Location of The New Hobbit
Two rivers and two canals form the heart of this fascinating mill town. From the Middle Ages and possibly as far back as the Roman occupation, Sowerby Bridge was an important crossing over the Ryburn and Calder rivers. Industrial growth meant the development of transport here was rapid. In 1735 one of the oldest turnpike roads in Britain was completed, whilst in 1757 John Smeaton, the Eddystone Lighthouse designer, surveyed the development of an early "navigation" (part river, part canal), the Calder and Hebble, which was eventually built in 1770. Add to this the most successful trans-Pennine canal, the Rochdale (1804) which is home to Tuel Lock, the deepest in the country.