Report - - 36DD, Stocksbridge, May 2018 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - 36DD, Stocksbridge, May 2018


'Exploring with Sciatica'
Regular User

36DD is a culverted section of The Porter / Little Don RIver in Stocksbridge, Sheffield. The culvert runs beneath the Tata Steelworks, and also the new Fox Valley shopping centre. The name 36DD is presumably a nod to 80's page three model Sam Fox, on account of her namesake's involvement in the steelworks in the area. The presumably less well endowed industrialist Mr Samuel Fox:

The valley bottom today is almost entirely occupied by steel works.

Samuel Fox acquired the old cotton mill in 1842, at first renting it from its then owner, Joshua Newton. Nine years later, in 1851, he purchased the mill outright from Joshua's son, Thomas Newton. Fox converted the place to use as a wire mill, and built much of the infrastructure of Stocksbridge, primarily to house his new workforce and to supply their needs. The wire was initially for textile pins, but around 1848 the business expanded to include wire for umbrella frames which led to Fox developing the “Paragon” umbrella frame in 1851.

In October 2006, Corus was taken over by the Indian company Tata. Corus Engineering Steels (Stocksbridge site) was renamed Tata Steels Speciality. During the 2008 recession Stocksbridge works reduced its workforce and output, focusing on producing lower quantities of high-value product for the aerospace and oil and gas markets. After the recession the company returned to profitability and began investing once again. In 2011 £6.5 million was invested in boosting the site's ability to produce aerospace steel, and further developments were planned for 2013.

However in December 2015 Tata came under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in connection with the alleged falsification of certificates guaranteeing the quality of its speciality steels. This was then followed in early 2016 by an announcement from Tata that they would be selling their entire steelmaking interests in the UK, due, they said, to crippling electricity prices in the UK which are more than double the price in the European Union and in other competing countries, and to large volumes of cheap steel which are being exported to the west by China. If a buyer could not be found, then steelmaking in the Stocksbridge valley would finally end, after almost 160 years.

However on 9 February 2017 it was announced by Tata and by the Liberty House Group, that the latter had purchased Tata's entire UK steelmaking operation for GBP 100 million. This has secured the continuation of steelmaking in the Stocksbridge valley.
History nabbed from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stocksbridge

The Visit

I'd been holding this one in reserve for a while, for a non-rainy day. This is a big culvert, so the lack of stooping was welcome. However, this is also known as the ankle breaker for a reason - progress is slow for most of the walk due to the very uneven flooring in most sections. I visited this solo and didn't have as long as I would have liked, but I managed to make it to the end of the sizeable first section and back. Some sections were also quite deep, in spite of the fact that there hadn't been any significant rainfall for at least a week.

First challenge was the relatively steep bank it's necessary to negotiate. Once at the bottom I wadered up and stashed my trainers in a bush to retrieve on the way out. Nearly did this in wellies but was glad I didn't when my first step into the river took the water up above my knee. Instead of progressing this way I clambered a bit further along the bank side to a more shallow section. To the right there's a short bridge here leading to the other side. To the centre of the pic you might also be able to make out a low arch - I didn't get chance to check if this was another accessible section...


To the left is the sizeable entrance to the main event...


Pleasant view from within...


Moving in, this first high section reduces slightly in size, but not much. The only comparable culvert in terms of size in Sheff would be Megatron. Nice and flat underfoot here, and plenty of fish.


But not for long as the bottom soon gets more tricky.


Brick leads to spraycrete...


But there are a couple of side passages here that have escaped the more modern reinforcement...



Onwards from here a short way is an exposed section. I didn't hang around too long here, but a peek up the ladder revealed that this leads to the new shopping arcade - on the wall above is a mural by local artist Pete McKee.


There's also a lifering, in case you get in bother...


Onwards, brick...


Not sure if the red jacked was washed down here and hung up by chance, or if someone will be back for it...


Some old metal cable conduits...


The next section carried more cables along the right hand side...


The floor was really uneven here so I accelerated progress by walking on the raised concrete section to the right, behind the cables. It also stank in here...


This shows the source of the stink - not the tunnel to the right, but the break in the concrete section where to opening (bottom left of the pic) revealed a small pipe carrying either sewage. or something that smelt equally rancid.


The next section was concrete again, and equally uneven...


This soon split in to two sections...


These two are from the right section on the way there. Some old redundant mechanism to the left...



And these are from the other side, on the way back...



Once past here, I could see the inflow in the distance. Now short of time, this was as far as I got, deciding it was time to take the long walk back as a freight train made its noisy way above my head.




And a few pics from the way out, stopping just to give my ankles a rest...




Last edited:


28DL Wood Burner
28DL Full Member
Nice to see this again, there are indeed another 2 shorter sections both downstream and upstream of the 'main event' but not worth a special trip to see!

Now, where's your Rumbelow report? :p


'Exploring with Sciatica'
Regular User
Nice to see this again, there are indeed another 2 shorter sections both downstream and upstream of the 'main event' but not worth a special trip to see!

Now, where's your Rumbelow report? :p
Haha! Yeah, Rumbelow will be along in good time - just thought three in a row might be overkill if I followed straight after yours!

I don’t doubt I’ll be back here at some point to complete the full thing, but good to know I didn’t miss any of the main features!
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'Exploring with Sciatica'
Regular User
Awesome as usual. Tarky can you do a one-off top 5 favourite ever drains of yours report for us surface dwellers some time soon please ;)
Ha, thanks! Top 5 is hard tho as I :Not Worthy them all for different reasons, and I’m relatively new to drains compared to some on here. Still got a lot to see, thankfully! ;-)


'Exploring with Sciatica'
Regular User
Superb stuff. Have you got any still to see in the Sheff area?!!
I’ve still not got round to decepticon, which needs to happen at some point. And then there’s just the miles of undiscovered labyrinthine hidden underworld to unearth... ;-)


more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Great report and pics mate, particularly the reflections. Always wondered why this place was called 36dd and now i know!

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