The Calder Future Partnership is involved in a wide range of activities and projects, from the development of local forums, river clean-ups, practical conservation tasks and educational activities in local schools, through to developing planning guidance and other policies relating to the Calder and its tributaries.

We are always on the look out for new projects, please call to discuss.


Calder Navigation Soc
Calder Future volunteers keep Brighouse bright and sunny

We are working with the Canal & River Trust (British Waterways), in partnership with others, to tidy up the the Calder & Hebble Navigation, near Brighouse Marina. Another place where we keep on top of the rubbish is Wellholme Park – we carry out a litter-sweep of Clifton Beck every June before the Brighouse Gala is held there.

We have worked in the past on the Armytage Road flood banking where we have planted trees and wildflowers, and put in a couple of benches. These benches are now being used by staff from the local businesses, and we have fixed plaques to them so people know they are provided by Calder Future.

Sowerby Bridge

Joint working to improve the waterways.
Joint working to improve the waterways.

We have worked with Canal & River Trust (British Waterways) volunteers to keep the canal towpath and lock area free of litter and overgrown vegetation in and around Sowerby Bridge Wharf.

We have also been keeping on top of the balsam and litter at County Bridge, a high profile site right in the centre of town, and one of the most accessible parts of the riverbank for fishermen and children – there were three successful events with the Canoe Club last year, all of them involving the young members of the club as well.



Tipside is a linear riverside walk from Todmorden Town centre, which TRIG have been managing as a community area. Calder Future has assisted the local group with its work litter picking and cutting back the vegetation to manage this site.

To get ‘more hands on deck’ we held two very successful corporate events during 2007 – one with ‘Day Services’ – staff and service users came out from two social services day centres in Halifax and had a great day in the sun pulling balsam. On another occasion volunteers from Halifax plc got down into the river at Tipside to clear unsightly rubbish, easily filling a skip by lunchtime.  More recently ‘Community Payback’ have come on board to assist in the work.


Elland – in partnership with British Waterways

Making the canal a better place.
Making the canal a better place.

As part of our joint working with British Waterways, we have spruced up Elland Park Lock on the Calder & Hebble Navigation. This has been a successful project with help from Marshall ‘s Landscape Products, whose HQ is adjacent to the Lock. We have had a series of workdays with staff, planting shrubs on both sides of the lock and replacing the benches – people can now sit awhile and enjoy the improvements we have made to the canalside. In Spring 2008 we repaired the tumbledown stone wall, next to the lock-keeper’s cottage, with workers from Marshalls.

At Salterhebble Basin, also a British Waterways project, some of the resident boaters have been involved in planting up the beds, which were originally quite bare, and we continue to keep an eye on the site, managing the weeds. We have also installed a compost bin here for ourselves and the boaters to use, and did a major litter-sweep/balsam pull with British Waterways volunteers along the towpath in the summer of 2011.


Opening up a community green space for the people of North Halifax.
Opening up a community green space for the people of North Halifax.

We received funding in 2006 from Pennine Housing to create a community footpath in Mixenden, running alongside Clough Bank Beck. This opens up a piece of green land, owned by Pennine, as an open space for local people. The new footpath, completed at the beginning of January 2008, is a crushed stone surface, half of which is fully accessible for wheelchairs and which is secured by a series of disabled accessible kissing-gates. These gates prevent the intrusion of quadbikes and such like into the area, which was a major concern on the part of the residents. The project was carried through by a local landscaping contractor, and it is hoped to involve the local residents, young people in particular, in the on-going management of the site.

At the beginning of the work, in association with the Mixenden street wardens, we carried out a litter sweep with local children of Hebble Brook, near the starting point of the footpath. As part of the project, a fence has been erected with wire mesh attached to try and stop litter from blowing into the area above the Brook.

Hebden Bridge

Replacing views of rubbish with wildflowers in Hebden Bridge.
Replacing views of rubbish with wildflowers in Hebden Bridge.

Calder Future volunteers have planted daffodils along Hebden Water – these complement the improved waterside footpath to Hardcastle Crags, which the Countryside Service has been working on.

A variety of bulbs have also been planted along the cycletrack near the station – we will continue hand-pulling the invasive Himalayan balsam here during the summer months, and then hopefully have a carpet of woodland flowers for people to enjoy the following spring. In fact, in June 2011 we had an activity day with fifty corporate volunteers from all over the country tackling the balsam.

Calder Future’s work to control invasive species.

A major part of Calder Future’s work programme on the river and waterways is to get rid of two invasive species, which came into our country in Victorian times – Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed. Their spread through the Calder Valley is causing a reduction in the diversity of native plants that is unparalleled in recent times. The two invasives are a feature of waterways that periodically overflow their banks, or where water levels tend to rise and fall due to heavy rainfall. In this way many of the River Calder’s natural flood margin areas are affected, as well as the canal system.

Himalayan balsam arrived in the north of England as seed inside bales of cotton and quickly escaped to spread along the river banks. The flower has large, pink flowers and is often called ‘policeman’s helmet’. It is sappy and brittle, and has encroached along the county’s rivers and canals, sometimes smothering the natural vegetation – water is the main transporter of the seeds.

It is a shallow-rooted annual plant and easy to pull up – doing this before the seedheads pop can be an effective method of control, although it has to be done year on year due to the dormant seed bed remaining in the soil. Calder Future organises volunteer and corporate work parties to ‘blitz’ balsam during the summer months.

Japanese knotweed , introduced as a ground-cover plant by the Victorians, is a much more deeply rooted and virulent plant than balsam, and very difficult to control. Like balsam the plant grows along river banks, and also likes broken disturbed ground and railway embankments. The seeds of the plant are actually sterile, and it spreads vegetatively, through its roots, which are hard to dig up. The stems can even grow up through concrete, so it can be a major problem and spreads quickly through any previously disturbed soil, such as in pockets of landfill.
Hand-pulling can weaken the plant over time, but spraying with chemicals approved by the Environment Agency is the most effective form of eradication. Calder Future has arranged the funds for a spraying programme in the Hebden Royd town council area to target stands of the plant in the river corridor, as hand-pulling is hard work and not always productive.

Business Stewardship Scheme

Calder Future, Calderdale’s unique river improvement scheme has received funding from HBOS to continue the good work carried out by the Business Stewardship Scheme, in partnership with the Green Business Network. The scheme aims to help small and micro businesses situated along the river and canal corridors of Calderdale to save money, reduce the impact they have on the environment, and encourage them to ‘adopt’ and help take care of an area of riverbank.

The 2007 scheme was able to offer a small grant, of up to £250, for match funding to invest in any of the environmental suggestions highlighted in the report. There was a new environmental toolkit on offer, which included many practical suggestions on ways to reduce the costs of, for example, energy use, water use and transport whilst at the same time reducing environmental impact. Eight companies participated in the 2007 scheme.

In 2006 the scheme helped 11 companies by providing a free environmental audit. Of these, four went on to receive the Calder Future Business Stewardship Standard by agreeing to help Calder Future. For example, one company agreed to make available their tools free of charge for Calder Future work parties; while another agreed to spray against the Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species, that is growing next to the River Calder on their boundary. Click to see a case study of the Calder Future Business Stewardship

The companies audited have saved money principally by cutting down on their energy use, but also by recycling more waste. The scheme has also been good for the environment, which apart from the reduction in energy and water use one company has tidied up a litter strewn area next to the riverbank, and another replaced easy to spill, unprotected waste coolant drums, with a bunded 1000 litre container.


Calder Future partner, Treesponsibility, a small but active community group combining reforestation with raising awareness about climate change, are now offering short holidays and weekend breaks tree planting in the beautiful Upper Calder Valley. The holidays offer plenty of time to explore the countryside and discover the delights of the old mill towns and hill top villages, and the satisfaction of knowing that your holiday will be the seed from which new woodlands will grow. Further details: telephone 07847 815 926 or email

Treesponsibility are also helping to co-ordinate ‘The Source Project’ to repair the degraded uplands close to the source of the River Calder. Read more at Treesponsibility .