(Sowerby Bridge Whitewater Course to Brighouse)

NAME OF RIVER: River Calder (Halifax Canoe Club, HXCC), Whitewater Course.

WHERE IS IT? Near Halifax, West Yorkshire. OS sheet 104 Leeds/ Bradford.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in Halifax Canoe Club site, Sowerby Bridge, Halifax (SE059235).

Take out Brighouse, river left below 2nd weir.


TIME NEEDED: 4 hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: Access situation good, rarely paddled.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Gauge at Elland. 2 is ok, 4 is good.

GRADING: Grade 2 with weirs.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Mear Clough weir (closed ends), Power station weir (steep, closed ends), other weirs.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Put in Sowerby bridge white water course - Halifax Canoe Club.

069237 1 km to Mear Clough weir - closed ended canoe gobbler in high water - be warned.

077232 1 km to Wire Works weir - metal spikes.

082226 1 km Copley viaduct and broken weir, good put in and parking here.

096223 1 km railway and footbridge, tree stuck here Dec 2002, Hebble brook confluence on the left.

097220 300 m to road bridge. Tail squirt pool river rt.

100214 1 km confluence of Black Brook on rt.

106213 1 km to Elland weirs - mainly playable weirs with easy waves.

125219 1.5 km Power station weir portage rt.

138229 1.5 km Lillands weir shoot rt.

144226 0.5 km Brighouse upper weir.

147226 200 m Brighouse lower weir.

OTHER NOTES:Black Brook is worth a look. Also nearby is Hebden Water.

CONTRIBUTED BY:Andy Craven and Paul (Heffy) Heffernan.



Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: RIVER CALDER (Sowerby Bridge Whitewater Course to Brighouse) -- lesf
2016 Nov 30 11:59:25 AM
You may be aware that Puzzle Weir upstream of Halifax Canoe Club's site (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 (Sowerby Bridge Whitewater Course to Brigho -- lesf
2015 Nov 23 05:55:40 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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