Report - - Black Brook Culvert and Spooners Tunnel, Sheffield, March 2018 / May 2014 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Black Brook Culvert and Spooners Tunnel, Sheffield, March 2018 / May 2014


'Exploring with Sciatica'
Regular User
I’m putting these together in one report, even though I visited them at totally different times, as they’re both quite small and also fairly close to each other in Rivelin Valley in Sheffield.

Black Brook Culvert - March 2018

After the Manc / Stockport drain meet the day before my waders and tripod were in need of a good wash, so I headed to this short fresh water culvert I found a while ago while out on a run in the snow a couple of weeks before. The culvert itself is in two parts, covering the brook just before it joins the River Rivelin at the bottom of the valley. Before the culvert itself, however, the brook is worthy of attention due to its history in relation to the Victorian poet, Ebenezer Elliott.

‘Ebenezer Elliott (17 March 1781 – 1 December 1849) was an English poet, known as the Corn Law rhymer for his leading the fight to repeal the Corn Laws which were causing hardship and starvation among the poor. Though a factory owner himself, his single-minded devotion to the welfare of the labouring classes won him a sympathetic reputation long after his poetry ceased to be read.’

History from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebenezer_Elliott

Elliott wrote some of his poems about the valley and used to sit himself on a rock on Black Brook to gain inspiration for his writing, where he also carved his name. Here’s Ebenezer...


Here’s an archive pic of Elliot’s Rock...


And here it is now...


Anyway, dead poets aside, let’s focus on the rest of the brook. Just before Elliot’s rock, this is where the brook starts it’s descent down the valley...


From the bottom, the first short section of culvert carries the brook underneath a bank with a rough footpath on top. The second, longer section heads into the hillside and takes the brook under the road above. This was never going to be anything epic, but the stonework in the second section made this a really enjoyable find.




This is the entrance to the second section (pic taken on a snowy day the first time I found it...)


It begins with stone, feat some more recent regrouting work. Moving further in there’s original stonework, minus the grout. This then becomes RCP for a bit until the inflow. There’s a small pipe to one side that increases the flow of water too...














Spooner’s Tunnel - May 2014

This was an unplanned and chance visit, hence the poor quality pics due to lack of torch. Walking through Rivelin Valley with a friend one evening we noticed a promising looking hole in a bank at the side of the river. Access was a bit tricky but we made our way down the steep bank and inside to find a tunnel stretching in both directions. Unfortunately when I returned a few weeks later the tunnel had been sealed off, meaning these were those only photos I got, using crappy flash.... It’s only relatively recently that I found the following history of the tunnel that reveals it possibly dates from 1630s, making it probably the oldest tunnel I’ve explored:

The tunnel running through the cliff on the north side of the Rivelin between New Dam and Spooners mill dam (now a children’s playground) formed part of the head goit bringing water from a weir (now the site of the Rivelin Chair Sculpture). It is presumed that the tunnel was built in the 1630s at the same time as Spooners Wheel, although may possibly have been refurbished in 1850s when New Dam was built to provide extra water supply to Spooners Wheel.’

History from http://rivelinvalley.org.uk/trail/spooners_tunnel.pdf - it’s worth clicking on the document as there’s more interesting info, a map, and a few more pics, but they’re definitely off with their dates regarding the sealing of the tunnel as I definitely visited after 2012 when they suggest it was sealed off...







Sadly it is definitely currently sealed....


Last edited: