Cleckheaton

West Yorkshire

Cleckheaton is a town in the Kirklees metropolitan district of West Yorkshire.

Northgate and Market Street, CleckheatonVictoria Court, CleckheatonWestgate and Rose and Crown Inn, CleckheatonIt is the town nearest to the geographical centre of the West Yorkshire metropolitan county.

Cleckheaton is about 4 miles north-west of Dewsbury, 6 miles north-west of Huddersfield, 6 miles south-south-east of Bradford, 7 miles east of Halifax, about 9 miles south-west of Leeds, and nearly 10 miles west-north-west of Wakefield.

Junction 26 of the M62 with the M606 and A58 Halifax to Leeds road is just a mile to the north of the town centre at Chain Bar. The proximity of the motorway has seen expansion of the town in recent years with many new business units for its now diverse industry and also a travel hotel.

While Cleckheaton is only served by the road network today, in its era as a mill town in Victorian times it was well served by two rival companies' railways and stations. Serving Cleckheaton Central station was the line which connected Bradford via Heckmondwike and Mirfield to the more direct trans-Pennine route through Huddersfield and also towards Wakefield, where there was direct access towards London and the south of England. The line's closure in the 1960s was possibly among the most significant losses of the Beeching axe both in terms of the road traffic congestion that would in future years trouble the Spen Valley and also in cutting the connectivity of Bradford to other parts of the country. Today the trackbed between Low Moor and Ravensthorpe remains open to cyclists as the Spen Valley Greenway.

Viaduct over Mann Dam Reservoir, CleckheatonAnother closed line to the east of Cleckheaton took a slightly longer route between Huddersfield and Leeds than that through Dewsbury, but provided relief to that line. The railway was at the opposite side of the deep Spen valley to the town centre. An elaborate Victorian viaduct crosses the scenic valley with its beck and the Mann Dam Reservoir, which is used by anglers. This did not carry the railway itself, but the cobbled footway which provided access from the town to the station for that line.

While textile production had begun as a cottage industry among the local farmsteads, it was in the Georgian period that large mills started to be developed and these included new machinery. In 1812, one of the most noted uprisings of the machine-smashing Luddite revolution took place when around 150 Luddite protesters marched from the Dumb Steeple near Cooper Bridge, just north of Huddersfield, to Rawfolds Mill beside the Spen River at Cleckheaton. While damage was done to the mill, it had been guarded by soldiers. Two of the Luddites died from their injuries as they were treated for gunshot wounds. Charlotte Brontë, one of the famous literary sisters would later base part of her novel "Shirley" around the incident, the march having passed through the village of Hartshead where her father, the Rev Patrick Brontë was then curate.

Albion Street and Cleckheaton Town HallThe former Providence Congregational Church, Cleckheaton, became and Indian restaurantThe expansion of the textile industry continued through the Victorian era, when there was also a Cleckheaton Colliery, near to the hamlet of Hunsworth, and farming continued in the fields around the edges of the town.

The fine Victorian town hall was built for the Cleckheaton Urban District, which in 1915 amalgamated with its Spen Valley neighbouring urban districts of Liversedge and Gomersal to form the local government district of Spenborough. Spenbororough came to an end in 1974 when it became one of many boroughs and urban districts which made up the huge new metropolitan district of Kirklees, based in Huddersfield.

Another fine building in Cleckheaton is its huge former Providence Congregational Church, built in 1859 at Providence Place in Bradford Road. It has an imposing entrance with its six Corinthian pillars. For several years since the church was closed the building has housed an Indian restaurant which has been able to accomodate up to 850 people.

Since the textile era, the town has seen a wide range of industries, including factories involved in brake lining production and food production companies. Famously, it was once the headquarters of supermarket group Hillards, founded as a shop in the town in 1885 which expanded for over 100 years to stores in many towns before it was taken over by Tesco in 1987. A diverse range of industry now occupies industrial units in the town and its central location has also seen residential expansion in recent years.



 Town features


The town is on the Spen River (Spen Beck).
Cleckheaton has pubs.
Cleckheaton has local traders and a supermarket.
The town has a Post Office.
The town has pharmacies.
Cleckheaton has bank and building society branches.
Restaurant dining can be found in Cleckheaton.
Cleckheaton has takeaway food outlets.
A choice of cafes can be found in Cleckheaton.
Cleckheaton has a town hall, including a community venue and concert hall.
The town has a library - outside the town centre at Whitcliffe Road.
The town has a sports hall - Spenborough Fitness Complex.
Cleckheaton has schools.
Places of worship: Anglican, Methodist.
Places to stay in Cleckheaton include hotel accommodation.

Travel

Bus travel

The town has a bus station with services to neighbouring towns and villages and city centres.

Road travel

Cleckheaton can be reached via the M62 M606 A58 A638 A643 B6120 B6121 .

Places to Visit

Oakwell Hall and Country Park

Nutter Lane, Birstall
Oakwell Hall Oakwell Hall is a splendid grade I listed Elizabethan Manor house in an extensive country park near Birstall and around 4 miles north-north-west of Dewsbury. The house was built in 1583 by John Batt and is furnished as the family home in the late 17th century and is surrounded by gardens reflecting the garden styles of that period. Oakwell Hall was the inspiration of Fieldhead in Charlotte Brontë's novel "Shirley". The hall also has information on the English Civil War battle of Adwalton Moor, the site of which is a walk of about a mile from the hall. The Hall is surrounded by a 110-acre country park which includes woodland, farmland and a reclaimed colliery site. There are trail-marked paths around the park which includes ponds and nature information boards. There is also a visitor centre at the hall, a gift shop, playground and nature trail. There are car parks for both the house and the country park, accessed from Nutter Lane, Birstall. The hall is owned and maintained by Kirklees Council.
Find out more at the  Kirklees Council - Oakwell Hall and Country Park web pages
with further information at the  Friends of Oakwell Hall and Country Park website.
Locate on map:  Oakwell Hall



Spen Valley Greenway

Dewsbury to Oakenshaw
The Greenway is a disused railway route which once provided Bradford with a direct and faster route to other parts of Yorkshire and towards London as well as connecting the densely populated areas of Cleckheaton, Liversedge and Heckmondwike with major towns and cities. Today it is a pleasant green corridor providing an escape from the mass of traffic on the poor local road network increasingly pressured by a growing need to commute to big cities. The Greenway offers views towards distant moors and is home to a number of sculptures including a flock of sheep made from industrial scrap and a circle of 40 giant steel hoops. The traffic-free route forms part of Route 66 of the National Cycle Network, providing a gentle ascent from the edge of Dewsbury to Oakenshaw on the outskirts of Bradford.


National Coal Mining Museum for England

National Coal Mining Museum for England Wakefield Road, Overton
The National Coal Mining Museum for England is mid-way between Wakefield and Huddersfield, about 6 miles from each, on the main A642 road at Overton. It is also around 10 miles from Barnsley and just under 5 miles from Dewsbury. The former Caphouse Colliery has exhibits showing the history of mining in the Yorkshire coalfield and beyond. The museum also offers the chance to don a miner's helmet to take an underground tour down the mine. The tour takes about an hour and shows the changes in mining and conditions in the pit through its history. There's also chance to meet pit ponies, to take a trip on a colliery railway, to walk its nature trail or relax with food or a drink in its cafe.
More details at the  National Coal Mining Museum website.

Whistlestop Valley formerly Kirklees Light Railway

Shelley station - Kirklees Light Railway Kirklees Light Railway Park Mill Way, Clayton West, near Huddersfield
Whistelstop Valley is a rebranding of the Kirklees Light Railway, a 15-inch-gauge light railway on the trackbed of the former Clayton West branch line from the Huddersfield-Penistone-Sheffield line. The branch had survived the Beeching axe of the 1960s but eventually closed to coal traffic in 1979 and passengers from the large commuter villages of Skelmanthorpe and Clayton West in 1983. Work began to create the new 15-inch-gauge light railway from Clayton West in 1991 and was completed along the full 3.5 miles to Shelley in 1997. The line operates most weekends and on weekdays at certain times of the year. Six steam locomotives and two diesel locomotives are used on the line, some built specially for the railway while others have seen previous service at seaside railways such as the Fairbourne Railway in Wales and Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway in North East Lincolnshire. Special occasions have seen guest visits from other lines, including the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in Sussex and the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumbria. Santa Specials operate in December. The railway is based at Clayton West where there is a cafe, play area, picnic area, miniature railway, gift shop and toilets. At the Shelley end of the line there is also a cafe, play area, picnic area and toilets. There is no interchange with the adjoining main line at KLR's Shelley station, but there is a waymarked walk to the station from Shepley, taking about 20 minutes. The KLR's intermediate stations at Skelmanthorpe and Cuckoo's Nest provide access to a good network of paths for walkers, Skelmanthorpe station being a short walk from the village. The railway marks its 30th year in 2021 with rebranding as Whistlestop Valley and traditional train tickets replaced with Big Adventure tickets if wanting a train ride as well as access to all facilities like the cafe and picnic area, activity space and a jumping pillow timetabled to arrive in August 2021.

More information at the  Whistlestop Valley website.


Yorkshire Sculpture Park

West Bretton
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the UK's leading open-air sculpture gallery, situated at West Bretton, between Barnsley, Huddersfield and Wakefield. Set in around 500 acres of beautiful parkland within the Bretton Estate adjoining Bretton Hall, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park offers what is probably the finest outdoor exhibition space in the country for modern and contemporary sculpture, attracting regional, national and international exhibits. The museum also has indoor exhibition spaces, cafes and shops. The museum car parks are accessed off the A637 Huddersfield Road between West Bretton and junction 38 of the M1. From 2020, the Yorkshire Sculpture Pak has introduced an admission charge with advance booking required. Parking is included in the admission fee.

More information at the  Yorkshire Sculpture Park website.
Find on map:  Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Peak District National Park

The vast area of the Peak District National Park extends into southern and western parts of the Kirklees district near Holme, Meltham and Marsden. Buses run from Holmfirth into the National Park, which stretches from Yorkshire into Derbyshire and beyond. For more details see our Peak District page.


Emergency services

West Yorkshire Police  West Yorkshire Police website.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.


Local government


Metropolitan district council
Kirklees Council

Kirklees Council covers a large metropolitan district based in Huddersfield but also covering well over 100 towns and villages.

They include those in the former county borough of Huddersfield, the former boroughs of Dewsbury, Batley and Spenborough (based in Cleckheaton), the former urban districts of Heckmondwike and Colne Valley (based in Slaithwaite and also including Marsden) and the five large civil parishes created from former urban districts in Holme Valley (around Holmfirth), Denby Dale, Kirkburton, Meltham and Mirfield. Areas other than the latter five are without town or civil parish councils. Part of the district is in the Peak District National Park.

Kirklees Council is made up of 69 councillors with three councillors per ward in 23 wards. Councillors are elected for four-year terms with one-third involved in elections in three out of four years. Councillors elect a Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Kirklees each year.


Link to  Kirklees Council website.

Political composition after the May 2022 election:

36 *18834
69 members ( * includes Labour and Co-operative )


County strategic authority
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Covers some combined services of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire -  Bradford,  Calderdale,  Leeds,  Kirklees and  Wakefield - which were at one time provided by a West Yorkshire metropolitan county council, with the addition of the non-contiguous unitary authority area of the City of  York council as well as the unelected Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

Operates with elected mayor Tracy Brabin as chairman and as decision-maker for some responsibilities after May 2021 election.


 West Yorkshire Combined Authority website.

Police and Crime Commissioner
The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire
This role has become one of the many responsibilities of the West Yorkshire elected mayor since May 2021.

 West Yorkshire Combined Authority website.

Fire Authority
West Yorkshire Fire Authority
The fire authority is made up of elected members of each of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield.
 West Yorkshire Fire Authority web pages.

Ceremonial county
West Yorkshire

Historic
-1974 Within the West Riding of Yorkshire


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