Affectionately referred to as ‘Odmorden’ by some of its residents, Todmorden means ‘valley of the Marsh Fox’ and is situated at the meeting point of three steep valleys on the Lancashire and Yorkshire border. (We’re told that sportsmen born in Tod can play cricket for either county). The town has a rich industrial history centred on its cotton trade and at one time was home to the largest weaving shed in the world.
Todmorden is the birthplace of Incredible Edible, now a worldwide movement. Herbs, fruit and vegetables grow in public places and you’re encouraged to help yourself. Local produce is very important and is readily available at the market and The Bear.
Aside from ‘guerilla gardening’, Todmorden has many links to nonconformism – have a look at the listed Unitarian Church on Honey Hole Street. The Chartists had a strong presence in the area and you’ll spot references to the Fielden family across the town. John Fielden was a mill owner, social reformer, and the MP for Oldham who introduced the 1847 Factory Act, known as the Ten Hour Act.
Know what the locals know…
Todmorden has produced two Nobel prize winners: Sir John Cockcroft and Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson.
There are two sets of statues at Todmorden Town Hall representing the Lancashire cotton industry and Yorkshire engineering and agriculture. Grouped either side of two female figures, they symbolise friendship between the counties.
Walsden Water marks the boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire and flows under the Town Hall so in the main hall it is possible to dance backwards and forwards across the border. The Mayoral chain also has both counties represented.
The Great Wall of Tod, built to carry the railway along the valley edge, is made of 4 million bricks. Yes, 4 million. You can see it if you walk along the canal towpath towards Shade (named after the shelters erected to protect the men working on the wall.)
Be a vegetable tourist and follow the Green Route, created by Incredible Edible. Look out for Pollination Street.
Climb up the 121 foot high monument of Stoodley Pike for fantastic views. Don’t forget your torch – it’s dark in there…
Touch Todmorden’s ‘Lucky Dog’ statue in Centre Vale Park, which many believe can bring you good luck…
Discover artisan treats at Todmorden’s indoor and outdoor markets including a stall selling their own special Todmorden blend of coffee. Search for second-hand treasures at the Thursday flea market.