Memories of Calderdale

The beck that runs through Rastrick


Stan Holroyd

The beck that runs all down Rastrick enters the Calder nearby. That beck is very odd and very mysterious.

One branch of that beck comes down Rastrick from above where Smith's Mill was in Badger Hill by the Sun Inn. I think the source was a large pond which we knew as Jagger Dam in the fields above the mill – just where the M62 runs now. It provided water for the two mill dams above Smith's mill.

The beck is very elusive and it, and its tributary from behind Round Hill Lump, seem to run underground for a large part of their courses – and cross New Road Cricket club field. It comes out in a culvert (or did!) in what was Thomas Helm's Spout Mills, runs under the mill into the dam (long since drained) then disappears again and crosses the valley at the bottom of Delf Hill coming out behind the Chip shop and continuing down the valley between the Rastrick Library and Tofts Grove – there used to be strange brick work in the fields here – a culvert?.

It probably supplied Sladdin's Mill in Jumble Dyke with water. It crosses the road below the Mill above Castle Fields Drive (I remember there used to be 18 inch deep holes in the field with running water in the bottom. It passes into the area where Walshaw Drake's mills used to be. Here it must be joined by the stream that starts its life just below the Clough House Inn.

That stream too seems to disappear – just where Riach's "Ranch" was at the bottom of the "New footpath" on Toothill Bank. At times of heavy rain it overflowed the tunnel and ran down the old cart track and out into Toothill Bank itself and past the Junction Inn to flood the road.

I have an inkling that it runs from there in a valley through the small golf course at Sparrow Park above Walshaw Drake's Mill. From there to Bridge End viaduct and the outfall into the Calder I don't know where it goes – possibly, under the old Brandy snap works. The streams probably explain the siting of Smith's, Spout, Sladdin's and Walshaw Drake's mills, – and maybe the blacksmith opposite the Junction Inn, – and yet the streams have no names that I know of and barely appear above ground. Not sure whether that is by design or a freak of nature – perhaps we need a geologist to explain.

Anyway the narrow gap and valley that the streams run in are what dictated the need for the Bridge End viaduct – not the Calder. It was maybe the debris from this little Rastrick stream that made the place on the Calder a ford in the first place – so this now mainly invisible stream, can perhaps be responsible for both Rastrick and Brighouse being where and what they are!

Old Maps show wells at various spots down both valleys – I wonder if the Elland Edge Stone strata have anything to do with this stream's elusive course?

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 00:13 / 3rd December 2023 / 5216

Page Ref: M_5

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