The town is in a near central location among the ring of principal towns and cities of West Yorkshire, all between 7 and 9 miles away in different directions. Huddersfield, the civic centre of Kirklees district, is marginally closest, Halifax, Bradford and Wakefield are each about 8 miles away, while Leeds is marginally furthest away.
Like many towns in West Yorkshire it saw a major increase in its size during the Victorian era as a result of the woollen textile trade. At this time Heckmondwike specialised in blanket-making and also had a Blanket Hall where they were sold.
Heckmondwike was the centre of its own Urban District Council until being absorbed into the huge Kirklees metropolitan district of West Yorkshire during local government reorganisation in 1974.
Heckmondwike still has a very busy town centre, but has lost some services in recent years, including its open market and banks.
It retains some of the character of its historic past with its Market Place at one end of the town centre and a triangular green at the other. A distinctive feature of the Market Place is a clock erected by the townsfolk to commemorate the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863.
Road traffic congestion in this central area of West Yorkshire is high. It might have been relieved today but for the loss of train services to the town in the 1960s. Until then, Heckmondwike had two railway lines and two stations. Heckmondwike Spen station, having closed to passengers in the 1950s, closed to goods traffic in 1964, while the other line, through Heckmondwike Central, closed in 1965. Some of the old railway routes are available to walkers and cyclists as greenways.
Buses are the only public transport to the town today, usefully connecting at the ring of bus shelters forming its bus station.
The town is on the Spen River (Spen Beck).
Heckmondwike has a choice of pubs.
The town has a range of shops and supermarkets.
The town has a Post Office.
The town has pharmacies.
Takeaway food outlets in the town include fish and chips, chinese, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches.
A choice of cafes can be found in Heckmondwike.
The town has a library.
Heckmondwike has schools.
Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, United Reformed, other.
Bus travelThe town has bus services to neighbouring towns and villages and city centres.
Road travelHeckmondwike can be reached via the A638 B6117 .
Places to Visit
Oakwell Hall and Country ParkNutter Lane, Birstall
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with further information at the
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Spen Valley GreenwayDewsbury 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
The National Coal Mining Museum for England is mid-way between
More details at the
formerly Kirklees Light Railway
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
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Yorkshire Sculpture Park
West BrettonThe Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the UK's leading open-air sculpture gallery, situated at
More information at the
Yorkshire Sculpture Park website.
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Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Peak District National ParkThe 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
Emergency servicesWest Yorkshire Police
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Metropolitan district council
Kirklees Council covers a large metropolitan district based in
They include those in the former county borough of
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.
Kirklees Council website.
Political composition after the May 2022 election was:
Political composition after the May 2023 election:
County strategic authority
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Covers some combined services of the five metropolitan district councils of
Operates with elected mayor Tracy Brabin as chairman and as decision-maker for some responsibilities after May 2021 election.
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 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.
-1974 Within the West Riding of Yorkshire