"Rushbearing and other traditional English customs" Top 5 Page for this destination Sowerby Bridge by toonsarah

Sowerby Bridge Travel Guide: 65 reviews and 378 photos

Sowerby Bridge lies just to the west of Halifax. It grew up as a market town at the confluence of two rivers, the Calder and Ryburn, and has a pleasant valley setting. There are remnants of former industry here (mainly the production of steam engines for local textile mills) but today it seems to be largely a suburb of its neighbour to the east.

Like many of England’s former industrial towns Sowerby Bridge (which I learnt over the weekend of the Rushbearing Festival to pronounce “Soreby Bridge”) appears to be slowly reinventing itself. Signs of this can be seen in the former engineering works converted to living or small business accommodation, and in the tourist-focused developments around the canal and river.

I came here because of a noteworthy event that takes place here each year on the first weekend in September, the Rushbearing Festival. This is a revival of the ancient custom of bringing fresh rushes, the traditional floor-covering for centuries, to all the churches in the region once a year.

Ricky52’s Rushbearing meetings have become a regular (biennial) fixture on the VT calendar and I was pleased to be able to finally make it to one and see the event for myself, as well as catch up with a number of friends.

To read more about this great tradition, see the festival’s website, or the more extensive pages of other VTers such as:
suvanki’s “Sowerby Bridge, Norland and Triangle –Rushbearing”
Gillybob’s “Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival – 2008”.

I didn’t have time to explore much away from the main street through the town, which is lined with a slightly odd mix of shops (mostly low-priced, basic and somewhat dull, with a few quirky, privately owned gift-shops with an interesting range of goods). There are also a couple of good coffee shops, pubs and a small market.

  • Last visit to Sowerby Bridge: Sep 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (5)

Comments (5)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2016 at 6:21 AM

    They certainly do have some colorful (or rather colourful) Local Customs up there. I had heard of rushbearing but never knew its origin.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      May 1, 2016 at 8:03 AM

      You might enjoy coming over for one of Ricky's bi-annual meets one day. I certainly hope to get back to one, though the date doesn't always work for me unfortunately. Thanks for the visit :-)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    I really enjoyed reading this interesting page. The Festival sounds like an excellent one to attend.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 19, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      It is! And there will be another Rushbearing meet in 2014, so if your travels bring you this way again you might like to make the dates fit ;-)

    • balhannah's Profile Photo
      Dec 19, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      I wish!!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Sarah, lovely little page about Soreby Bridge. I am glad to read that even the English have to learn how to pronounce their town names.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Nov 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      Thanks Holger. It's these regional dialects that confuse us!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Wow, thanks for this marvellous description and the marvellous videos of this so special festival!! I love the Morris Dancer girls!!! And the other groups, but these bell rose ladies are my favourites!!

    • Trekki's Profile Photo
      Sep 20, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      Well, yes, it depends on my "status" by then :-))

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Sep 20, 2012 at 8:18 AM

      Indeed! Let's discuss nearer the time - a lot can happen in two years ;-)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Hello, Sarah! It's always fun to learn about the traditional English customs... I remember seeing Morris dancing in our capital one day....It's something unforgettable...)

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Sep 19, 2012 at 1:11 AM

      Thanks Victor :-) I hadn't realised that Morris had travelled as far as the Ukraine!


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 0 7
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 6 4

Badges & Stats in Sowerby Bridge

  • 5 Reviews
  • 20 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 517PageViews

Have you been to Sowerby Bridge?

  Share Your Travels  

Videos in Sowerby Bridge

See All Videos (4)

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (12)