Access to the River Calder and Local Canals
It is possible to paddle on the river both upstream and downstream of the club with no known access problems. However there are several weirs on the river that require caution – members should seek advice before considering running these.
Upstream it is possible to start at Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Brearley, and Luddendenfoot and cross over from the canal at various points including Brearly, above or below the v-weir and by the double weir closer to Sowerby. Downstream from the Club it is possible to paddle on to Elland and Brighouse with access back to the canal below the weir at Standard Wire Works or at Copley Viaduct, Elland and Brighouse.
There are long flat stretches between the rapids and weirs on the river. Most rapids are grade 2 (or more in high water). However, there are a number of potentially dangerous weirs – particularly in high water. If you are not familiar with paddling these stretches of the river, it is recommended that you seek advice from the Club’s Access & Environment Officer or Coaches on the river and its hazards.
The Rochdale Canal starts from the marina in Sowerby Bridge and runs up the valley to Todmorden (and on to Manchester). The Calder & Hebble Canal runs down the valley to Brighouse and beyond. Using the canal and the river allows a circular trip from Sowerby Bridge.
To go up the valley, access the canal from the car park behind the shops. Coming up the valley get off near the marina. Both canals are managed by Canal & River Trust. Access to the canal requires a Waterways License – if you are a Canoe England / BCU Member your membership covers this license. You should have this with you in case you are asked. As a BCU affiliated club, we have a few licenses that members can use (contact the Access & Environment Officer).
If you get on the canal at car park and the Lock Keeper is around, it’s worth letting him know what you are doing. (Stress you are from Halifax Canoe Club, a BCU affiliated Club).
Points to Note:
- Locks are dangerous – don’t canoe in or near them, walk round.
- Weir are dangerous and should only be run by experience paddlers or those supervised by experienced coaches / paddlers – seek advice from the Club’s Access & Environment Officer or Coaches if you are unsure
- Give way to canal boats – generally you should keep to the left – but remember you can use shallower water than canal boats.
- Respect other water user – be courteous and polite when approaching people fishing, respect requests to pass on a particular side of the river/canal. Follow a straight course in single file as you pass. If they are playing a fish, give them time to land it.
Disclaimer: Canoeing and Kayaking are ‘assumed risk’ – ‘water contact sports’ that may carry attendant risks. Participants should be aware of and understand these risks, and be responsible for their own actions and involvement. Whilst every care is taken to ensure your safety during club activities, Halifax Canoe Club is not responsible for your safety or for loss or damage to property or equipment belonging to any individual resulting from this information.