Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing: Sun shone down as one of Calderdale's most unusual traditions was kept alive

The sun shone down on this year’s Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival.

The popular tradition usually attracts huge crowds as the rush cart makes it way through Sowerby Bridge and its surrounding villages over the two days.

The cart – with the “rush maiden” perched on top – is hauled down country lanes and up some steep hills by a team of strong volunteers who make stops at local churches and pubs.

They are accompanied along the way by groups of musicians and morris dancers, providing entertainment for those who come to watch the spectacle.

This year’s route went from Warley through Sowerby Bridge on Saturday, and on Sunday it from Sowerby to Cottonstones and on to Triangle and Ripponden.

The custom dates back many centuries to when church floors consisted of little more than stones or bare earth, and rushes were used as a covering.

Each year, in late summer, the old and rotten rushes were cleared out and new ones taken to the churches. In some areas, this annual activity developed into a celebration involving revelry, music and dancing.