Calderdale’s vast tourism potential

Hollins Lane

Sowerby Bridge

What good news about new tourism initiatives!

Calderdale’s many attractions prompted my own move here after long periods in the Yorkshire Dales and South Yorkshire - including in the tourism business.

Rolling green Pennine hills to scramble up and take in views, with colourful narrow boats along tranquil level canals for when I’m less able. A wealth of interesting small towns - interconnected, well accessible on foot or by cheap rail, and brimming over with Lowryesque heritage architecture of fascination to a former history scholar and keen photographer.

And the people... although hailing from the oldest recorded town in Britain, then everywhere else in between, over 20 years’ residence in Yorkshire had enamoured them to me - including easy access to expert exponents of a traditional music and dance scene only rivalled in a few pockets throughout the country.

The potential, as yet largely untapped, was clear - if these things attracted me, then they would be attractive to others.

As the article states (“Wish you were here”, Courier, April 14), with perhaps less people now going abroad, there are more, more-active younger retired due to recession, plus more living longer - seeking out areas nearer to home to visit, I have witnessed an increase in such over the past year, visiting Sowerby Bridge Wharf.

But what may limit the expansion of more, staying visitors is a scarcity of varied guest accommodation in Calderdale, with comparatively little in the way of guesthouse and self-catering accommodation - as well as group and school-party, and budget accommodation, which could perhaps be provided via 3rd party partnerships.

With redundancies and early retirements, initiatives and incentives could actively encourage diversification into tourism - with more people opening up their homes to guests, acquiring suitable properties whilst cheap, or converting unused outbuildings to accommodation. In this way, tourist expansion would most embrace the Totally Locally ethos ie, retaining as much wealth and investment a possible within Calderdale and for local businesses, for the region’s benefit - whilst at the same time, hopefully, taking care to preserve and protect that which is most precious and attractive about Calderdale.

Diane Richardson