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Report - Lees Brook Culvert - Lees, Oldham - Feb 2014

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by The Lone Ranger, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Feb 25, 2010
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    Lees Brook Culvert – Lees, Oldham



    Essentially this is a continuation of the Majestic Culverts as it lies about a mile downstream, even though the area and local mill is called Lees Brook it is the River Medlock which runs through the culvert joining the stream from Grotton Hollows downstream of this culvert.

    The culvert is a reasonable length at 480 meters, from the downstream end the culvert is 5ft square concrete sections, after 50 meters there is a 45 degree bend and manhole shaft. The square concrete sections then continue for a further 280 meters to a transition to circular concrete pipe, this then runs for approximately 150 meters.

    Why such a long section of the River Medlock was culverted isn’t too clear as it is woodland and a Country Park above, however clues of a previous industrial heritage does show itself if you wander down this valley. Lees did have an interesting past.

    One of the eleven mills which use to dominate the Lees skyline.


    Lees could have been the Northwests Harrogate as in the late-18th century, a natural chalybeate spring was discovered in the locality, and by the-early 19th century the village gained a reputation for these "fashionable" mineral springs. In the early-19th century, water from Lees Spa, had become fashionable to drink, so much so, that it was bottled and sold around the country. In the month of August 1821, 60,000 people visited Lees Spa. Ambitions to develop Lees into a spa town - "Lancashire's very own Harrogate" - were thwarted by an unplanned process of urbanisation caused by introduction and profitability of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.

    My Visit

    After finding the Majestic Culverts I knew of this section further down the river, but it remained a project until last month. I popped in hoping to find some nice stone or brick work and was promptly washed back out as the river was a bit higher than today. I was a bit disappointed that it appeared to be just concrete sections, but thought it should get better due to the history of the surrounding area.

    Today the river was a bit lower, my torch collection was severely depleted as my daughter has been borrowing them to put her rabbit away without falling into the raspberry patch, something I need to learn to do. On with the photos.

    First section of the culvert to the bend.


    Looking back to the start.


    An interesting feature, 45 degree bend an access shaft!


    A bit more of the square concrete sections, there’s a lot of it.


    Leaching iron deposits now started to get interesting, honest.


    Now for the main feature of the culvert, this made the wet feet and hunched stroll all the worthwhile. The rust stalactites are at the transition from square to circular section and was impressive to see.



    Looking back at the formations from the circular section of the culvert.


    The long final section of RCP take you up to Lees Brook Mill.


    Well that’s it, even though it was just concrete sections, it was a nice explore and would make an excellent introduction to the world of drains as well as practicing getting your photos right.

    For such relatively short river the Medlock has a huge amount of culverted sections from start to finish, a good few days could be had visiting them all.



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