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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

River Spen
River Spen.jpg
Spen River running east through Millbridge, Liversedge into Heckmondwike
Physical characteristics
 • locationConfluence of Hunsworth Beck and Nann Hall Beck in Cleckheaton
 • coordinates53°43′59″N 1°43′05″W / 53.73306°N 1.71806°W / 53.73306; -1.71806 (Source of River Spen)
 • elevation81 metres (266 ft)
 • location
River Calder at Dewsbury
 • coordinates
53°40′49″N 1°39′4″W / 53.68028°N 1.65111°W / 53.68028; -1.65111 (Mouth of River Spen)
 • elevation
42 metres (138 ft)
Length8 kilometres (5.0 mi)
Basin size46.3 square kilometres (17.9 sq mi)[1]

The River Spen, known locally as Spen Beck, in West Yorkshire, England is a tributary of the River Calder. It rises north of Cleckheaton, runs through Liversedge and flows into the Calder to the south of Dewsbury at Ravensthorpe. The average rainfall for the river valley of between 600–1000mm per annum when combined with the steep narrow river channel, makes the Spen susceptible to regular flooding.[2]


The River Spen is formed at the confluence of Hunsworth Beck and Nann Hall Beck in Cleckheaton. The river flows south past industrial premises parallel to a dismantled railway line before turning south east on the outskirts of Liversedge. It continues flowing south east through the industrial centre of the town before returning southwards along the edge of Heckmondwike. On the outskirts of Ravensthorpe, the river turns south east again before joining the River Calder.

Natural history

The river is mainly an urban waterway and has been polluted by sewage effluent and industrial waste, though levels of pollutants and mine water discharges have decreased since 1999. Heavy rain can cause pollutant levels to rise and the river suffers from tipping and urban litter.[3]

Several non-native species of plant are found along the river including giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed. Bistort, wild garlic, nettles and dandelions are found in abundance in the meadows between the conurbations.[4]


The disused railway line adjacent to the riverbank is part of the Spen Valley Greenway (National Cycle Route 66) from Dewsbury to Oakenshaw near Bradford. The greenway is home to a collection of artworks, including A Flock of Swaledale Sheep, constructed from recycled industrial scrap by Sally Matthews, and Rotate by Trudi Entwistle which comprises 40 giant steel hoops set in a circle.[5]



Ordnance Survey Open Data [1]


  1. ^ "Spen Statistics". National River Flow Archives. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  2. ^ "River flow" (PDF). Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Water quality". Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Biodiversity". Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Leisure activities". Retrieved 21 August 2011.
This page was last edited on 3 September 2021, at 19:53
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