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Report - - Brindleys Mill tail race and weir, Staffordshire, May 2024. | UK Draining Forum |

Report - Brindleys Mill tail race and weir, Staffordshire, May 2024.

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28DL Regular User
Regular User
I've put this report in draining as it's more of a drain/culvert mooch than a mill explore.

On this particular day I noticed that for some unknown reason the river churnet was running at an unusually low level. So on my lunch break I decided to take a look at the Weir on my lunchtime walk. To my surprise it was completely dry as the little water that was actually flowing was making its way around the Weir bypass/fish pass. Now in the past I've spotted two unusual shapes behind water as it falls over the Weir so down to the water I went. I could now clearly see two large pipes exiting the weir face so I made a plan to return that evening with my waders. Another outing would mean they'd only cost me Ā£20 a go.
After wading through the silt and checking out the two tunnels I was disappointed to find they were concrete pipes with the familiar tangy smell of a Strom drain. Also the echos of cars hitting a loos manhole cover to be heard. Not to waste an opportunity I headed down stream from the to the tail race of the wheel pit of Brindley mill. The tail race runs a short distance under the modern textile mill which is still in use to today and manufactures school uniforms and work wear.

Some history on the old water mill.

The water mill in Leek has a long history, with roots tracing back to the mid-12th century when it was owned by Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester. In the early 1200s, it was gifted to Dieulacres Abbey and later rebuilt by James Brindley in the 1750s. Over the years, it changed ownership, eventually becoming part of the estate of the Earl of Macclesfield in the 19th century. Despite its transition from a corn mill to being utilized by neighboring textile mill owners, it fell into disuse by 1940. However, in the 1970s, efforts led by the Brindley Mill Preservation Trust aimed to restore and preserve the mill. This culminated in its official reopening to the public in 1974, eventually becoming the James Brindley Museum in 1980.

Right so in we go, down the river under the bridge that once joined the textile mill to the now demolished Portland Dye works, over an old wooden Weir and up the tailrace under the mill and Into the wheel pit.

Hope you enjoy

The textile mill to the left and Brindleys mill to the right.

A nice old bridge

Head race and dried up stone weir



Some kids had decided it was a good idea to walk along the slimy algae ridden weir top

And down the river we go

Looking up from under the bridge

The outfall of the tail race as it appears from under the more modern textile mill

All concrete in here and very silty in places



And here's the wheel pit. It looks like there was once a wheel in the left hand pit too.





This ladder leads up into the grounds of the museum

And out we go


And this is what got me all excited

I was hoping they were brick or stone lined tunnels, but no - RCP

It was a long way up here, there's no way was I trying to squeeze inside

And that's it, I've learned something new about a place I've walked past every day for the last nine years and got some more use out of my waders.


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Defo a turbine - the actual turbine may be under the mud (they often are).
I never even thought about a turbine but it makes sense. That's perhaps why that side was so soft and silty, to point I thought i was going to get stuck. where the other side was rocky.


Staff member
Decent that mate, was intrigued when you sent me those pics, I guess that answers that then.

Good stuff :thumb


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I thought this would have been Martin Zeros video last night, but was the corn brook part 4, I wonder if we can expect this one in the coming weeks?