River Colne, Yorkshire

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The Colne at the bottom of Chapel Hill, Huddersfield

The River Colne is a river in the West Riding of Yorkshire, formed by a meeting of waters at the foot of the Pennines close to the village of Marsden. It is 13 miles long.


Numerous brooks formed by rainwater high (between 1,000 and 1,500 feet above sea level in the Yorkshire Pennines, flow down the hillsides through the small valleys (known locally as Cloughs) to feed two reservoirs; March Haigh Reservoir and Redbrook Reservoir. Below these, Haigh Brook and Redbrook continue the journey down the slopes, again being fed by numerous tributaries, until the two streams converge at a scenic spot called Close Gate Bridge. This confluence forms the River Colne.

The river flows from west to east through the Colne Valley passing through the villages of Marsden, Slaithwaite and Milnsbridge to the major town of Huddersfield. Below Huddersfield it runs on to Cooper Bridge where it feeds the larger River Calder.

Tributaries of the Colne include Wessenden Brook, Bradley Brook, Crimble Brook and the River Holme.

Historical interest

The Colne Valley was famous for the manufacture of woollen and cotton cloth regarded as some of the finest quality produced anywhere and all due to the soft acidic waters of the River Colne and its brooks running down through the side valleys (cloughs) from the peat moors above.


The Huddersfield Narrow Canal follows the course of the river through the valley, as does the Huddersfield Line railway, and the A62 road. The river itself is too shallow and rocky to be navigable by any watercraft.

There are numerous factories, warehouses and plants along the river providing goods, services and jobs, but a few of these cause pollution to the local environment and waterways.[1] In order to help tackle pollution, the Environment Agency demand that certain standards be met by local companies.

On 24 May 2010, part of a chemical factory was accidentally set ablaze and caused waste to be emptied into the river and the canal causing the deaths of many fish.[2]


  1. Lavigueur, Nick "Sub Micron Industries Ltd pollution", The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 12 February 2010.
  2. Casey, Sam "Grosvenor Chemicals apology", The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 24 May 2010.