About the project

The early textile industry here in the Upper Calder Valley was powered by a renewable source - namely water power.

Local people were asking if it was possible to once again get power from the local streams and river and so we decided to look at those old mills and water wheels that made this area the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution - and from this evidence, to look at the viability of re-installing water power with modern turbines. We have specifically looked at the mills of the Colden Valley, one of the tributaries of the Calder River, as almost the whole water management system can still be seen – if you know where to look.

Using local family records and photographic archives we have compiled the story of those mills and the lives of the people who owned and worked in them.

The project has investigated the whole changeover from domestic manufacture to factory working and how that affected people’s lives and environment - the marrying of different types of work (farming & textiles) to make a living in a harsh environment.

One of the outcomes of the project was to identify the potential for re-installing micro hydro in the valley and as such several sites have been identified, from historical information, that bear further investigation.

During the life of this project the Colden Valley has succeeded in becoming a designated Local Nature Reserve.

Note on water mill sites
Most of the sites are on private property though most of the sites can be viewed from public roads or footpaths. We must stress that reference to a site does NOT imply any public right of access to the site.

Bob Weir
Bob Mill Weir
Photo: Jim Strom

Tait Tod Valley from Mytholm
Tait Painting of Mytholm Valley
Picture: Hebden Bridge Local History Society Archive

Colden Valley
The Lumb Mills – Lower Lumb Mill and Upper Lumb Mill with Lumb Bank to the right of the picture
Photo: Raymond and Christine Newhouse



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Power in the Landscape 2007