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Out & back boating holidays in the Calder Valley - from Sowerby Bridge

For everyone

Boating holiday in the Calder Valley

Yorkshire Canal Map Seven night boating holiday 40 miles 60 locks 27 hours

This trip takes you down the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation past Brighouse, and through wide river sections and narrow cuttings to Dewsbury. On the return trip, go up to Huddersfield, with interesting shopping, lots of pubs and restaurants, and many fine buildings.

Navigation notes

This is one example of routes which our customers enjoy. Distances and times shown are for the return trip. You can vary the distance to suit you, because there are plenty of turning points ('winding holes') marked in the guides on your boat. Information we provide about specific waterways or suggested routes is for general reference only. Please see more about route availability.

This route is largely on river navigations. In normal conditions the rivers are placid but in prolonged wet weather they can flow too fast for safe navigation. In such cases boats wait at safe moorings while flood water recedes - usually quite quickly.

Day 1

The Navigation pub at Sowerby Bridge on the Calder & Hebble Navigation Long Lees near Elland on the Calder & Hebble Navigation

Elland 3 miles 5 locks 3 hours

Arrive at our base in one of the 200-year old canal warehouses at Sowerby Bridge. After a thorough briefing, you set off, and travel along the side of the valley to Salterhebble Locks, where we meet you and take you through your first three locks. You then do another two locks on your own, hidden away in the trees. At Elland you have a choice of two canalside pubs, one with food, or lots more in the town up the hill - along with shops, takeaways and Morrisons and Co-op supermarkets.

Day 2

The River Calder at Brighouse on the Calder & Hebble Navigation Mirfield on the Calder & Hebble Navigation

Shepley Bridge 8 miles 11 locks 5 hours

Next day you head down, past glimpses of lakes, to Brighouse, a busy small town with interesting shops and a Sainsbury's with its own moorings and of course good pubs and restaurants. From Brighouse you go down into the River Calder. Pass under a towering motorway viaduct, a reminder of the world you left behind - and who cares which motorway it is? The river provides a sweeping contrast to the canal cuts with which it alternates, as it winds its way down the wooded valley to Mirfield. The locks grow further apart and the whole landscape is gentler. Spend the night either at the Ship Inn at Shepley Bridge (a Hungry Horse pub) or stop a little sooner and explore Mirfield, which has an interesting lighting shop, a proper ironmongers, supermarkets and places to eat.

Day 3

Double Locks on the Calder & Hebble Navigation Heron near Figure of Three on the Calder & Hebble Navigation

Dewsbury 6 miles 6 locks 4 hours

Take care not to cut the corner as you go down the bendy river to Greenwood, A dramatic cutting leads to Double Locks (which are not joined). At the bottom, turn right and go through one more lock, arriving at the top of Figure of Three, where you can turn just before the lock house. Walk past the top lock and see repairs getting under way to the bottom lock, badly damaged in the February floods. Then return to the bottom of Double Locks, go straight on through the Bridge, to arrive at Dewsbury Basin. The Leggers Arms awaits - ask the best place to moor. The town centre is a worth the walk.

Day 4

Battye Lock on the Calder & Hebble Navigation Handspike paddle gear on the Calder & Hebble Navigation

Cooper Bridge 7 miles 6 locks 4 hours

As you return, you can take in more of this historically important navigation, significantly older than most of the canal system, and partly designed by John Smeaton, of Eddystone Lighthouse fame. Stop in Mirfield for shopping, and moor in the peaceful lock cut at Cooper Bridge (there are pubs just up the road).

Day 5

Lock 5 on the Huddersfield Broad Canal Moorings at the Apley pub, Huddersfield

Huddersfield 4 miles 9 locks 4 hours

Leave Cooper Bridge Flood Lock and turn left for a short way down the river. After the main road bridge, hold right and moor below the bottom lock of the Huddersfield Broad. This canal leeds you up through playing fields and old industry to the centre of town, where there good moorings outside the Aspley pub, just near the University. There's a good covered market, and you mustn't miss the splendid railway station, or the nearby statue of Harold Wilson.

Day 6

Lock 6 on the Huddersfield Broad Canal The bottom lock on the Huddersfield Broad Canal

Brighouse 6 miles 12 locks 5 hours

Travel back down the Huddersfield Broad. At Cooper Bridge keep left up the river to Kirklees Low Lock, close to Robin Hood's grave (such a fine person was a Yorkshireman, obviously). So you arrive at Brighouse, with time to sample this charming town's pubs and restaurants.

Day 7

Ganny Lock on the Calder & Hebble Navigation Park Nook, Elland on the Calder & Hebble Navigation

Salterhebble 4 miles 11 locks 4 hours

Before you leave Brighouse, make sure you've explored all its interesting shops. A really pretty bit of canal, with splendid views of the hills. At the top of the last lock, detour right along the short Halifax Arm, and overnight here (Brewer's Fayre and ordinary pub).

Final morning

Sowerby Bridge 2 miles 0 locks 1 hour

A short sail without locks brings you back to base by 0900.

How to Book

Use this form to check availability. When you find the boat you want, click 'Book this holiday now' and you can pay your deposit or hold for 48 hours - or ring 01422 832712.

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Trip Reviews

"Wonderful experience, beautiful scenery - loved the historical aspects of the journey. Boat went well - all OK." - Mr Kuter, Devon

"Scenery: particularly enjoyed Kirklees Cut. Enjoyed seeing herons, kingfishers, bats (with bat detector). Interesting aqueduct at Stanley Ferry, good turning point." - Helen Ketteridge, Worcester

"East as far as Calder Grove and back. We were quite slow and stopped to go running/cycling/visiting towns en route. Could have gone to Wakefield if we had pushed on one short day. Other boaters were really friendly and helpful especially at water points. Thanks to owner of Long Dog!" - The Fox family - Worcester

"Very good. Lovely scenery, friendly people." - Jorgensen - Worcester (Denmark)

"The people were very kind! We saw beautiful landscapes, forests and pretty towns." - Mr Mattis, Huntingdon (Switzerland and Poland)

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