Crime is so low in the real Happy Valley they turned the police station into an ... trends now
On TV, it’s plagued by drugs, rape and murder, but in real-life, the main location for the Happy Valley series – Hebden Bridge in the Upper Calder Valley – has a crime rate so low that they’ve shut the local police station.
In fact, with the most serious misdemeanours recently logged being a spot of random graffiti and some youths smoking cannabis, it is one of the quietest areas for the West Yorkshire force to police.
So the ‘cop shop’ was turned into an antiques centre and the local police officer patrols the market town on his bicycle.
But while crime may be low, visitor numbers have rocketed. The hordes of tourists flocking to Hebden Bridge to see the filming locations and gawp at the show’s actors recording scenes has prompted some locals to make no secret of their exasperation at the town’s new-found fame. A blunt message in graffiti on scaffolding around a shop reads: ‘Move back to London.’
Tranquil: Hebden Bridge, where many Happy Valley scenes are filmed
In real-life, the main location for the Happy Valley series – Hebden Bridge in the Upper Calder Valley (pictured) – has a crime rate so low that they’ve shut the local police station
This type of hostility to outsiders – known as ‘offcumden’ by locals – is perhaps fuelled by the rise in holiday lets pushing up house prices, forcing families to move to cheaper towns nearby.
There are currently more than 1,000 listings on Airbnb and Booking.com and it can cost up to £150 per night to stay in the area.
In fact, the double-fronted Victorian terraced house just outside the town centre that’s used as Sgt Catherine Cawood’s home has doubled in value from £200,000 to £400,000 in the nine years since Happy Valley first hit our screens.
Perhaps predictably the house is the most popular tourist attraction, with its residents and their neighbours regularly having inquisitive Happy Valley fans knock on their doors. Despite the antagonism shown by some locals to the town’s celebrity status, most residents have welcomed the spotlight that Happy Valley has shone on their close-knit community and the boost provided by the influx of paying visitors from all over the world.
Locals will happily point out filming locations to visitors from all over the UK and the growing number from overseas, with fans now coming from as far afield as the USA, Sweden and China.
Some locals don’t like the new-found fame
Even on a cold, grey, drizzly January day a steady stream of visitors could be seen taking selfies with Sgt Cawood’s house in the background and of the backyard where she’s often seen smoking cigarettes to relieve stress.
There is, according to locals, an uptick in visitor numbers when filming is taking place or when the series goes on air. Sharon Slade,