NAME OF RIVER: Hebden Water.

WHERE IS IT?: A tributary of the West Yorkshire Calder flowing into Hebden Bridge. Map.


Put-in...Blake Dean SD 958 313 or From the footpath halfway between Blake dean and Hebden Hey Scout Hostel.

Take out 1...Hardcastle craggs car park.

Take out 2...Hebden Bridge SD 992 272.


TIME NEEDED: 90 mins - 2 hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: No current known access problems, Put in is a public path on open moorland, Take out is a public car park.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Needs heavy prolonged rain in the area, probably best paddled when still raining.

Indicator...bottom car park on Bridge gate; look at the river, on the opposite bank a pipe comes out of the riverbank wall. If the water is less than 4 inches below the pipe then it will run. Pipe covered - ace!

There's an online EA gauge at Nutclough. Does anyone have any calibrations for this?

GRADING: Generally grade III plus weir

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: 2nd weir after the middle egress has a strong towback. Fallen trees a regular issue. Stepping stones a hazard in low water.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A lovely rural wooded valley with continuous gradient and regular rapids. Boulder formed rapids no harder than grade III, all read and run. Probably the best local run of its kind in West Yorkshire. It does however need the level to be up. The start is on open moorland and we hear has been paddled as high as Widop reservoir.

Quickly you enter a picturesque wooded valley and the theme remains rural all the way into the town centre. The second half eases in gradient and grade.

1st section

From open moorland quickly into woodland several drops of grade III

2nd section

Footbridge and easy angled weir. followed by more grade III and two more easy gradient weirs to an old mill and bridge. Just after the bridge beware the stepping stones!

3rd section

Grade III through the woods, easy angled weirs and stepping stones to take out #1. Hardcastle Crags National Trust car park.

4th Section

Easy weir followed by a harder one which is in open fields not woods, can be seen from the access road? We portaged this recently, the towback looked ugly!

Easy rural section then towards town centre.

5th Section

Into the town centre two more weirs, first easy angled and leads into a short tunnel, second is diagonal from right to left and can be shot most areas. Short paddle to take out, use the eddy after the main bridge or you'll end up in the Calder!

OTHER NOTES: It took us ages to get the water level right for this one, but it was well well worth the wait. See also 'White Water Lake District' pg 321.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Andy Craven, Paul 'Heffy' Heffernan. Nov 2005.


Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: HEBDEN WATER -- Rachel T
2016 Jan 14 05:49:20 PM
Paddled 8/1/16 at 0.62 = get out steps: first step down from pavement was 1" under water. "Dangerous" weir (second below iron foot bridge) no problem at this level but if higher how could you portage on left bank as house in way??? One tree forced portage towards bottom (easy portage on RH bank amongst dog walkers). Final tunnel bridge in town has scaffold filling left half of river (below weir with island below) - suggest walk up to inspect from get out.
Re: HEBDEN WATER -- Ricks-Freestyle-Mind
2013 Jan 05 05:10:56 PM
Ran this twice over the last month, once at 0.6 on the gauge, and another time at around 1.1 on the gauge. Never ran it prior to this, and what an under rated run it is! Loads of fun, Grade 2/3 all the way, with one gorge that I'd put at 3+ in the high water.

The tree before the wooded gorge is there, easy portage river right, and another tree lower down which can be passed over on the left in both low and high water. There is a weir which is a must make portage, though went without to much problems in lower water.

Great run, and one of the tribs, Alcombden Water is also worth paddling in high water.
Re: HEBDEN WATER -- Finchy
2012 Dec 12 12:24:38 PM
Further to James' post, there is now a tree down after the Grade 3 section as well. It's imediately after a left hand bend and we had a slight panic on to get out in time.

Keep your eyes peeled folks.
2012 Sep 29 07:40:49 PM
Have updated the Rainchasers site with the calibrations..

Do you think these are more or less correct?

It had said that 1.5m and up was "high", but since the river only reached 1.3 last week, and hebden bridge was in the news because of flooding, I'm guessing 1.0m may be a better punt.

Do you think these need to be altered at all?

Any more calibrations, please do post on the rainchasers site using facebook!!


Re: HEBDEN WATER -- James Hartley
2012 Sep 22 10:59:46 AM
For any one wanting a gauge calibration on what is a doable level, 0.6 is what we have worked it out to be. 0.6 and up and it will run. Ran it yesterday ( had been showing 0.73 a few hours before we had been able to get on, and was a good level stepping stones covered) Low level tress always an issue, one downed tree as a must make portage (early on before the first main grade 3 as you enter the woods for the first time after Blake Dean) the rest was clear, though there was one bridge out lower down and while not an issue currently, in the past when this has occurred they use scaffolding to repair it, and the scaffolding can be an issue as makes for an excellent strainer. They are a lot of downed trees at the moment along the way, the only one causing an issue is the one currently mentioned, but be aware, they may move and become an issue if we get any decent rain
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