Report - - Cheltenham Culverts , Cheltenham - June 2014 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Cheltenham Culverts , Cheltenham - June 2014


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
After seeing a recent report on the Cheltenham Culverts ( HERE: ) and being local I decided to head on down and have a look. Original intention wasn't to post a report due to the excellent and recent photos of paulpowers but I was prompted to write a report, so here it is...

"The River Chelt, flowing as it does, from its source at Dowdeswell to join the Severn at Wainlodes, passes through Cheltenham, and has changed very little over the years.

In ancient times millers relied on the force of the Chelt to drive their mills and so it must have been even in Domesday. The nearest mill to the one and only main street of Cheltenham in ancient times was Barrats Mill, in what is now Sandford Park. In order to cleanse the main street, the miller was required, from time to time, to divert the flow of water in order to wash away the rubbish and effluent which gathered in the street...."

A nice written piece of history can be found here... The History of Alstone: Chris Green

The River Chelt formerly ran across the site under the now located Waitrose store. Due to Waitrose wanting underground car parking and warehouse, the river was diverted into a new culvert, and down a hydraulic drop structure where the flow was split into an above ground open channel provided to give a better environment, together with a high flow flood culvert. The two flows merge in a basin. They then flow down the old river channel which was widened and the bank profiled to accommodate a larger flood flow to conform with the Environment Agency's flood scheme for Cheltenham.

Exit of the new Culvert with the weir to the right...


I didn't manage to venture the whole why down the culvert due to only having wellies available and sinking fast into the silt of the River bed... with having a back pack of all my camera gear I decided not to risk falling.
With that said, exit and entrance too the "Waitrose Culvert"



Not wanting to give up on my underground venture for the day, I headed to the other side of town to find a different entry point.
A short walk later, dropping some of the gear off at the car I ended up at the main entrance of the first section. Again only having wellies I didn't venture out of this one into the main culvert that runs beneath the town.
This section lies beneath the bath road, bath road car park.


The original brick culvert meets the newer box type that was a part of the refurbishment of the Cheltenham flood defences after the bad 2007 flood. I believe the original part that was their caved in during that flood.


This hole ran as far as the eye could see, much deeper than the camera picked up, I'd be interested in knowing what its for, I guess for the road water above to spill off and into the river. Still, a little creepy.



Word heavy as I didn't get to many photos, my first attempt at underground photography and most of my light painting didn't really go as planned.
I will arm myself with some waders and head back one day soon to explore the main culvert that runs beneath the town.
Any tips or advice for future underground trips/photography are very welcome.

Thanks for looking
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foul-mouthed oaf
28DL Full Member
Yep, nice little report that pal :thumb
The key to decent drain shots is patience, and going in good weather means your not rushing so you can experiment with different exposure times.
Taking a few different torches helps too, that way you can position them round corners, in pipes etc giving you some nice lighting effects !
Oh and decent waders will help :D