Report - - Cornbrook, Manchester - June 2010 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Cornbrook, Manchester - June 2010


Staff member
Corn brook, Manchester - Traversed End to End by Ojay & Thompski.



First things first, a bit of a bone of contention here, as despite some of the crazy shit that has taken place I have a lot of respect for YAZ, despite what people think he has done, never the less he's has done some serious draining!

When I spoke to him ages and ages ago about this place, this was his response AND I QUOTE....

"lol, it’s the hardest drain in Manchester, it took nearly 5 hours to traverse its entire length, and most of it is at 4 foot high, It requires a spine of steel". - (This bit I already figured BTW) :rolleyes:

"There are some pretty dangerous parts, there’s a lot of rock death, and be careful of popping manholes, some of them come out in some rather on top locations"...

"By the way, you can't get out of the infall, so think twice about where you exit. This drain is the hardest drain I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot of drains... take it from me, it makes men out of boys. the last people to venture into it that I know, done it in 3 parts because the conditions are that bad. I only know two other people who've traversed the drain in one sitting. Even Siologen who first explored it, did it in a number of parts".


Fast forward 3 months and it's time I went along to Cornbrook to see what all the fuss was about.

(Hardcore, 3 parts, bad conditions etc Pfft. Bring it on!)

Ok one slight problem, all this enthusiasm about the biggest underground shit hole in Manchester and I had no volunteers? As above, anybody who has done this vowed they would never return, WORD!.

WTF, I needed someone who had a spine of steel and was up for an epic mooch..... Err Thompski?

It was to be his last night in Manchester forever, so what a way to send him off but to haul his ass down to this grim place :D

As always, we were armed to the teeth with enough lighting and fodder to outstay a nuclear fallout, however my 'Tesco Value' rucksack didn't survive the journey.

Thompski ditched his DSLR in favour of the 35mm film affair for this trip, well in, except his manual shutter release cable failed miserably after about 2 hours in, and he only managed to get a few shots before a serious bout of CBA kicked in, so it was up to moi to get the rest. I have to say though, he makes a good lighting bitch.

Comedy moments ensued; whilst some dude was fishing opposite, 2 losers wadered into the brook opposite. The Outfall was horrid. Besides the initial 'slide on our arse' approach down the embankment through killer nettles and under the stoopy bridge we were eventually greeted with a concrete box section. FFS is this some kind of optical illusion? Afraid not..... As I stepped forward I vanished into what I can only describe as capital punishment.

In a normal drain the next 300 yds would be piss simple and take around 3-5 minutes depending on conditions, except to say that this was Cornbrook. 30 minutes later and we had somehow miraculously made our way through the most ridiculous fast sinking silted shitfest I have ever had the mis-fortune to encounter. Each step was a joke, :popcorn whilst leg sinks fast, :popcorn whilst it takes another 30 seconds or more to lift the frigger back out! (If you checkout the first video below, you can just about see where we could start to move a bit easier).

After an eternity we were clear, but remained in the most stoopy silted, shitty concrete box I have ever had the mis-fortune of being stuck in!

So far around 40 minutes had passed by and we had gone fucking nowhere, boy was it going to be a long day/night/day LOL.


The Cornbrook is one of the 'Lost Rivers Of Manchester'. At over 5500 meters long, it runs diagonally under central Manchester, before emerging at the far reaches of Aardwick and the edge of Gorton.

Its deffo the longest & hardest drain in Manc without fail, if not the North West and possibly even the UNIVERSE

At mainly 4ft throughout and occasionally reaching the dizzy heights of 5 and 6 ft and changing shape so quick and often you struggle to keep up, (Oh and the longest concrete box sections ever). Man made manhole to stretch back!

Anyway on with a few pics, sadly not too many due to the 'nothing short of ridiculous' conditions down there, and the fact that Thompski had camera fail followed by CBA (Can't be arsed Attitude).






The dreaded 4ft stoopy as shit, never ending concrete box....


After nearly 45 minutes, enough already, time for some drain meal


Ojay - "Fuck me there is an end to this stooping"


Err not really, around 500 yds of brick and stone tunnel,



and it was back to more miles of stooping.


This fairly long stone section was a real bastard, excuse the French.
It was rocky as hell and like everything else down here, seemed to go on and on and on


Eventually we could stand up, yay, however the air quality wasn't great in here and there was no manhole escape either


As we neared the end, lots of weird and wonderful shaped brick tunnels passed us by


Over 7 hours later Thompski managed to receive a signal on his trusty Nokia whilst dangling from some rather fooked looking manhole... Out comes the iPhone to check the GPS position, WINNER we were less than 200 yards from the Infall, but wait up what’s this ahead?


This looked disgusting, infact it was far worse, and we were now chest deep in some real fester.... Obviously I went first :rolleyes: about a third of the way in I managed to disturb some drift wood that was seemingly holding back the shit fest I was about to traverse. Oh my days this was horrid, methane bubbling around the place and the most sinister of drain surprises you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

By this point, the Red Bull had ran out, the back was fooked, Thompski had lost the will to live, so it was unanimous we wasn't going to do the last 200 yds to the 'Grilled' Infall, which we knew there was no way out...


Here it is the following day, grinning at you through the undergrowth, knowing full well anyone stupid enough to come this far aint getting out alive!


Some Video....








Where in most drains it would be a huge relief to see the Infall, Cornbrook now presents GTFO challenge. I had already sussed a manhole close by, could we lift it could we fook. infact over an hour later and several failed attempts we seriously needed to get out, as another 8 hours back was not happening.

Finally I found some liddage I could move, one giant shove for mankind and it was pure comedy as I popped my head out to find a dome cam above said liddage. (GULP). There was no turning back, we'd had enough, "fuck the CCTV, pass me my rucksack, were outta here", shortly followed by Thompski it was now 5am and we were wandering around a certain University campus with a rather trance like disposition knowing full well we had a mother of a mooch back to the car. Oh well at least it was over ground.

It was over, the fresh City air was a blast, we got some seriously weird looks as we crossed the city, covered in god only knows what before heading back to the Outfall to recover our dry gear.

2 days later to recover and well over a week later, I manage to find enough energy to write a report.

Thanks for looking :thumb
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28DL Member
28DL Member
Thanks for the tour. Would love to see how it gets over to the end of St Georges Park (Old Military site, Hulme) then onward to the Ship Canal/Irwell....


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Something about this drain that seems a bit more unnerving than most. I would bet there is a cso or two that goes into it somewhere, that outfall looks ghastly, waders or no waders, sod going near that, manhole time!!


Punkus Explorus
Regular User
Nice to see one of your old reports pop up. Enjoyed reading this Cheers :thumb

Something about this drain that seems a bit more unnerving than most. I would bet there is a cso or two that goes into it somewhere, that outfall looks ghastly, waders or no waders, sod going near that, manhole time!!
It's always manhole time :p

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