. If a stroll and lunch beside the water are more your cup of tea head along the Rochdale Canal towards Gauxholme to pass the Great Wall of Tod, made of 4 million blue bricks, and be awed by the fantastic Victorian folly of Gauxholme Viaduct designed by George Stephenson.


Wherever you’ve chosen to have lunch you will not have been able to miss the iconic Grade 1 listed Town Hall. This building, commissioned by the ever-present Fielden family, used to straddle the Lancashire Yorkshire boundary until it was moved in 1888, which 

Gauxholme Viaduct courtesy of My Rochdale Canal

can be seen in the figures on the pediment with the left representing the Lancashire cotton industry and and the right Yorkshire’s agriculture and engineering prowess.Town Hall tours are usually on the first Sunday of every month, but tours can also be arranged at other times and are the perfect way to spend an hour or so.


Todmorden Town Hall courtesy of Carl Fielden

If an afternoon of heritage is not your thing how about following the Incredible Edible Green Route? Set up by the internationally renowned Incredible Edible Todmorden, you can arrange a personalised tour or follow their map to take an amble around the town all while learning about how fruit and vegetables are creating a kind, confident and connected community.

Fielden Wharf courtesy of IET


After all that touring, you’ll be ready for a rest and a cup of tea and cake, Honest John’s, so christened due to John Fielden MP’s local nickname, is just up the road from the Town Hall. As are several other excellent cafes. If you fancy something stronger you might like to try Todmorden’s only micropub, aptly named The Pub, where you can sample numerous locally brewed ales and even some gins!

If you’ve still room left and time to spare, stay for tea (that’s what your evening meal is called round here!) and sample some excellent traditional pub food. The Staff of Life has the quirk factor from being built into the hillside, as many buildings are locally, and the Top Brink Inn and the Shepherd’s Rest Inn have the wow factor that comes from being perched high on the tops of the moors underneath the magnificent Stoodley Pike.

However you spend your afternoon in Todmorden we’re sure you won’t be disappointed!

Stoodley Pike courtesy Visit Calderdale



The name Todmorden first appears in 1641 and is generally accepted to mean Totta’s boundary-valley, probably a reference to the valley running northwest from the town, although the name “marshy valley of the fox” has also been proposed. The earliest written record of the area is in the Domesday Book (1086), at which time most people were living in scattered farms or in isolated hilltop agricultural settlements. Packhorse trails were marked by ancient stones of which many still survive.

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