Out & back boating holidays to Stanley Ferry - from Sowerby Bridge
Seven night boating holiday 48 miles 54 locks 30 hours
This trip takes you down the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation past Brighouse, and through wide river sections and narrow cuttings to Wakefield, where there are good moorings right by the Barbara Hepworth museum, and not too far from the bright lights and shopping. Then on to Stanley Ferry to see the famous aqueducts.
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.
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 a Co-op supermarket. and of course good pubs and restaurants.
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.
Broad Cut 7 miles 8 locks 4 hours
A dramatic cutting leads to Double Locks (which are not joined) and Figure of Three (which is two locks) before you end up at Broad Cut, with pleasant moorings outside the Navigation. This pub does food till late, seven days a week.
Stanley Ferry 6 miles 3 locks 3 hours
Carry on, and soon you are in Wakefield. You can moor right outside the stunning new Hepworth Wakefield, with sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and changing contemporary works. After your culture injection, head for the amazingly broad Aire & Calder Navigation and arrive at Stanley Ferry. Here you have a very polular pub, and you can go over one aqueduct and back over another when you make your turn.
Horbury Bridge 8 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. You've time on the way for a visit (or return vist) to those excellent shops in Wakefield. Horbury Bridge has good moorings, two pubs and a restaurant.
Brighouse 10 miles 10 locks 6 hours
A long canal stretch leads you back into the river at the appropriately named Long Cut End and you carry on alternating river and canal (it's easy to see the way). You pass, but may not see, a naturists' meeting place, a monastery and 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.
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).
Sowerby Bridge 2 miles 0 locks 1 hour
A short sail without locks brings you back to base by 0900.