Eerie 'haunted' village just over the Lancashire border that's locked in time

Tucked away just over the Lancashire border is a medieval village with no cars that's locked in a moment in time. With less than 1,500 inhabitants, it's proving that size doesn't matter when it comes to charm.

Unlike most West Yorkshire villages that have become dormitory settlements for city workers, the historic village of Heptonstall has managed to withstand the post-industrial storm. Perched above Hebden Bridge, this village still boasts cobbled streets, two pubs, a post office, a museum and not one, but two churches.

What you won't find here are cars zooming through the village. Unless there's a compelling reason to bring your vehicle into Heptonstall's late medieval core, you'll be parking at the bowling club on the edge of the newer side of the village. The absence of cars, coupled with the preserved cobbled streets and centuries-old buildings, gives the impression of stepping back into a pre-industrial era, reports YorkshireLive.


But don't mistake Heptonstall for being stuck in the past. Its proximity to the ultra-bohemian town of Hebden Bridge has had a positive influence on the village.

The vibe is welcoming, and complaints about gentrification are few and far between, as Heptonstall seems to offer the best of both worlds. While the village has seen an influx of newcomers or 'incumdens' as locals call them there are families who have called this little place home for centuries.

Among them is former council worker Marguerite Eccles, who has spent most of her life in Heptonstall. The 69-year-old said: "It's a brilliant place to live and be. There's an awful lot of heritage and history and yet it's a living, breathing village.

"I think it's special because it's managed to keep its pubs, churches and friends groups going. There's something here. It's not like a lot of villages in the country where the heart has been ripped out."

Former pub DJ Dave Redman said: "I wouldn't live anywhere else" while Jess Crook said: "It's just lovely. The kids all play out.

"It's gorgeous here. I don't have any complaints."

Heptonstall is first recorded in the Wakefield Court Rolls of 1274 with its name derived from 'stable in Hebden' while Hebden itself means 'rosehip valley'. Its original St Thomas Beckett Church, now a ruin, dates back to around 1260.

The village was the site of a battle during the English Civil War in 1643 and is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a Roundhead soldier on horseback. A grisly connection to the Cragg Vale Coiners can be found in The Cross Inn where, in 1771, members of the gang murdered a farm labourer called Abraham Ingham by throwing him in the fire. The fireplace is still there.

Heptonstall's original church was heavily damaged during a storm in 1847 and services switched to St Thomas the Apostle Church, which was completed in 1854.