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Report - - ‘Dark & Long’ / Blackburn Brook, Sheffield, April 2018 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - ‘Dark & Long’ / Blackburn Brook, Sheffield, April 2018


tarkovsky

xtal
Regular User
1. ‘Dark & Long’

This is a previously unreported section of Blackburn Brook, a small culverted river in the North of Sheffield. I’m calling it ‘Dark & Long’ after the Underworld song, which is a recommended addition to any dra1nz playlist. (I considered ‘Born Slippy’ but I actually narrowly avoided landing on my arse on both occasions, in spite of the slime covered brick in some sections, so I’ll baggsy that name for a future occasion).

Another nearby, downstream segment of Blackburn Brook was previously reported on by @WB back in 2010 - I’ll deal with that section in the second part of this thread. However, as far as I’m aware, nobody has yet ventured to report on this section, due to the off-putting deep pool of stench that lies in front of the outflow, which (at the time) featured ominously dead fish. While the deep pool of stench still stinks of death, I spotted happier looking fish on my visits here and decided to have a quick peek inside, after doing the earlier sections. As usual, a ‘quick peek’ turned into an obsession with seeing the whole thing...

D&L is a culvert and CSO (hence the stench, from the times that the S does its O’ing). I visited here twice, solo. On the first visit I made it part way down the concrete section, before I got wary of the grey skies I’d left outside and bailed. As usual, doing a partial job was giving me sleepless nights, so I returned at the next opportunity to see the rest. Was really glad I did as it’s surprisingly good.

First thing to note is the enticing outflow. Those sewery browny-black metal pipes make regular appearances inside, and I think the sticky-out-one you can see here is the one that makes it stink so badly outside. The water is fairly deep in the middle but it’s fairly easy to edge in by keeping to the sides...

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Once inside it’s all 5ft RCP for a while.

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There’s two inspection shafts leading up to manhole covers high above.

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Each of these are two levels high, but there’s nothing of particular interest on the levels above as far as I could see... I popped my head up these first two but left my camera at the bottom.

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Both inspection shafts are also home to a couple of outflows and vertical pipes. It was fairly sanitary on my first visit, but on the second trip at least one of the outlets had produced something that looked like the kind of thing you see puked up on the pavement outside pubs the morning after a bank holiday drink fest.

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There’s a handy hairwash point here, due to a leaky pipe. Useful for getting those spiders out of your hair - there’s quite a few of them down here, and plenty of dangling egg sacks to make you feel even more uneasy.

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This was pretty much as far as I got on my first visit, having also covered the earlier section of the brook. The RCP stretched off into the distance as far as I could see, and I (wrongly) assumed that this would just continue until the gated outfall at the other end.

Thankfully, curiosity got the better of me and on my second visit I continued past the second inspection chamber through another lengthy section of 5ft RCP.
Something to do with football, proving I’m not the first down here...

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This is what I like to see... RCP making way for red brick. Seeing this I was hopeful that there would be some nice old drainage ahead, and I was correct...

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The next bit was my probably my favourite section. The red brick pipe led to a decent sized chamber. To the right and left of the picture you can see old metalwork suggesting there may have been some kind of penstock here at some point, sadly now absent. The concrete ceiling appears to be more modern (note the metal rungs that go nowhere, to the right) and I wouldn’t be surprised if this section once featured a slightly higher arched roof.

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Looking back on the metalwork... forgive the foggy pic, this was taken on my way back out...

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The large chamber leads into circular brick pipes, and then onwards into a nice flat floored archway, approx 7ish ft high, which weaves left and right. If I’d had more time, or not been on my own, I would have paused longer here to get some better lit photos from the other side of the camera, but I was eager to get on and see what came next.

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This corridor like section also featured a number of small, square outflow holes - looking up some of these there didn’t seem to be much potential for crawling up any of them, not that I was really in the mood for such things at this point...

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Another hairwash point, water was pouring heavily through this hole from somewhere above. Couldn’t manage to see where it came from without getting a face full of water...

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Some really old stonework on these bridges that have been incorporated into the culvert.

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Seeing light ahead I though I’d already reached the end, but it just turned out to be a short open section before the culvert dipped again below the buildings above.

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I moved quickly through this open section as I didn’t want to be spotted from the buildings above. I suspect they’re not familiar with people getting in their culverts. The banks were vertical and high here, meaning it wouldn’t provide easy entrance or exit to the river...

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The short newer brick section again made way for older brickwork and more pipes.

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Here the culvert divided in two. I chose the left hand section as the right looked more full of rubble than the left. Along the way were a couple of crudely cut ‘arches’ that looked like they’d been added with a sledgehammer rather than forming part of the original design...

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This was the stoopiest section of the whole thing and again full of spiders...

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Finally I could see the inflow glowing at the end of the pipe ahead. Short of time, having not expected this visit to take quite this long, I didn’t go right up to the grille as (having seen the inflow) I knew there was no way out. So I began the long walk back at double speed. The return journey was a lot foggier than it had been on the way down, and I began to get a bit paranoid that I’d upset the drain gods... so I was relieved to finally make it back out...

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tarkovsky

xtal
Regular User
2. ‘Blackburn Brook’

Further downstream is this section of Blackburn Brook. I entered between two culverted sections, but I’ll organise the report heading from the furthest point downstream, ending with the bit I’ve just reported on so it makes some kind of sense.

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History (via Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackburn_Brook)

The Blackburn Brook is a stream in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England which flows through the Blackburn Valley along the M1 and Ecclesfield Road and joins the River Don near the Meadowhall shopping centre. Downstream from the A61 road at Chapeltown the Blackburn Brook is defined as a main river by the Environment Agency.

Between Blackburn village and Grange Lane the brook originally formed the boundary between Sheffield and Rotherham. With the coming of the South Yorkshire Railway in the 1850s the course of the brook was straightened to run parallel with the trackbed through the valley, however the boundary continued to follow the original course. It runs in a culvert along part of the course by the railway line, which is now closed and forms part of the route of the north–south section of the Trans Pennine Trail alongside the brook.

The brook provided power for a number of mills along its course, including the New Mill and the Old Mill at Ecclesfield. To the East of the confluence of the Hartley Brook Dike the Blackburn Brook was dammed to provide power for the Gibraltar Steel Works and further downstream, to the East of Grange Lane a mill race fed a dam (the local term for a body of water behind a dam wall) at Grange Mill. At Blackburn village the brook powered the Blackburn Wheel (charcoal works), close to the present day Royal Oak public house.

This old photo (from http://www.picturesheffield.com) shows work being completed further downstream, towards where the brook runs into the Don near Meadowhall.

CE74029A-12FC-49D6-B437-EBF1C50AFA31.jpeg


This first section is short and runs under the road, from the park. The first thing you notice is that this is a really smelly river. The water runs a suspicious bluey-grey colour along its course, due to the CSOs you find along the way.

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The previous report on this section shows a nice old bridge, which has now been spraycreted. The rest of this part is just a regular concrete box that curves around a corner before emerging into the next open section of the river.

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Only notable thing along this short stretch was Phil Oakey’s discarded guitar (possibly)...

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Until the outflow. I’d visited here before, to find this section in full flow, almost full of water.

First pic is a couple of weeks before...

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On this occasion the pipe was slightly more accommodating, however the water level was still up to waist height at some points.
Looking out...

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Along the way, my feet kept snagging on things and the murky water meant that I could only guess at what I was treading on at the bottom. The tunnel is actually quite large, but felt smaller at this point due to the rubble and silty stuff below.

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Unfortunately I’d left my good waders in @Esoteric Eric’s car, so I instantly breached through a rip in the knee, filling both legs with murky water and whatever filth it carried.

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After a while, the water became shallower but was still flowing fast. What sounded like a waterfall ahead turned out just to be the water transitioning from a smaller to larger section of pipe, over some rocks.
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Reaching the end.

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Once out the brook heads under the railway, through a short tunnel and out to where I started.

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Overall, a good couple of visits, particularly for ‘D&L’.

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Onwards...​
 
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the_enigma

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Another very thorough and well documented experience of Sheffield's drainage system, great stuff mate keep it up! :D:thumb
 

Ojay

Admin
Staff member
Admin
Very good is this and some fine culvertrey, it's also refreshing to see a bit more brickwork coming from Sheffield although she looks a bit feisty when it rains like o_O

Good effort that lot and a decent read as always :thumb
 

Ann G

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
2. ‘Blackburn Brook’

Further downstream is this section of Blackburn Brook. I entered between two culverted sections, but I’ll organise the report heading from the furthest point downstream, ending with the bit I’ve just reported on so it makes some kind of sense.

View attachment 761938

History (via Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackburn_Brook)

The Blackburn Brook is a stream in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England which flows through the Blackburn Valley along the M1 and Ecclesfield Road and joins the River Don near the Meadowhall shopping centre. Downstream from the A61 road at Chapeltown the Blackburn Brook is defined as a main river by the Environment Agency.

Between Blackburn village and Grange Lane the brook originally formed the boundary between Sheffield and Rotherham. With the coming of the South Yorkshire Railway in the 1850s the course of the brook was straightened to run parallel with the trackbed through the valley, however the boundary continued to follow the original course. It runs in a culvert along part of the course by the railway line, which is now closed and forms part of the route of the north–south section of the Trans Pennine Trail alongside the brook.

The brook provided power for a number of mills along its course, including the New Mill and the Old Mill at Ecclesfield. To the East of the confluence of the Hartley Brook Dike the Blackburn Brook was dammed to provide power for the Gibraltar Steel Works and further downstream, to the East of Grange Lane a mill race fed a dam (the local term for a body of water behind a dam wall) at Grange Mill. At Blackburn village the brook powered the Blackburn Wheel (charcoal works), close to the present day Royal Oak public house.

This old photo (from http://www.picturesheffield.com) shows work being completed further downstream, towards where the brook runs into the Don near Meadowhall.

View attachment 761957

This first section is short and runs under the road, from the park. The first thing you notice is that this is a really smelly river. The water runs a suspicious bluey-grey colour along its course, due to the CSOs you find along the way.

View attachment 761941

View attachment 761939

The previous report on this section shows a nice old bridge, which has now been spraycreted. The rest of this part is just a regular concrete box that curves around a corner before emerging into the next open section of the river.

View attachment 761943

View attachment 761942

View attachment 761944

View attachment 761945

Only notable thing along this short stretch was Phil Oakey’s discarded guitar (possibly)...

View attachment 761940

Until the outflow. I’d visited here before, to find this section in full flow, almost full of water.

First pic is a couple of weeks before...

View attachment 761956

View attachment 761946

On this occasion the pipe was slightly more accommodating, however the water level was still up to waist height at some points.
Looking out...

View attachment 761947

Along the way, my feet kept snagging on things and the murky water meant that I could only guess at what I was treading on at the bottom. The tunnel is actually quite large, but felt smaller at this point due to the rubble and silty stuff below.

View attachment 761948
Unfortunately I’d left my good waders in @Esoteric Eric’s car, so I instantly breached through a rip in the knee, filling both legs with murky water and whatever filth it carried.

View attachment 761950

After a while, the water became shallower but was still flowing fast. What sounded like a waterfall ahead turned out just to be the water transitioning from a smaller to larger section of pipe, over some rocks.
View attachment 761953

View attachment 761951

Reaching the end.

View attachment 761949

View attachment 761954

Once out the brook heads under the railway, through a short tunnel and out to where I started.

View attachment 761955

View attachment 761959

View attachment 761960

Overall, a good couple of visits, particularly for ‘D&L’.

View attachment 761961

Onwards...​
Fantastic pictures. Your very brave
 

WB

28DL Wood Burner
28DL Full Member
That top section looks mint, should get off my arse and go for a look when the rain stops for a bit!
It's been a while since I did any drains, I feel the need...
 

tarkovsky

xtal
Regular User
That top section looks mint, should get off my arse and go for a look when the rain stops for a bit!
It's been a while since I did any drains, I feel the need...
You defo need to complete this one, the drain gods get agitated if you don’t see the whole thing. Defo give me a shout when weather is a bit better - thanks again for yr help!
 

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