Lumb Bank

West Yorkshire

Lumb Bank house

The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank is an 18th-century millowner’s house in West Yorkshire, which once belonged to Ted Hughes. It’s set in 20 acres of steep woodland with breathtaking views to the valley below.

“I think I speak for all my young writer companions when I say that you do not leave Lumb Bank the same person as when you arrived.”

— Louisa Rhodes

"The environment of Lumb Bank, the grounds and the area around are wonderful inspiration. The course is a good balance of tutoring, quiet time to write and socialising."

— Course participant

"The grounds at Lumb bank are breath taking and I’ll never forget the stunning view. It was great to be away from city life and to have a quiet tranquil place to write and process my ideas. Being shut off from my everyday life to write was very beneficial as there are no distractions like TV or radio at Lumb bank."

— Victoria Ofovbe



PHYSICAL ACCESS: We do not recommend this house if you are a wheelchair user. The Hurst is our fully accessible writing house.

SHARED SPACES: There is level access from outside into the workshop room and level access into the sitting room.  Door widths are generally narrow, though all door handles are at an accessible height.  There is one accessible toilet in the barn. There is a standard downstairs toilet. 

KITCHEN AND DINING: There is level access from the outside terrace into the dining room, and a ramp into the narrow galley-kitchen area. Door width from the terrace into the dining room 78cm, and into the kitchen from ramp 78cm. 

COOKING: Writers take it in turns to jointly prepare meals.  If you are unable to do this, it is not a problem, you will get the opportunity to remove yourself from the rota when you book or contact us on the dedicated access email or phone number.  The kitchen is narrow, all worktops are at standard height. There are base and wall cupboards.    

DINING: There is a range of bench seating and chairs in the dining area.  

BEDROOMS: There is 1 level access en-suite bedroom – the logshed (currently out of use). 

OUTSIDE: There is no designated car park. If you have a mobility impairment, we can allocate you a space in the courtyard (1 place per course). Others are asked to park at the top of a long steep lane and make their way on foot to the house. There is a level access terrace that leads into the Dining Room. Seating is available on the terrace.  

TRAIN STATION: The nearest accessible station is Hebden Bridge with lift access between platforms.   We can book a taxi to meet you on request – you will get the chance to do this when you book, or email us on

THE GROUNDS: Cobbled and paved paths surround the house, with some sloped areas. There are steps down into the Kitchen Garden. There is some seating and picnic benches scattered around.  

Read more on access here. 


The original Arvon concept of enabling young people to live and work with experienced writers was developed by John Fairfax and John Moat. They started running courses in 1968 in the Beaford Centre in Devon. Ted Hughes was living fifteen miles down the road and one day John Fairfax decided to seek him out and tell him about the idea.

Ted was at first sceptical, but asked that if anything should come of the idea he’d like to be told.
Ted was invited to attend the last night of the first Beaford course and from then was fully supportive of the venture, often holding meetings in his Devonshire home and joining courses as the guest reader, where “his presence would have a magical effect, a contagion of imaginative excitement”.

In 1975, following Ted’s suggestion for a northern centre, Arvon leased Lumb Bank from Ted and Carol Hughes. In 1986, Carol Hughes took up the Chair of Arvon. In 1989, Arvon bought Lumb Bank from The Hughes Trust with help from the Arts Council.

“There were so many individual contributions vital to Arvon’s survival, but I think no-one would dispute that Ted’s contribution was of an order all of its own.” —John Moat

Travelling by car

From Halifax: Take the A646 through Hebden Bridge, follow signs to ‘Heptonstall via turning circle’. Use the turning circle to double back and turn left at traffic lights by the Fox and Goose pub, up the steep hill. Do not take the left turn to Heptonstall (signed ‘access only’); instead, keep driving on Lee Wood Road, then Draper Lane. As you approach the houses at Slack Bottom, take the left-hand turn towards Heptonstall. Continue 30 yards. The lane to Lumb Bank is on your right by the benches and bus stop. Please do not use Sat Nav, TomTom or internet route planners beyond Hebden Bridge as they direct you to the wrong side of the valley. Please park on Smithwell Lane and walk down the track to Lumb Bank. NB there is no parking on site.

Travelling by train

Hebden Bridge railway station is on the main Manchester Victoria to Leeds line with trains from both cities at regular intervals. Every half hour you can catch the 596 bus (Blackshaw Head) to the top of the Lumb Bank lane from the railway station.

If you want to take a taxi from the train station, please arrange for a taxi to meet you at the station in advance. Call Hebden Cars on 01422 845555. Students often arrive at the station at the same time, so you may be able to share – check when you book your taxi. The journey time to Lumb Bank is 10-15 minutes.

Every half hour you can catch the 596 bus (Blackshaw Head) to the top of the Lumb Bank lane from the railway station. The timetable is here – check the box ‘show all stops’ .  The stop is Heptonstall – Green Lane / Smithwell Lane, the stop just after the school as you leave Heptonstall. Green Lane is to the left by the benches, with Lumb Bank signposted. Follow this lane steeply down for 5 minutes – Lumb Bank is at the end of the lane, before the road turns into a path.

Further Information

Please see the accommodation, food and accessibility page for further information.


Centre Director: Rosie Scott
C0-Director, Lumb Bank and Arvon at Home: Helen Meller
Assistant Centre Director:
Jill Penny

Senior Administrator:
Becky Liddell
Bookkeeper: Jean Warburton

Lumb Bank
The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre
Hebden Bridge
West Yorkshire