GUIDE TO HEYDEN BROOK
NAME OF RIVER: Heyden Brook
WHERE IS IT?: Peak District, a small, steep spate river flowing into the Woodhead Reservoir from the North.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Access is from a parking spot on the A6024 with a small path leading west to the river (about 300m). Put on the river as far up as water levels allow.
Take out above the old road bridge at Hayden Bridge (SE099008, Multimap), there are a few small laybys here.
APPROX LENGTH: About 3km.
TIME NEEDED: Under an hour, but allow time for potential epics.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown. The take out is on what may be private land but its very remote.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: It needs to be very wet; if the Etherow is at a good level then it may be worth a look. If the boulders above the bridge at the take out are covered then the river is at a good level.
GRADING: 4/5 and continuous.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Heyden Falls, a 6m drop landing in a shallow pool and with little opportunity to boof. This is easily portaged river left at a point where a dry stone wall reaches the river on river right but be sure to spot the take out above it on the way up. A little way below the falls is a steep rapid / set of drops that feed into an undercut on the left inspect.
Immediately below the road bridge at the take out the river canalises and flows throw a tunnel which has a grate across the end. Make sure you get out before this!
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This river is steep, from the get on it is a grade 3/4 stream which quickly picks up in speed and gradient to become a continuous grade 4. A short, narrow gorge precedes a steep series of small drops with some very sticky holes, then it continues with smalls drops and bedrock slides until the 6m Heyden falls (portage / inspect left after a drystone wall on the right). Below the falls is the most intense stretch at continuous grade 4+ with slides and small drops a plenty and eddies scarce. A few hundred meters below Heyden Falls is another possible portage, a steep set of small drops feeding into an undercut wall on the left, portage left. The continuous grade 4 continues until the egress at the old road bridge.
It would be a good idea to walk up the river before paddling to inspect as there are few places to stop once youve started and its worth knowing where they are. Dont take a swim on this river, that would be a most unpleasant experience.
OTHER NOTES: Just after the take out the River is joined by Withens Brook which flows in from the left. This appears to be a similarly sized river of similar gradient. It would require a walk-in up a relatively steep hill but could be worthwhile. Anyone paddled this?
CONTRIBUTED BY: David Fairweather
Video of the 6m fall in low water. The rest of the river is runnable at this level, but on the low side.
The landing of the fall is 8 foot deep or less, judged by a nice swim in the summer when we went exploring.