Hebden Bridge. Not going anywhere.

This one very much appeals to my love of benches built into things. We sailed past it on the canal boat, and moored up a few hundred metres further along for the night. The next morning before everyone was ready to set off again, I walked back along to have a quiet little sit on this bench, and it was well worth the mini-expedition.

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I mean, look at that bench. That bench has been there a while. And will doubtless continue to exist, probably longer than I will.

The downsides of such benches are their inevitable coldness and dampness, and this one was no exception… particularly exacerbated by my early morning visit, and the fact that it’s located in the perpetual dappled shade of these trees. In fairness to the bench, and presumably its relatively frequent use, the plentiful moss growth was limited to the arms and back… the seat itself was relatively clear and dry.

Potential pitfalls of the bench aside, what a spot to have a sit down. As you can see in the picture below, the bench has waterways on both sides: it faces the Rochdale canal, and behind it, in a steep valley, is a small-ish river. I visited during the summer when all around was verdant green, but this is a bench for all seasons, with the forest opposite becoming beautifully coloured through autumn, and with leaves shed in winter, the spot may actually receive some sunshine. (although having said ‘bench for all seasons’ it would blatantly be FREEZING on your bum in winter).

Comfort of bench: 3/10. Sorry bench. You look great but you’re really cold and such high armrests aren’t actually that good for armresting unless you want to feel like you’re on some kind of weird stone Chesterfield (actually that sounds kind of awesome). Plus potential for dampness is high, particularly if you lean on moss. Also, the seat itself is quite shallow, front-to-back, so you kind of have to sit uncomfortably upright.
Capacity of bench: 2 or 3.
View from bench: Kind of just forest and canal. But pretty good. 6/10… rising to 8/10 if you get to see some canal boats go past.
Accessibility of bench: Easy to get to along the flat towpath, but quite a long walk in either direction. 6/10
Adventure level: Fairly low, although about an hour’s walk from Hebden Bridge, so a bit of a mission, but you could drive and get closer probably. 3/10

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