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White Ash meets Hyndburn, May 2002

Formally named the Wyndburn Brook, the River Hyndburn is now used to name the district of Accrington and surrounding townships.

In 1428 Henry de Rishton left money for repair for the bridge over the Hyndburn.

In 1537 Fishing reported in the river Hyndburn.

The river now runs through every town in the borough, starting in the South in Haslingden and Baxenden, and going all the way through to Great Harwood and beyond to the River Ribble.


In 1922, on the 28th December, a runaway motor wagon falls in Hyndburn river killing the driver.

The river has many tributaries joining it, but as it runs through Rishton there are just 4.

One of these is White Ash Brook running from Oswaldtwistle through the Rishton district of Ponthalgh.

Holt Mill Bridge in May 2002

Other brooks adjoining the Hyndburn include Spaw, Norden, and Shaw.

The river enters the Rishton boundary at Oswaldtwistle, and meanders along the East side of Rishton forming the boundary to Clayton Le Moors.

It now passes under the new M65 motorway to the South of the Dunkenhalgh Hotel, going between the Dunkenhalgh woods and the mill woods, which is included in some of the walks on the website, before meeting the main A678 road at the Holt.


At the Holt the River picks up Spaw Brook, as it turns into a waterfall which was formally used for the mill wheel at Holt Corn Mill.

The river carries on it way under Holt Bridge, and runs through more green fields which take it past the former sewage works site, before turning slightly to run towards Clayton Le Moors.

Before the sewer works the river gets another companion on its merry journey, namely the Shaw Brook. Mostly running under Rishton, it is a rare site to see this brook!!! The brook meets the Hyndburn under the former paper mill works.

Finally, at Rishton North Easterly boundary the River meets with its last companion before moving out of the district, forming the boundary that heads back towards the town and hamlet of Tottleworth is Norden Brook.

Footbridge over the Hyndburn Brook in August 2001.

From here the river carries on through Great Harwood and away to the River Ribble.

On Thursday 17 July 1997, Environments prosecuted a farmer over slurry which killed thousands of fish in Hyndburn Brook, and was traced back to its source by the Environment Agency. The agency's press officer Steve Broughton told the Hyndburn Citizen: "We have found the farm we believe to be the origin of the problem. We can't announce which it is as we are considering a prosecution."

The spillage happened in July of 1997. Thousands of fish were killed - including 400 brown trout bought by Les Banner, who had spent the last five years clearing the banks of the brook which runs through his land. He was said to be 'devastated' at the damage caused by the spill. Five kilometres of the brook were affected, from Rishton to where it meets the river Calder.

People were later seen taking the dead fish from the riverbanks, but the agency has warned that they are contaminated and should not be eaten. Investigations into the accident and its long term effects are continuing. Steve Broughton said it didn't look too bad. The river was already recovering and the insect life there had not been affected, so if the fish are reintroduced they will have food. The current washed most of the pollution away from there but things didn't look so good for the contributory stream, which the slurry travelled down to reach the brook. The invertebrate life there was wiped out."

Bridge for the path

The agency says the cost of reintroducing fish to the river is usually footed by whoever caused the pollution, so the future of the brook will be decided by the outcome of the prosecution if it goes ahead.

On Tuesday 15 July 1997, a resident of Rishton responded to the paper about this spillage saying: A SPILL of farm slurry into an East Lancashire river turned it into a toxic open sewer that wiped out thousands of fish for miles downstream. The Environment Agency calls it a "very serious pollution incident." So it is. But is their response that serious? For we are told it will take them a whole month to find out who is to blame! A month? Just how many farms are there in the part of the catchment area where this lethal muck was poured into Hyndburn Brook at Rishton?

If the Agency wants to foster public concern for our rivers, it should show that it is on the ball itself - by nabbing and slamming the culprit in court forthwith and not dawdling until public concern over this devastation is all water under the bridge.

River Hyndburn Waterfall in July 2003.

Is this the same incident that polluted Shaw Brook in the same year?

The waterfall at Holt on the river Hyndburn has become very popular with children over the years, attracting what seems to be more and more every summer. On hot days the waterfall can be found surrounded by children cooling off in the cool waters of the brook. The following pictures were taken of one such day in July 2003.

Waterfall  Waterfall Swimming


During 2019, a new fish ladder was created at the waterfall, this can be found here.


A Chronology of Accrington and Men of Mark, by R. S. Crossley, Published 1924.

Hyndburn Citizen 17th July 1997.

Lancashire Evening Telegraph 15th July 1997.