WHEN THIS STRETCH of the River Calder was opened up to navigation there was a stipulation
from the landowner that barges should sail along this stretch of the river, rather
than be towed by horses. This must have added a serene element to the prospect from
Lupset Hall, provided, of course, they were far enough away not to hear the grumbling
and occasional curses of the bargees.
When barges reached the end of their working life they were incorporated into the
sandy banks of the river to strengthen them. Archivist John Goodchild tells me that
you can occasionally see their remains exposed.
The channel on the left was cut to allow barges to bypass a meander, leaving a tadpole-shaped
island, once the site of a factory but now redeveloped as Calder Island with a health
club, a fish and chip restaurant and so on. I guess that Thornes Flood Lock is still
closed when the river rises.
On the opposite bank of the river, not far downstream, stood Ferryboat Farm. This
was demolished when flood prevention plans in the valley were revised in recent years.
A new levee allows the flooding of a stretch of land which has been earmarked for
development as a 100 acre wetland nature reserve. Early signs are that wildfowl will
flock to it.