(Healey Dell Nature Reserve)


WHERE IS IT?: The river Spodden runs through Healey Dell Nature Reserve near Rochdale.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in: Recommend putting in by the foot path which runs down to the river by the steps, just below the siphon/undercut messy section. If the water level is really high, then it's possible to put in by the large viaduct just up stream.

Take out: I normally take out by rangers office, just before the tunnel bridge river right just past the houses. It's quite easy to figure out for yourself.


TIME NEEDED: ~1hr with inspections.

ACCESS HASSLES: It's a nature reserve, no fishing permitted and the rangers aren't keen on any sort of river use. On the other hand I asked them about access and told them we were going to kayak the river...they didn't stop us!

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: If the river in-between the drops looks like you could float a boat, then game on. It goes after light rain. Has a big catchment area and above the gorge, it's moorland, so drains slowly, or floods quickly when the moors are saturated. It's scary in big water, and you don't want to much as the drops do become pretty solid white water.

GRADING: The drops are 4/4+ when putting on below the minus rapids in low water. With water in it, it's all stiff 4/5!

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: T here's the siphon/undercut gorge by the put in. about 500m downstream is a large man made weir with some trees guarding the exit for added spice.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river Spodden runs through Healey Dell nature reserve. A limestone valley which has been used for quarying, and industrial activities. Lots of history remains and it's now a nature reserve. Due to the limestone bedrock, there are significant undercuts and typical limestone rock formations. Footpaths follow the river from top to bottom, on both sides so portaging and inspection isn't a problem. In total there are around five drops/sections which become a lot more committing and tasty in higher water. They are mainly ledge drops with one significant 15 foot slide/drop combo into a deep pool. Care must be taken when paddling as the area is a nature reserve.

1)Minus Rapid - this section is by the get on, in high water it can be run and is suprisingly quite clean. It's possible to put on directly below this for the easier/safer option in low water.
2)Stair way to heaven - This section flows directly below the Minus Rapids, five ledge drops which can have some good moves in certain levels and have some menacing walled in tow backs when the water is up.
3)Portage around the weir with trees in, possible to put on directly below this.
4)Under world - The section directly below this is a neat little slide finishing with an ace flair/boof off the right. Possibly the most rewarding drop of the river when styled.
5)Bish, Bash, Bosh - the biggest attraction of Healey Dell, this 15 foot drop is a smooth slide/drop with several lines opening up in high water. The pool is deep towards the couldron on the left, shallower to the right.
6)500m down stream you will come to a weir with a rock pretty central with a large viaduct above. Run close left or round the right for the smoothest line.
7)200m downstream follows another little rapid. A tree on the right may be a small problem in high water. Follow on down to the get out.


CONTRIBUTED BY: Rick Atkinson.