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Halifax (/ˈhælɪfæks/) is a minster and market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. It is the commercial, cultural and administrative centre of the borough, and the headquarters of Calderdale Council. In the 15th century, the town became an economic hub of the old West Riding of Yorkshire, primarily in woollen manufacture. Halifax is the largest town in the wider Calderdale borough. Halifax was a thriving mill town during the industrial revolution.
The town's name was recorded in about 1091 as Halyfax, from the Old English halh-gefeaxe, meaning "area of coarse grass in the nook of land". This explanation is preferred to derivations from the Old English halig (holy), in hālig feax or "holy hair", proposed by 16th-century antiquarians. The incorrect interpretation gave rise to two legends. One concerned a maiden killed by a lustful priest whose advances she spurned. Another held that the head of John the Baptist was buried here after his execution. The legend is almost certainly medieval rather than ancient, although the town's coat of arms carries an image of the saint. Another explanation is a corruption of the Old English hay and ley a clearing or meadow. This etymology is based on Haley Hill, the nearby hamlet of Healey (another corruption), and the common occurrence of the surnames Hayley/Haley around Halifax. The erroneous derivation from halig has given rise to the demonym Haligonian, which is of recent origin and not in universal use.
The Earldom of Halifax took the name of the town. Its first creation, in the Peerage of England in 1677, was for George Savile, who was created Baron Savile of Eland and Viscount Halifax in 1668 and later became the Marquess of Halifax (this creation of the earldom became extinct in 1700). George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, (2nd order of the 3rd creation) became the President of the Board of Trade in 1748. In 1749 the city of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, Canada, was named in his honour. The Halifax River in Central Florida, United States, was also named after him.
West Yorkshire is a metropolitan and ceremonial county in England. It is an inland and, in relative terms, upland county having eastward-draining valleys while taking in the moors of the Pennines. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972 and has a population of 2.3 million. Its largest settlements are Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Halifax, Keighley and Dewsbury.
West Yorkshire consists of five metropolitan boroughs (City of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, City of Leeds and City of Wakefield) and is bordered by the counties of Derbyshire to the south, Greater Manchester to the south-west, Lancashire to the west and north-west, North Yorkshire to the north and east, and South Yorkshire to the south and south-east.
Remnants of strong coal, wool and iron ore industries remain in the county, having attracted people over the centuries, and this can be seen in the buildings and architecture. Major railways and two major motorways traverse the county, which also contains Leeds Bradford International Airport.
Ashton-under-Lyne is a market town in Tameside, Greater Manchester, England. The population was 45,198 at the 2011 census. Historically in Lancashire, it is on the north bank of the River Tame, in the foothills of the Pennines, 6.2 miles (10.0 km) east of Manchester.
Evidence of Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Viking activity has been discovered in Ashton-under-Lyne. The "Ashton" part of the town's name probably dates from the Anglo-Saxon period, and derives from Old English meaning "settlement by ash trees". The origin of the "under-Lyne" suffix is less clear; it possibly derives from the Brittonic-originating word lemo meaning elm or from Ashton's proximity to the Pennines. In the Middle Ages, Ashton-under-Lyne was a parish and township and Ashton Old Hall was held by the de Asshetons, lords of the manor. Granted a Royal Charter in 1414, the manor spanned a rural area consisting of marshland, moorland, and a number of villages and hamlets.
Until the introduction of the cotton trade in 1769, Ashton was considered "bare, wet, and almost worthless". The factory system, and textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution triggered a process of unplanned urbanisation in the area, and by the mid-19th century Ashton had emerged as an important mill town at a convergence of newly constructed canals and railways. Ashton-under-Lyne's transport network allowed for an economic boom in cotton spinning, weaving, and coal mining, which led to the granting of municipal borough status in 1847.
In the mid-20th century, imports of cheaper foreign goods led to the decline of Ashton's heavy industries but the town has continued to thrive as a centre of commerce and Ashton Market is one of the largest outdoor markets in the United Kingdom. Ashton Town Centre is now home to the 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2), two-floored Ashton Arcades shopping centre (opened 1995), the outdoor shopping complex Ladysmith Shopping Centre, and a large IKEA store.
In 2018, a large new development opened in Ashton town centre including a new college campus for Tameside College, new council offices and a library. Improvements were also made to the open-air market, including new kiosks and stalls. In 2019, work began on a brand-new transport interchange for the town centre to make getting into the town much easier via bus and Metrolink. This opened in August 2020.