On Saturday 24 March the longest canal tunnel in the UK reopens its doors again after its winter sleep, as Standedge Tunnel & Visitor Centre welcomes its first visitors for the 2012 season – with arts and crafts at the hub of the new calendar.
Around 30 special events are planned throughout the year, beginning with an opening weekend Craft Fair and then followed by an exciting range of Easter activities including ‘Make an Easter Fascinator’ and some tasty Easter egg trails perfect for the kids. Returning favourites including a falconry day, Artsfest and a St. George’s legging event will also be showcased between the April and October season.
New for 2012 is The Creative Hub @Standedge Loft Space within the grade II listed visitor centre warehouse which is being run by Green*fusions. For those wanting a crafty environment to get their creative juices flowing, the Creative Hub offers designer-makers the chance to book a workspace for the day.
Throughout 2012, the loft space will also feature a whole range of creative workshops and give visitors the chance to join in sessions in knit, crochet, read and sew sessions on a drop in basis.
James Dean, visitor services manager for Standedge Tunnel said: “The tunnel trips, café and children’s playground create a really welcoming family atmosphere here and our visitors always love the tunnel trips as it’s so different to many other family day outs. Our tunnel guides really bring it to life with tales of the ‘navvies’ who constructed it, the dangers they faced and how they overcame the challenges building it. For the more adventurous visitor they might like to consider a trip all the way through the 3 ¼ mile tunnel!
“We’re also really proud to be welcoming Green Fusions to the Standedge team as we’ve been building a great network of artists and craft activities here over the last couple of years, including running a festival of art month during August called ‘Artsfest’, as well as our monthly craft fairs.
“At the centre of all these are the local community so we’d love to keep growing this and encourage more local people with a passion for the arts to come down and share this space and make it a real craft centre for the area.”
30-minute boat trips run on the hour every hour to 3pm on weekdays and 4pm at weekends. The neighbouring visitor centre tells the fascinating history of the tunnel and explains everything about who built the tunnel and how, as well as amazing facts about the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
Standedge Tunnel, linking Diggle to Marsden is the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in the UK, stretching for 3.25 miles through hard millstone grit.