“The locals call it “valley bottom fever”. It’s that growing feeling of anxiety and claustrophobia that comes from spending too long in a town that sits in the narrowing throat of a steep-sided Pennine valley.
The fever heightens as autumn sets in and the clouds go scudding over Calderdale at speed and the old rain-worn flagstones of Hebden Bridge become slick with ankle-threatening algae. The overwhelming urge to take flight takes hold – to the dark moors above, to a foreign beach, to anywhere. And if you do you’ll pass the incomers – the “blow-ins” or “offcumdens” – heading up to the hills on the promise of fresh air and cheaper living…”
I have written an article on Hebden Bridge in the New Statesman here