West Yorkshire

Slaithwaite is a village in the Kirklees metropolitan district of West Yorkshire.

Slaithwaite is in the heart of the Colne Valley, around 5 miles to the west-south-west of Huddersfield and 3 miles north-east of Marsden.

Situated on the River Colne and Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Slaithwaite was at one time a prosperous centre of the woollen textile industry and several mill buildings still dominate the village.

Although most often referred to as a village, Slaithwaite has since the industrial revolution had the proportions of a small town. Its original Town Hall, at Lewisham Road, dates back to 1892.

Slaithwaite was used as the TV location for the ITV series "Where The Heart Is" and was also used in scenes for long-running comedy series "Last Of The Summer Wine", filmed principally around Holmfirth, around five miles to the south-east.

Over the past 30 years, Slaithwaite has held celebrations of a much older legend of the Moonrakers. The story is one of illegal liquor being hidden in the canal. The culprits were found by militia trying to fish it out with a rake and escaped arrest by saying they were raking out the moon, the reflection of which could be seen in the canal. The legend is celebrated with a lantern parade around the village during the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival in February, although the 2021 Coronavirus lockdown led to a cekebration from indoors with illuminated window displays.

Slaithwaite Slaithwaite village centre is at the bottom of a steep-sided valley, sandwiched between its main transport links - the trans-Pennine railway line and the A62 Manchester Road. The more historic transport link of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal runs through the middle of Slaithwaite, not far from the River Colne. Housing in the area is mainly terraced above the village, much of this being at Hill Top, perched above the railway line and its station.

Slaithwaite has moorings and facilities on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The canal was vital to the local transport of goods when it opened in 1811 but was abandoned 130 years later. It was restored and reopened in 2001 as a prominent feature running alongside the main street of the village.

Those from outside Yorkshire are prone to mispronounciation of the village name, usually said as if without its first 'i', but often abbreviated by tyke locals to just Slawit.

 Village features

The village is on the River Colne.
Slaithwaite is on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
Slaithwaite has a choice of pubs.
Slaithwaite has local traders and a supermarket.
The village has a Post Office.
The village has a pharmacy.
Slaithwaite has bank and building society branches.
Slaithwaite has takeaway food outlets.
A choice of cafes can be found in Slaithwaite.
Slaithwaite has a community hall - Slaithwaite Community Centre, Bankgate.
Slaithwaite has a town hall.
The village has a library - at Slaithwaite Town Hall, Cross Street.
Slaithwaite has a community theatre - Slaithwaite Civic Hall.
The village has a leisure centre with swimming pool - Colne Valley Leisure Centre.
Slaithwaite has schools.
Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist.:hg


Slaithwaite station

Managed by: Northern
Operator/s: TransPennine Express -

Northern - Slaithwaite   Station and departure information at Northern website.

Bus travel

The village has buses to neighbouring towns and villages.

Road travel

Slaithwaite can be reached via the A62 .

Places to Visit

Peak District National Park

Peak District National Park The vast area of the Peak District National Park extends into the Kirklees district near Holme, Meltham and Marsden. The nearest railway station to this part of the National Park is at Marsden, a walk of just one mile from the edge of the National Park. Buses run from Huddersfield and Holmfirth into the National Park and via Slaithwaite and Marsden to its edge.

For more details see our Peak District page.

Standedge Tunnel & Visitor Centre

Standedge Tunnel & Visitor Centre Waters Road, Marsden
The Standedge Visitor Centre at Tunnel End, Marsden, tells the history of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the building of Britain's longest canal tunnel, the three-and-a-quarter mile long Standedge Tunnel. The tunnel is also the deepest below ground and is the highest stretch of canal in the country. An exhibition centre shows the work which went into the opening of the tunnel in 1811 and how goods were propelled through the tunnel by leggers laying on the boat roof and walking on the tunnel sides or roof. There is also a children's play area and the opportunity to travel deep into the tunnel on a guided narrow boat or to relax at the Watersedge cafe beside the tunnel. The centre hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Marsden is about 7 miles west-south-west of Huddersfield and is easily reached by train to Marsden station, bus or car. The visitor centre is about half-a-mile along the canal towpath from the station. The visitor centre is managed by the Canal & River Trust.
Find out more at this Canal & River Trust  Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre webpage.

Castleshaw Roman Forts

Castleshaw Roman Forts

Footpath access. Nearest parking at Waterworks Road, off A62 Huddersfield Road, near Delph, Greater Manchester (historic West Riding of Yorkshire)
Across footpaths on a remote Pennine hillside are the earthwork remains of a succession of two forts built by the Roman army and used over a time-span of nearly 50 years during the period of their progression through Yorkshire as they invaded Britain. The first fort was built around AD 79 and a second down-sized fortlet built in AD 105 and used for about 20 years as it served the Roman road between Chester and York. By this time the Romans were securing a much more northerly boundary with the building of Hadrian's Wall. Today, little can actually be seen in the field where the forts were built other than remains of the raised rectangular earth bank ramparts, which would in Roman times have been higher and supported a wooden barricade wall. Alongside, however, there are interesting information boards explaining what would have been there in Roman times. The forts, which now have a scheduled monument status, have been the site of extensive archeological investigation at various times since the 1890s and more can be found out about these at the Saddleworth Museum in Uppermill. Saddleworth is an area of the south Pennines which was in the West Riding of Yorkshire, but which now makes up around half of the metropolitan borough of Oldham in Greater Manchester.

Find on map:  Castleshaw Roman Forts

Kirklees Light Railway

Shelley station - Kirklees Light Railway Kirklees Light Railway Park Mill Way, Clayton West, near Huddersfield
The Kirklees Light Railway is 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.

More information at the  Kirklees Light Railway website.

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.

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

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 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. An election of one-third of the council due to be held in 2020 has been postponed to 2021.

Link to  Kirklees Council website.

The political composition after the May 2019 election was:

342179331 DBI
69 members DBI = Dewsbury Borough Independent

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.

 West Yorkshire Combined Authority website.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire
 Police and Crime Commissioner West Yorkshire website.

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

-1974 Within the West Riding of Yorkshire, Huddersfield as a County Borough.

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