Slow the Flow Summary – December 2018

At this time of year, we are of course uneasily reminded of the anniversary of our raison d’être; the Boxing Day Flood of 2015.  So as we head to the end of 2018, Slow The Flow Calderdale looks back on yet another incredible year in the quest to reduce flood risk in the Calder Valley through Natural Flood Management.

The support of our partner agencies, volunteers, friends and fundraisers has contributed hugely to the success of our projects and we continue to be ever thankful to everyone who has supported us and our community in one way or another. 

Thankyou to you all. 

During the last year, 100s of local people have joined us at Hardcastle Crags building in excess of 300 leaky dams and many storage areas which anecdotally are now working to slow the flow during heavy rainfall events, through the Crags and into Hebden Bridge.  This number grows monthly with on average another 10+  being added each month

We have been helped of course by the reduced rain fall in the last six months lowering the water table – but we are confident that we have all have made a significant contribution to the reduction of flood risk in this area. We hope to have some formal results from our scientific monitoring activities in 2019 which will illustrate how our work is making that difference.

You can see on our social media channels: Twitter (@slowtheflow_UK), Facebook (Slow The Flow Calderdale) and You Tube (Slow The Flow Calderdale) the many ways our work is impacting on the community in the Calder Valley.

There are some really good short videos of our work on Twitter and Facebook if you visit our pages.  They outline simply what we do, how leaky dams work and how our partners support the work we do. 

Monitoring the work at Hardcastle Crags

The river level monitoring project will be further developed in 2019 as we have now received confirmation of further grant funding. This work will measure the influence of our 300+ leaky dams in Hardcastle Crags and, hopefully, provide an early warning system of river levels throughout the area. 

We will have more information on our monitoring project in 2019.

You Can Slow The Flow using SuDS

In the summer we installed the rain garden at Hebden Bridge Town Hall which uses rain water to feed the planters in the courtyard.  This hopefully will demonstrate how simple measures can be adopted to use rainfall in imaginative ways in our urban environments, which in turn reduces flood risk.  SuDs, or Sustainable Drainage Systems, can contribute hugely to flood alleviation if enough of us implement them, and this simple project illustrates how it might be achieved 

More information on SuDS and how you can help by devising your own schemes can be found here – If you have installed your own SuDS scheme, please help us spread the word by becoming a case study on the website!

What’s next?

As we move into 2019, our work continues.  Our partnerships with The National Trust, The Environment Agency and Calderdale Council continue to flourish.  We are working on developing schemes in other areas around Calderdale.  Our work on the NFM Grant Fund set up earlier this year will also help identify some of these areas so if you own some land and think you can help contribute to reducing flood risk in some way, please contact us or visit here.

Hosting an International Conference

In March 2019, we are hosting a community resilience conference called ‘A CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY RESILIENCE’ at Hebden Bridge Town Hall where other flood affected communities from around the UK and beyond have been invited to come and talk to us about what we have done in the Calder Valley and to benefit from our now extensive experience. 

We are expecting up to 100 delegates to visit Hebden Bridge and spend the weekend with us to learn more about how Natural Flood Management can help communities reduce their own flood risk.  We have also been in touch with a community in Spain who experienced significant flooding in the summer and they too are looking to attend our conference in March.  This clearly demonstrates that the solutions we are adopting here in the UK are now becoming known outside of the UK.  If you know of other flood affected communities in the UK and beyond, please direct them to for more information.

The entire weekend will cost only £25 for attendance at this conference.  The cost has been subsidised by the support of Hebden Royd Town Council and The National Trust at Hardcastle Crags and we continue to be grateful for their support to keep these costs as low as possible for everyone. 

The Hebden Royd Mayor’s chosen Charity – final celebration with a ceilidh in March ‘19!

This year we have been Cllr Carol Stow chosen Charity during her tenure as Hebden Royd Town Council Mayor.  We have been extremely grateful to Mayor Carol for this support as this has helped to raise more funds to help us meet some of the costs of running Slow The Flow.  This year, we had a very successful film night at Hebden Bridge Picture House and a terrific quiz night at The Trades Club which both raised more money for our work to slow the flow.     

In March 2019 Mayor Carol Stow will be hosting a Ceilidh at Mytholmroyd Community Centre to raise money for our work.  Tickets cost just £10 and can be purchased here

And Finally………………………….

During the long dry summer months experienced in 2018, the risk of flooding has maybe not been on everyone’s mind.   However, with the prospect of an ever changing climate and the increased risk of flooding globally, it is imperative that we as a community continue to work to mitigate our own flood risk.  Local and national Government simply cannot do it all and if we all play our part in some small way, this too can contribute in keeping us all safe. 

Our management team at Slow The Flow continue to work incredibly hard on all the various projects we have taken on.  1000s of hours have been spent working on Slow The Flow projects since 2016.  If you feel you have something to contribute and would like to get involved in one way or another, please do get in touch with us. 

Volunteering is the bedrock of what we do and we simply would not have managed without the significant hours of dedication our volunteers and the management team, who are all volunteers, have put in. 

Our Chair for the last 2 years has been Joey Williams and in December he stepped down from this demanding role.  We are very grateful to Joey for his significant contribution and as a result of his tenure, we are in a far better place than we were when we started in 2016.  Joey has been replaced by Bede Mullen as Acting Chair until our AGM in 2019. 

For more information on our work or how you can help alleviate flood risk, please see our website  or email

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