Report - - Inhospitable, The Works & SSSI, June 2017 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Inhospitable, The Works & SSSI, June 2017


more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
(Apologies for lateness on this one. It was a couple of months back now!)

Inhospitable and The Works

Inhospitable is a culvert that carries the Moston Brook (Moss Brook?) under Collyhurst. The Works is its overflow pipe. They were the first culverts under Manchester that I visited. I’d read that they were about 80 feet deep and thought I wanted some of that! They were also on the locations map so I thought they’d be easy to find too. There’s a couple of culverts further downstream though (smelling of chemicals) that confused me. Anyway, I found the outfall further upstream and had a whale of a time but my photos were rubbish….so I went back! I was due to meet Ojay, Nickindroy and Elhomer for a spontaneous explore of SSSI a few hours later so time was against me. I wanted a challenge so in through the outfall it was. If time was running out I’d return to the car through the rest of inhospitable if not I’d do all of The Works instead. I’d forgotten how much hard work it was walking through the downstream section but remembered the long(er?) upstream section was a horrible, ankle breaker of a slog so as I was really only there to pass time and get photos I didn’t hang about. In my haste I forgot (again) to look at the huge concrete chamber at the downstream end as well – one day I’ll be back for it!

I 100% don’t recommend this as an entrance. Looking back it was daft doing it at all, never mind twice on my own. There’s hardly anything to hold onto up there and nothing but a slippery, steep and very fast flowing pipe to stand up in. I got a soaking and I can’t believe my camera made it in one piece. Look at it when walking down from the upstream end if you must. Getting down into the ravine just to have a look is death on a stick as well. Be very careful around there in general!

This is the first feature. I was blown away by it all as it was the first proper penstock (p37 in Manchester) I’d ever seen. The overflow weirs to either side are pretty special too. That this was all built by the Victorians to such a high standard is hugely impressive. Presumably the river would have to be dammed or diverted further upstream, while it was being built too. Trying to figure out the phases of construction, coupled with its obvious aesthetics is very interesting to me, just so a river can flow under a housing estate. Them non drainers or non explorers generally don’t get that! The whole point of this feature is to divert water away from the Moston Brook culverts further downstream and directly into the larger Irk but further upstream

Looking back up the first tumbling bay to the chamber with the penstock in. The pipe to the right is one of two from the other half of the overflow

The tumbling bay from the bottom. Yer 80ft or so underground here but obviously still above the outfall level at the Irk. It’s quite disorientating (to me) how the levels all work. I’d love to have seen the area in a natural state before all this was built!

Some nice iron deposits here mixed in with the usual calcite found in drains

An old overflow that’s now bricked up on the left, Inhospitable’s overflow comes from the right. The chandeliers still there!

The downstream end of The Works! I forgot how good the brickwork was down this end

And the outfall into the Irk


Explored with Nickindroy and El Homer. It’s nice having company on a draining explore – especially with two of Manchesters most experienced and knowledgeable drainers. And nice to meet up with El Homer again so soon after our jaunts around Big Humpty and the Medlock Culverts.

I first explored it, late last year so some of the photos are from that visit. Again, it took me ages to figure out where it was, it shouldn’t have but it did.

A short walk upstream and we were greeted with this

Looking back from across the works 5 sewer. Interestingly one of the oak dam boards has lifted itself out and made its way down and over the new concrete weir :rolleyes: It was like that when I was there first time so presumably Manchester's entire drainage system hasn’t been affected by its absence! The works 6 sewer joins just upstream


I didn’t see all the penstock workings last time. I was well impressed!

The chamber looks much bigger from above

I particularly like the sweeping curves and non chamfered bricks of this one. It’s quite unusual too, normally they used special curved bricks at exposed edges

Looking downstream into the new bit. Any overflow from the main chamber comes down here towards the new filtering system, further on. If the flow gets too much an automatic gate (controlled by a sensor that I stood under :eek:) drops down, the sewage backs up and eventually overflows the concrete weir on the left (the one which is difficult to climb over if yer not tall ;)). Doing this by-passes the new system completely so untreated sewage goes into the river. This is deemed acceptable by the EA as it seldom happens. It was completed in 2013 along with several other CSO’s including Hulme Flume and Lock Stock. I’ve not seen either of these in their entirety yet – one day maybe.

The automatic gates and the filters behind them

The weir wall. The pipe on the left leads to the outfall pipe and the river, the right one to the new filters

Looking back from the outfall pipe. Minging this bit. Is this the missing the oak board from the interceptor weir? Looks like it to me…

Looking back upstream with the minging bit on the right and the new, filtered, clean bit on the left

Upstairs is the controls for the new filtering system. Someone, who’s good with cameras needs to shine a light from underneath this lot through the plastic grills – it’d look sick!

The filters from above. Solids and rags, etc that are filtered out are conveyed onto a long Archimedes screw (not visible in pic) and leave the side of the chamber by another pipe, which goes to a separate sewer (if I understood correctly!) The now clean filter conveys round to clean more sewage and the process continues

The outfall into the Moston Brook

Another culverted section of the Moston Brook

The Moston Brook/ Irk tributary

Thanks for arranging this spontaneous meet up, was great to meet more drainage enthusiasts and hear about the construction of the new part of this place, lucky El Homer and I were both still in the area.

And well done to anyone who’s read all of this – I’ve just reread it and I don’t half waffle on a bit. Hope you enjoyed it!​


Maglite size T-rex, It's time for urbex!
Regular User
Nice report :thumb

It's interesting to see the bits further downstream that I didn't get to see, and the other side of the penstock that I didn't go and look at, but really should have


28" Member
Regular User
Loved your report mate, I haven't seen the place photographed from some of those angles before, it makes it look very different.
Top job that. :thumb