Calder Vale Railway Ale Trail An alternative to the Transpennine Ale Trail on the Halifax to Manchester branch of the Calder Valley Railway Line.

This is a bit of a report on the first recce of a Real Ale Rail Trail found on the Western end of the Calder Valley Railway Line, on the leg from Halifax to Manchester Victoria.

Calder Valley Railway Line Timetable

There are some trains from Halifax that don't stop at Sowerby Bridge or Mytholmroyd, so if you're starting early, you either need to miss these out, or just start at Sowerby Bridge, which is what we did. Once you get past about 12 o'clock there are trains approximately every half hour.

A list of all the stations on the route follows (on this first reconnoitre we started at Sowerby Bridge and travelled towards Manchester, picking a few stops that looked interesting to start with. You can choose your own stops, or you could do it in the opposite direction starting at the Manchester end and heading towards Halifax, its up to you!)...

We didn't make it to Halifax on this occasion, as we had an invitation to an anniversary do later in the day. But this boutique hotel has a few cask ales on and if you are travelling from outside the area, could be a very good place to stay the night before starting the trail.


Situated just outside Sowerby Bridge station, this 'cafe' does serve ale from 12:00 onwards, but if you are early, a cracking bacon butty (or full bacon sausage egg if you prefer!) and a nice cup of coffee. Great place to plan your day.

Jubilee Refreshment Rooms. Bacon butty scoffed.

We did nip back to the Jubilee Refreshment Rooms on the way back to the station to try the beer. Very nice it was too!

Wood burning Stove at the Jubilee Refreshment Rooms.

Surprising spacious inside with comfy sofas dotted around. A large selection of Hog's Head brews and guest ales are available. and you can view the beer being brewed to one end of the building. Lovely log burning stove near the microbrewery too.

Hogs Head Brew House. Arriving just one minute before opening time!
The ale board at the Hog's Head Brew House. Old Schnozzler was particularly tasty!
Craft beer selection
Lovely old wood burner.
Hogs Head Brewer at work. Or is he just hiding!?!

I picked this one as their website tells the sad tale of recent flood damage in 2015 and we thought we should do our bit to help out. A friendly atmosphere with a small crowd of locals watching the sport on telly. A good selection of beers. Signs of post-flood recovery ongoing.

Hard to believe the flood water was up to door lintel height.
Interior has been cleaned up. The Hotel has been operating as a pub only since the floods.

One of many places you can pick in Hebden Bridge, the 'hipster' capitol of the North West Countryside, we chose this one because our beer advisor had not visited yet. Not diasppointed. Large selection of ales. Lively atmosphere. Family & dog friendly. You tell why this town is so popular.

The Old Gate is a 10 minute walk from the station.

Convenient for the station, The Queen (apparently known as The Commercial) has been recently refurbished.

Pleasant bar and a good selection of ales.
  • Walsden
  • Littleborough
  • Smithy Bridge
  • Rochdale

This lovely little bar opened a year ago (yes it was their anniversary do we had to make an effort to attend!)

Since opening, the Old Post Office Ale House has been going from strength to strength. They stock a wide selection of real ales, craft lager, cider and now spirits such as specialist gins (not that I'd know one gin from another!) Our beer advisor Andy Smith is the Landlord here.

Turn left out of the station onto the main road and the Old post office will be on your right as you follow the road.

The Old Post Office Ale House, Castleton. Now with a cozy log burner too!
  • Mills Hill
  • Moston

If you still need beer once you make it to Manchester, the Beer House is pretty good for a Main station bar. But of course you are in Manchester now and you are spoilt for choice really. Of particular note are the Marble Arch (home of and the Port Street Beer House ( but to just list two is unfair really. The subject needs & probably has a page of its own (maybe look here

Thank You for reading down this far. If you fancy trying this yourself, we've set up a webpage that lists all the stations on the line, with a pub or two nearby. And there's links to maps, not that you need a map for some which are right on the station together with a handy train time tool so you can see how much drinking time you've got left before the next train.

Created By
Mike W


Created with images by ARG_Flickr - "Stoodley Sky" • ell brown - "Rochdale Canal - Hebden Bridge" • digitalrob70 - "View From The Secret Bridge 02" • summonedbyfells - "SCOUT ROCK FROM MYTHOLMROYD" , "Copley Viaduct", "Sowerby Bridge" , and "Bridge at Mytholmroyd" all by Tim Green aka atoach - "Hebden Bridge" • Gene Hunt - "Manchester Road, Castleton (1/2)" • Terry Wha - "Manchester Victoria Station". All other images and text by Mike W3 This spark page now embedded in the Calder Valley Railway Ale Trail web page

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