10% off 2023 holidays if booked before Christmas
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10% off 2023 holidays if booked before Christmas
Call us on 07710 863124 for more info.

10/11 nights Hebden Bridge

Leeds and Liverpool Canal & The Calder and Hebble Navigation

The perfect destination for canal boat holidays in Yorkshire

Leeds to Hebden Bridge (return) can be completed in 10 days. This is based on between 7 and 9-hour days of summer light. The time scales here are just to show a guide of what can be found on the route.

1 day – Leaving Leeds

Leaving the mill in the distance heading south down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal you have 2 locks before you enter Granary Wharf (that those from Leeds would say is the START of the canal, the longest in the country). Granary Wharf has had some major yet sympathetic development and is now home to numerous restaurants, bars and pubs (all of which would have my recommendation) as well as being very literally a stone’s throw from the train station and the rest of the city.

Leaving Granary Wharf through River Lock you embark on a journey down the river Aire, the start of the still commercially active, Aire and Calder navigation. This takes you through the heart of the city, past Calls Landing and Brewery Wharf, to Clarence Dock (now Leeds Dock but once known as Tatty Basin due to potatoes being transported by barge) home of The Royal Armouries Museum.

Continuing downriver through Leeds Lock (automated as are future locks on the Aire and Calder) you start to leave the city and the river through Knostrop Lock and pass Thwaites Mill Industrial Museum, still home to a beautiful and operational steam-powered crane. Leaving the urban sprawl greenery starts to take over.

Once you’ve navigated under the M1 and passed through Fishpond Lock you enter the wonderful Woodlesford.  Surrounded by Greenery, the river to your left and the village on your right, it’s the perfect location for any kind of evening. The village is home to 2 supermarkets, 3 pubs, 1 restaurant, a hand full of takeaways, and a chippy that has never let me down.

Leaving Woodlesford through Woodlesford Lock it’s a short cruise to Lemonroyd Lock which is situated next to St Aidan’s Nature Reserve. As much as you have cruised for more minutes and will feel a little more out of the way, Woodlesford Village is only a 10-minute walk away so you still have access to its amenities.

Locking through Lemonroyd Lock can be exciting for experienced boaters let alone novices due to its sheer scale, being one of the deepest locks in the country (13.6 feet) and being built to accommodate the Aire and Calder barges. Once the vast gates have opened you are now back on the river, it’s easy to forget where you are when the trees are in full foliage and you navigate the river’s romantic natural bends. 

After about 45 minutes you will come to Allerton Bywater, historically important to the area’s waterway heritage as somewhere Tom Puddings would be loaded. Now it is a comforting village surrounded by nature reserves and open space. Home to a riverside pub and other amenities you might expect on your canal boat holiday in Yorkshire.

Holidays in Hebden Bridge

Day 2 – Disembarking from Allerton Bywater

Disembarking from Allerton Bywater heading down river you will shortly arrive at Castleford junction. For the Calder and Hebble Navigation, you want to take a sharp right at this junction heading up the river Calder. After around 40 minutes or so you should arrive at Woodnook Lock which will take you off the river and back onto the man-made navigation.

Once pend through Woodnook Lock it will take about an hour and a half, including 2 locks, to arrive at Stanley Ferry. The first thing you will pass through is the Stanley Ferry aqueduct built in 1836 to take the Aire and Calder Navigation over the River Calder.

As you pass you will also notice the lock workshop on your right, run by the Canal and River Trust, this is where the majority of the lock gates are made bespoke to each lock. With an array of boats to gongoozle (boat spot), Southern Washlands Nature Reserve and The Stanley Ferry pub canal side the visitor moorings here are definitely worth using.

Another hour cruise through Stanley Ferry flood lock (should be open and no need to operate) Back on the river you will come to Fall Ing Lock, be sure to open the paddles gradually penning uphill as the current on these paddles can be extremely aggressive. Once through and a couple of bends later you will arrive at Wakefield visitor moorings with the Ruddy Duck pub opposite. You are now in the heart of Wakefield city centre, a city that is renowned for its rhubarb, cathedral, and for its eclectic mix of watering holes due to its mining heritage. You are also now navigating the Calder and Hebble Navigation.

Leaving Wakefield on the Calder and Hebble Navigation you now have a pleasant and scenic hour-and-a-half cruise including only 2 locks to Calder Grove and the Navigation Inn. The first of these locks, Thorne Lock, is the first time you will encounter the need for a Hand Spike, a lock tool unique to the Calder and Hebble Navigation, a favourite Yorkshire canal boat holidays destination.

Once through Broad Cut Low Lock, you will find The Navigation Inn canal side pub, nestled between the beautiful metal work of Waller Bridge and red brick Broad Cut Railway Bridge. It would almost be rude not to make the 20 steps from boat to bar.

Heading another 50 minutes on, including 1 lock, you will head through one of my favourite stretches of canal, with steel and iron bridges reminiscent of Van Gogh’s ‘Water Lillies’ and open space with wide views. This will lead you to the Bingley Arms Inn, yet another canal-side pub house in the village of Horbury Bridge.

Another hour and 30 minutes, including 3 locks, have your handspike ready, and you will approach Dewsbury Arm Junction visitor moorings at the feet of Thornhill Double Locks. If wanting to venture up the Dewsbury arm, I would advise doing this by foot as moorings are limited in the basin and manoeuvring can be difficult. But The Leggers Inn pub in the basin is well worth the 10-minute walk and a further walk to explore Dewsbury Market and Sea Urchin fish and chips may be seen by some as a justified venture.

Canal Boat Holidays Yorkshire - Mirfield

Day 3 – The Calder and Hebble Navigation

Heading up Thornhill Double locks along the Calder and Hebble Navigation you have varied scenery as you leapfrog between river and navigation sections. Within 2 hours you will arrive at Shepley Bridge Lock. Once pend up the river you will pass Shepley Bridge Marina and services on your right.

If you continue another 20 minutes you will come to the heart of Mirfield and available mooring spots. The town has all the amenities including 3 supermarkets and yet another Navigation Inn that’s canal side with its own visitor mooring.

Leaving Mirfield past Mirfield Marina you will then join another section of the river. After a short cruise, you will be approaching Battyeford Lock which is the way to go to continue along the Calder and Hebble Navigation.

You will see signs directing all craft in that direction, but… if you fancy a very small detour and lesser-known mooring spot, continue upriver for a very short time and you will see The Pear Tree pub on your right with a jetty attached to the beer garden (take care on the jetty as it’s a little flood battered), enjoy some food or spend the evening and simple reverse or turn back to Battyeford Lock landing.

Passing though, out of Battyeford Lock, you will see South Pennine Boat Club, a fine spot for some gongoozling. Within 40mins you will be penning through Cooper Bridge lock and Cooper Bridge visitor moorings will be just around the bend. Immediately after these moorings you will find a junction in which you will be presented with a choice, turn sharp right for the Huddersfield broad and narrow canals (see Huddersfield section) or turn left to continue on your Yorkshire canal boat holidays on the Calder and Hebble Navigation towards the Rochdale canal.

Continuing along the Calder and Hebble Navigation you have just short of a 2hr cruise to Brighouse basin including 4 locks (1 of which will take you out of the lower basin, but visitor moorings are also located there). This is a very pretty little journey that takes you through the Kirklees lock where there is some lovely scenery. Certainly a nice overnight location or at least to stop for a brew.  Once at Brighouse you have entered Calderdale and have all the delight the town has to offer. The charity shops here are definitely worth a scan as I’ve left without a golden find.

Day 4 – Leaving Brighouse

Leaving Brighouse behind you have almost 5hrs, including 10 locks) till you arrive at Sowerby Bridge and the start of the Rochdale Canal. You pass through the picturesque Cromwell nature reserve and head on through Elland that’s home to a selection of ale houses. You will then approach Salterhebble locks, this is a ‘picture postcard’ set of locks, the first of which has and electric guillotine as its bottom gates. The water point after the second lock may be worth a visit.

The third lock leads to you Salterhebble Junction where you take a sharp left (right taking you for a very short trip up a dead end) to Sowerby for a lock-free cruise. Ideally once entering Sowerby Bridge turn left at the basin entrance to find visitor moorings and lock No1 of the Rochdale canal.

Holidays in Hebden Bridge

Day 5 – The Locks to Hebden Bridge

You now have a 3-and-a-half-hour journey including 7 locks to Hebden Bridge. Find out more about Hebden Bridge at Visit Calderdale. The third of which is Tuel Lane Lock, the deepest in the country 19’8” deep. To the most experienced boaters, this is still an exciting occasion to be pend through by the lock keepers manning the feat of engineering.

The cruise to Hebden Bridge is as scenic as you would imagine. Once arriving in Hebden Bridge try and moor up one of our beautiful boats on the park side before the entrance to the dry dock, as this may be where you will be turning around unless continuing the climb up and over the Pennines, to the highest lock in the country and the summit of the Rochdale canal. Hebden Bridge itself is a village full of art, music, crafts, culture, walks, waterfalls and beer.

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