Monday, 7 August 2017
Hewenden Viaduct (3)
The objective of our walk was Hewenden Viaduct, which you see from roads in the area but which I'd never seen up close. It's an impressive stone structure, built between 1881 and 1884, with 17 huge arches. Its foundations had to be half as deep (62.5 feet) as the height of the bridge (124 feet) because of the soft shales and clays it is built upon. The viaduct was part of the Great Northern Railway, linking the industrial towns of Keighley, Bradford and Halifax. The railway closed in 1963 but the route is now being re-opened in stages as a cycle trail.
Our walk wasn't intended to take us across it but, encountering a herd of cows and bulls in a field, we decided to take the safer option of a shortcut along the viaduct! It actually proved very interesting, with scenic views over the parapet.
The reservoir, seen below, was there before the railway. It provided a water supply for the nearby City of Bradford. The city Corporation objected to the railway's originally planned route, fearing it would pollute the water. The revised route necessitated building the huge viaduct.