(Hebden Bridge to Sowerby Bridge)


WHERE IS IT?: West Yorkshire

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put In - Hebden Bridge Train Station [SD996269]. Park in the public car park before the train station (at time of writing this is free on Saturdays), and drop boats in down the river bank

Take out river left before or after Sowerby Bridge Whitewater Course / Halifax Canoe Club [SE059235]


TIME NEEDED: 2 - 3 hours + playtime

ACCESS HASSLES: None when we paddled, all fisherfolk were friendly. Portaging / rescuing from some of the weirs might involve private land.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: EA gauge at Mytholmroyd - 1.0 seemed about right. Much lower and some of the 'rapids' would be very scrapey, much higher and some of the weirs would be ‘interesting’.

GRADING: 1 - 2 plus weirs

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Weirs in high water. V-shaped weir in any water.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Mainly flat, with plenty small grade 1 / 2 rapids and a number of weirs to shoot.

SD996269 0.0km (0.0km) - Put in near Hebden Bridge train station. Don’t cross the river to to the station, instead, put in river left near the public car park.

SD996268 0.1km (0.1km) - Hebden Bridge weir. A short drop on to a short sloping weir, with sloping buttresses along its length. Slope angle and height varies throughout the ‘bays’.

SE026259 3.5km (3.6km) - Brearley weir. Huge shoot down the middle. Wave train / stopper to follow.

SE036249 1.5km (5.1km) - Ludden Foot broken weir. Must be very broken, as we didn’t notice it. More of a grade 2-ish rapid.

SE038244 0.5km (5.6km) - V-shaped weir. Boils and towback extending a long way out from this. Would be (and has been) lethal in high water, and rescue access would be difficult. Shootable far far river left after careful inspection.

SE041240 0.6km (6.2km) -Tenterfields weirs. Two consecutive weirs. First is a long slope, shootable anywhere (but can be sticky in places), but the far right gives the best line towards the second. This is a low drop, boily / sticky in places but has a broken shoot towards the right hand side.

SE053239 1.4km (7.6km) - Puzzle weir. Short vertical drop on to a long slope, with a short rapid below.

SE059235 0.8km (8.4km) - Slalom course egress. Take out river left above or below the slalom course, or continue on downstream to Copley (2 more weirs) or beyond (many weirs).

OTHER NOTES: Various round trips using the canal are probably possible with a bit of creativity and study of an OS map.



Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: River Calder - Hebden Bridge to Sowerby Bridge -- lesf
2016 Nov 30 11:57:13 AM
You may be aware that Puzzle Weir (also know as Hollins Mill Weir) started to collapse a few years ago. Recent floods have furthered the collapse of the face of the weir making it seriously dangerous at the moment.

To be clear, heading upstream from Halifax Canoe Club this is the first weir you come to. If you are paddling downstream towards the club, this is the weir after the ‘double weir’ and it is recognised as you approach it by the weir extending out from the right bank as the river makes a 90 degree bend to the right over the weir.

Approaching from upstream the weir looks doable from above but definitely not when inspected from below.

All of flow (at low to medium levels) is going in to the collapsed section with the remaining face dry and unrunnable. In the collapsed section there are lots of metal spikes of sticking out which would be pretty lethal, and debris piled up at the foot of the weir – see photo’s below. Do not consider paddling down the collapsed section!

Please approach with caution and egress on to the right bank above the weir to inspect and portage.

No doubt the weir will continue to collapse in the coming months making it more dangerous.

Full details, map and pictures:
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Re: River Calder - Hebden Bridge to Sowerby Bridge -- lesf
2015 Nov 23 05:54:04 PM
A couple of things following last weeks floods.

  • In the first pool on the course with slalom gates on 3 of the wires are down. I have recovered two of these to the left bank where they are coiled up out of the way and well above the current water level - if we have another flood they could go back in the river, but would be along the river left bank pretty well out of the way. There was no sign of the third wire - I suspect it headed off down river with whatever debris removed it, but there's a chance it could still be in the water, so be aware.

  • Rocks may have moved in the third drop - it was still a bit high to tell for certain, but it seemed a bit different.

  • Downstream of the get of there is quite a bit of tree debris to be aware of.

  • Also downstream of the get off one of the old bridges between the works has collapsed into the river. This is about 250-300m below the club get off steps and before you get to the access to the canal basin. There's a lot of metal work in the river along with the tree debris it collected. At a level today's level (and you wouldn't want to head down to the next weir with much more water) it looked like there was a route through, but I didn't get too close. This will be a potential hazard to anyone out of their boat beyond the club steps - I'll be reporting it to the Environment Agency as the next flood could break it up into a right mess or send the whole lot off down the river!
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