River Holme

The River Holme flows through the Holme Valley and is a major tributary of the River Colne, which it joins near to Folly Hall, Huddersfield.

The river begins at Digley Reservoir and flows through Holmbridge, Holmfirth, Thongsbridge, Brockholes, Honley, Armitage Bridge and Lockwood before joining the Colne at Huddersfield.

Tributaries include the River Ribble, Mag Brook, Dean Clough, Hebble Dike and Black Sike Dike.


Historically, the river was prone to flooding, most notably in 1852 when 81 people were killed.

Year Description Deaths
1738 Heavy prolonged rain caused the valley to flood, damaging fields. 0
1777 A heavy storm on 21 July caused the river to burst its banks and flood the valley. A stone church built in the 1470s was washed away but rebuilt the following year. 3
1799 "In the autumn of 1799 several houses and mills at Holmfirth and Huddersfield were swept away by the floods, but no loss of life is recorded."[1] 0
1821 "On September 21st, after a heavy rain, the great reservoir above Blacksike Mill burst its embankment, and rolled down the valley a prodigious volume of water, which forced down the buildings in its course. The flood commenced at seven in the evening, and the water had subsided at ten, but the inhabitants did not dare to retire to rest. The next day presented a truly affecting scene of desolation — mud, stones, timber, broken furniture, work-tools, and prostrate trees were spread over the fields for a considerable extent. Happily no lives were lost, although the wreck of property was very great."[1] 0
1822 "May 20th, after a severe thunder storm, a cloud burst on the hills above Holmfirth and Meltham, and, from the junctions of those valleys, sent down the vale a breast of water from seven to nine feet, high, hut happily no lives were lost."[1] 0
1852 Following prolonged heavy rain, the defective embankment of the Bilberry Reservoir gave way in the early hours of 5 February and released around 86 million gallons of water down the Holme Valley. Along with the large loss of life, seven bridges, several mills and many residential properties were washed away. [1] 81
1944 On 29 May, a severe thunderstorm caused flash flooding. Despite widespread damage to property, Bilberry Reservoir held back some of the water and helped limit the number of fatalities. German prisoners of war housed in the area helped with the rescue efforts. Geoffrey Riley was awarded the Albert Medal, and later the George Cross, in recognition of his valiant attempt to rescue an elderly woman. The victims were named as: Donald Riley (Spring Leigh, Woodhead Road), Mrs. W. Schofield (Towngate, Holmfirth) and Miss Maud Wimpenny (aged 76 of Victoria, Holmfirth). 3


  • 8-year-old Maud Ellis accidentally fell into the river near Armitage Road whilst walking home from school. Her body was recovered four days later near Lockwood.

Further Reading


Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Awful Catastrophe and Fearful Loss of Life at Holmfirth in Huddersfield Chronicle (07/Feb/1852).

River Holme


Rivers and streams
This page was last modified on 16 January 2016 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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