Colne Valley

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Longroyd Bridge showing route of the A62 over the canal and River Colne and into the Colne Valley from Huddersfield town centre

The Colne Valley is a steep-sided valley on the eastern flank of the Pennine Hills in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It takes its name from the River Colne which rises above the town of Marsden and flows eastward along the floor of the valley.

The name is generally used to describe that section of the valley of the River Colne that lies between its source and the large town of Huddersfield, which lies at the point where the River Holme joins the River Colne. Less often, the name is used to describe the whole valley of the Colne, including the section through Huddersfield and on to the confluence of the Colne with the River Calder at Cooper Bridge. Using the more common definition, the Colne Valley includes the towns and villages of Marsden, Slaithwaite, Linthwaite, Milnsbridge and Golcar.

Industry and economy

The Colne Valley played a significant role in the development of the Industrial Revolution. Most of the population had been weavers for generations, so when water-powered textile mills were built on the many streams and small rivers in the area, the area was well set to become a major producer of textiles. The River Colne and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal provided early transport links which were soon added to by road and railway links to Huddersfield and Leeds to the east and Manchester and Liverpool to the west.

By the end of the Second World War, the importance of the Colne Valley as a centre of textile production had begun to decrease. The area is now primarily residential, its excellent transport links making it ideal for commuters. Tourism is being promoted: the Huddersfield Narrow Canal was reopened in 2001 and boat trips into Standedge Canal Tunnel are available; the National Trust advertises walks on Marsden Moor Estate; and television programmes such as Last of the Summer Wine and Where the Heart Is have been filmed there.

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