A personal account of a day in the life of a River Surveyor – Beate Kubitz

Since March 2016, our river surveyors have been surveying various rivers in the catchment in the Calder Valley.  As a result of all this very hard work, we have now completely surveyed the Hebden Water Catchment including at Nutclough, Crimsworth Dene and Hebden Water itself.

Measurements have been taken every 20 metres on these stretches, recording the channel width, depth, bed type and unusual features along the way. Never before has so much information on our river network in the catchment been recorded in such detail and this will now feed into the river models currently being undertaken in the area.  We are all very fortunate to have such beautiful scenery on our doorstep and it has been a great way of spending weekends exploring parts of the river network normally unseen and unexplored.

One of our newest teams is now embarking on a new survey in Walsden Water taking in information from all the tributaries feeding into this important stretch of water in the upper catchment. Beate Kubitz, who is heading up our new team has written a personal account about their first foray into Walsden Water to survey this stretch of river.

Beate Kubitz writes………………….

We decided to survey the upper reaches of Ramsden Clough between two foot bridges. It was easier to survey from the top bridge to the lower one, although we encountered two impassable waterfalls, which meant we had to detour around them, each time accessing them from different directions.

This river section is around 250m long and varies between 2 and 5m wide. Its banks are steep and wooded, with few flood plains although there are opportunities for creating deeper, larger pools at some points.


Figure 2: Typical river view – point 3, 60m below bridge

At about 80m below the upper bridge there is a waterfall (impassable today). There is definitely some drainage entering the stream from the left hand bank. Above this point is a depression which could be a holding area, although the drainage doesn’t currently appear to feed it.

Figure 3: Above point 5, 80m below bridge


Figure 4: View of point 5 (80m below bridge) from above

There is one rocky, steep to almost vertical, tributary at about 185m below the upper bridge. A large pool has formed where it joins the main stream.

Figure 5: View of waterfall into pool, points 10 and 11 85m below bridge

Figure 6: Steep tributary entering pool at point 10/11 85m below bridge

Apart from these there are multiple drains and smaller inlets which gather water into the stream (an example photographed at point 3, 60m below the upper bridge).  The riverbed is either stony or slabbed with large sections of bedrock. This probably contributes to its fast flow. There are a few waterfalls over natural stone weirs in the upper section.

Figure 7: Typical mix of bedrock and stones found along this stretch

The last waterfall in this section is of manmade construction and (at 3-4m) higher than the natural falls upstream. It is crossed by a wooden footbridge, which clears the riverbed by 0.7m at the central point.’

Slow The Flow Calderdale would like to say a huge thank you to Beate and her team for their efforts at Walsden.  Not only have they managed to record a huge amount of information, but they have been to stretches of water not normally visited by members of the public to gain this data and information.

The information recorded in the upper catchment will be hugely important in analysing the amount of water which is then discharged into the river network which in turn has a significant impact all the way through to Brighouse and beyond.  

More information on our River Surveys and the results collected can be viewed on our River Survey pages.

If you would like to help Beate and her team, please contact us for information.

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