- River Calder
:"For other Rivers Calder, see
River Calder (disambiguation)."
The River Calder is a
riverin West Yorkshire, in northern England.
The Calder rises on the green eastern slopes of the
Penninesflows through alternating green countryside, former woollen-mill villages, and large and small towns before joining the River Airenear Castleford.
The river's valley is known as Calderdale, which gives its name to the large urban and rural borough (centred on Halifax) through which the upper river flows. The lower reaches flow through the boroughs of
Kirklees(based on Huddersfield) and Wakefield. However, the river does not flow through the centres of Halifax and Huddersfield, which are on the Calder's main tributaries, the River Hebbleand River Colne respectively. The only large town centres through which the Calder flows are Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsburyand the city of Wakefield.
The river itself is only navigable in short sections, but these sections are connected by artificial "cuts" (eg Horbury Cut) to form the
Calder and Hebble Navigation, a popular leisure waterway which is part of the connected inland waterway network of England and Wales.
The name 'Calder' is thought to come from the early British meaning 'hard' or violent waters or stream, or possibly from the Celtic, meaning 'river of stones'.Fact|date=December 2007 However, another likely explanation is that it is a corruption of "Gauls' der"; "Gauls" being an ancient name for the Celts and "der" being Celtic for water.Fact|date=December 2007 Hence Calder means the Celts' River. This is likely because the moorlands and rugged valleys of upper Calderdale remained a Celtic area for at least two centuries after the surrounding lowlands became dominated by Anglo-Saxon culture.Fact|date=December 2007 That history is also reflected in the name of a village, Walsden, just inside the border of upper Calderdale, which is derived from Wales Dene, or "Valley of the Welsh" in Anglo-Saxon.Fact|date=December 2007
The river rises approximately 400 m above sea level at Heald Moor, north-west of
Todmorden, and drains an area of 957 km². It flows for a distance of around 72 km / 45 miles through Todmorden, Eastwood, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Luddendenfoot, Sowerby Bridge, Copley, Elland, Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsburyand on to Wakefield.
The catchment lies on
carboniferousrocks of Millstone Grit, and is heavily reservoired, with 39 reservoirslicensed to provide water. The river is joined by Hebden Waterat Hebden Bridge, and is linked to the town of Rochdale, Greater Manchesteracross the Penninesvia the Rochdale Canal.
Across much of its length, the Calder is canalised and becomes the
Calder and Hebble Navigation. It is also part of the Aire and Calder Navigation, and to the east of Castleford, it merges into the River Aire, going on to join the River Humberand the North Sea.
The river was key to the success of the textile industries in the local area, and flows through the area known as the Yorkshire
Heavy Woollen District. Many major mills were constructed along its banks, particularly at Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsburyand Wakefield, but also in the smaller communities of Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridgeand Todmorden. Many of these structures still exist as listed buildings, although the large scale production of yarnand textilehas now ceased.
The river formed an important transportation system for raw materials and the products of the mills, particularly prior to the development of other infrastructures such as
roadand railwaylinks to the area. At many places, the river is not navigable because of weirs or the shallow depth, and passage for boats was made by the creation of cuts where boats are able to enter the Calder and Hebble Navigation. Work began to make the Calder navigable above Wakefield in 1758.
A notable building on the river is the
ChantryChapel at Wakefield, which dates from the mid 14th century.
At Wakefield, a variety of former mill buildings are currently being redeveloped to create a Waterfront project which will combine residential housing, offices, galleries and public spaces.
Wildlife and fish
Until the 19th century, the Calder was home to large numbers of salmon but pollution from the textile and chemical industries along its banks led to the death of the salmon population by the mid 19th century. The last salmon on record was caught at Wakefield in 1850. Upstream of
Huddersfieldare popular areas for coarse fishing, roach, perch, chub, dace, minnows, gudgeon, pike, breamand trout. However, there are very little fish downstream of Huddersfielddue to the amount of pollution produced by the town.
Alongside the river are four
Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Recent improvements in reducing the amount of pollution have led to the return of native wildlife, such as the
otterand kingfisherto the upper stretches of the river.
Several Kingfishers are easily spotted (in Spring/Summer, due to its orange underbelly) at the section between Healey Mills and Horbury Bridge.
The river has been heavily polluted by the textile industry, and, more recently, chemical works along its banks.
Close to its source at Heald Foot, the water is polluted by the remains of past opencast
miningactivities and a landfill site. This has also led to a significant amount of soil erosion, with major mudslides into the river and its tributaries in 1947, 1982, 1991 and 2001.
As the river reached Huddersfield, the traditional
textileindustries created considerable amount of water pollution, particularly through the processes involved in the production of chemical dyeand in scouring the wool clean. The enormous growth of the population over the last hundred years (currently over 800,000 people live within the river's catchment) has caused other problems in relation to sewage. Another major source of pollution until recently came from a disused tar distillery in Mirfield[http://www.ehj-online.com/archive/2000/january2005/january2.html] .
Tighter controls during the 1950s led to an improvement in water quality, and presently organisations such as Calder Future are working collaboratively with local industries and
Yorkshire Waterto promote more responsible use of the river and to re-establish lost wildlife along its banks.
Flooding and flood defences
The river has a history of flooding, mainly due to the high sides of its banks in its earlier stages, which cause rapid runoff of water following heavy rain. Much of the lower part of the river has been
urbanised, therefore trapping flowing water within the engineered river channels. Fast flows of water cause the deposition of sediment collected from the river banks, raising the river height further.
A variety of flood defences are in operation along the Calder Valley to prevent the recurrence of floods which devastated communities in the early part of this century. At Wakefield, for example, the lake at
Pugneys Country Parkis used as an overflow for the river in order to protect the town. Lately there has been large amounts of rain which causes the risk of the River Calder flooding more common.
Leisure use of the river
The river is home to a variety of watersports activities:
canoeingcentre at Sowerby Bridge
waterskiingin gravel pits at Cromwell Bottom
* watersports and
anglingat Pugneys Country Park
* the use of leisure craft and narrowboats along the lower stretch of the river where navigation is made easier through the canals built during the
* Walking routes along the
Pennine Wayand Calderdale Way
Rivers of the United Kingdom
* [http://www.kirklees-ednet.org.uk/subjects/geog/resources/calderweb/intro.htm Kirklees site about the River Calder]
* [http://www.montegodata.co.uk/Educate/rivers.htm Rivers Info with images] accessed
14 December 2007.
* [http://www.calderfuture.org.uk/ Calder Future]
* [http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/Planning/Regeneration/Wakefield/Waterfront/default.htm Wakefield Waterfront Project]
* [http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/commondata/acrobat/calder_consultation_1017507.pdf Calder Catchment Flood Management Plan]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
River Calder (disambiguation) — There are several rivers named Calder in the United Kingdom:England * River Calder in West Yorkshire a major tributary of the River Aire * River Calder, Cumbria, flows into the Irish Sea near Sellafield * River Calder, Lancashire, a major… … Wikipedia
River Calder, Wyre — The River Calder is the main tributary of the River Wyre in Lancashire, England. It rises near Fiendsdale Head in the Forest of Bowland and flows through the villages of Oakenclough and Calder Vale before passing under the M6 motorway, West Coast … Wikipedia
River Calder (Cumbria) — The River Calder is a river in Cumbria, England.The river rises at Lankrigg Moss and flows southwards through an ancient landscape, flowing under Monks Bridge and by the site of Calder Abbey, as well as several tumuli and other mysterious… … Wikipedia
River Calder, Lancashire — The River Calder is a major tributary of the River Ribble starting above Burnley in Lancashire and is around 24 km / 15 miles in length. It flows through Towneley Park and Burnley town centre where it is joined by the River Brun. It then flows… … Wikipedia
River Calder, Renfrewshire — The River Calder is a river mainly within Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK. The river rises in the hills to the east of the county and for some of its length forms the border between Renfrewshire and its neighbouring council areas of North Ayrshire and … Wikipedia
Calder Bank and Braes — CALDER BANK and BRAES, a village, in the parish of Old Monkland, Middle ward of the county of Lanark; containing 1064 inhabitants. It is seated on the banks of the river Calder, and south of the high road from Airdrie to Glasgow; the Calder… … A Topographical dictionary of Scotland
Calder and Hebble Navigation — The Calder and Hebble Navigation is a Broad (ie with 14 foot wide locks and bridgeholes) inland waterway in West Yorkshire, England, which has remained navigable since it was opened.HistoryBy the beginning of the 18th century, the Aire and Calder … Wikipedia
River Wyre — Location map Lancashire lat=53.923282 long= 3.004376 width=180 float=right caption= Wyre estuary shown within Lancashire (gbmapping|SD340479)The River Wyre is a river in Lancashire, England, which flows into the Irish Sea at Fleetwood. It is… … Wikipedia
River Ribble — Infobox River | river name = River Ribble caption = The River Ribble at Ribchester. Photograph by [http://www.flickr.com/people/stubbsuk Stuart Grimshaw] origin = Confluence of Gayle Beck and Cam Beck, Selside mouth = Irish Sea at Lytham basin… … Wikipedia
River Aire — Geobox|River name = River Aire map size = map caption = country = England region type = Counties region = North Yorkshire region1 = West Yorkshire region2 = East Riding of Yorkshire city = Leeds length = 114 watershed = 1004 discharge location =… … Wikipedia