Riots and Protests Factfile

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Start and Finish

The trail begins and ends at Todmorden Railway Station.

The postcode is OL14 7AA and the OS grid reference is SD 93547 24161.

Several buses and trains run each hour for Halifax, Leeds, Manchester, Burnley and Rochdale.

Themes And Highlights

On this walk you will visit a hilltop gathering place (the Basin Stones) where Chartists in the 1840s demanded the right of all men to vote; learn about the local struggle to resist building a large workhouse; and see where the Plug Riots and one of the Anti-Poor Law Riots took place. If you listen to the mobile app downloads you will hear modern renderings of ancient Chartist songs and re-enactments of riots.

This trail (and the accompanying one starting from Hebden Bridge) will take you back to the earlier roots of the contemporary spirit of the Upper Calder valley; to the Chartists, the Suffragettes, the Worker's Cooperatives, the Trade Union movement, the early housing cooperatives and the radical Clarion Cycle Clubs. You will visit the spots associated with the predecessors of the Upper Calder Valley’s present day radicalism, not only buildings of the Industrial Revolution but also the open spaces surrounding them where the protesters were as likely to gather to protest but also to enjoy life.


This 13 km (8 mile) e-Trail will take you about 4-5 hours (including stops and refreshments). It can be done as a shorter (4 mile) walk, by catching a bus back at the halfway point. 

How Strenuous

This walk involves some fairly steep climbs and descents which would be described as moderate difficulty in walking guides. It requires walking boots and certainly should not be undertaken in very rainy and misty weather. Not suitable for very young children. 

Ground Conditions, Stiles And Steps.

The moors can be very wet underfoot in places especially in winter. Varied conditions including often muddy footpaths up to and over the moors but drier good paths and tracks lower down. Some narrow stiles and steep steps up and down.

With Thanks

This trail was inspired by Tom Greenwood and other members of the Hebden Bridge Trades Club walking group who introduced me to these places on their regular ten mile Sunday hikes. E.P Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class, which I read 50 years ago, was brought to life again. Thanks to Richard Peters, Linda Croft, Gwen Goddard, Katie Witham, Alan Fowler, and the Calder Valley Voices. Bob Deacon October 2014

Thanks to Mike Punch for his magnificent recording.

Front cover photo: Brian Taylor;

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