Question - - North Manchester Drains | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Question - North Manchester Drains


28DL Member
28DL Member
Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the site as a member but have been reading through the massive number of posts over the years - especially on the drainage forums. I find it massively fascinating as to whats under our feet. I suppose the interest with stuff like this came from the old book "Underground Manchester" by Keith Warrender, and it just led from there.
I'm not a drain explorer myself but value the work of others and still pour over the old posts from time to time.

Reading through many of the forum it seems like a lot of the real interesting stuff is in South Manchester (larger, more complex drains) with the exemption of "Processor" on the Moston Brook side.. Not sure if this is just geography, my ignorance or lack of any North Manchester explores.

Anyhow, I'm not an explorer but there are some drains here in North Manchester that i pass sometimes that really get me wondering "WTF is down there"!! So i thought id post it here as someone might know. If not it may be worth a look... just maybe!

#1 Just at the bottom of Planthill Road in Blackley (between Frenchbarn Lane and the old Planthill Police Station) are two heavy duty cast iron lids side by side. They sit recessed on an embankment to the left (Pic attached). The tremendous noise that comes from them is terrifying. I used to drop stones down through the keyhole as a kid. They are very deep. Has anyone been up this way and explored these? Not sure where they would feed into or what size they are but there is also a cluster of small covers nearby.. (Penstock Controls maybe?) I'm no expert by any stretch.

#2 The top of Rhodes lodges (sandbanks) there was a series of manholes dotted around the mill ponds (Still there but bolted shut now). Back then they were round with oval gaps that you could peer down, The water was silent but quite quick flowing. It baffled me as there was no apparent reason for them to take this route as is now an empty fishing place beside the M62 ring road), unless they were apart of the pumping station at the top near Our Lady's High School. These may be apart of the Hawswater aqueduct as there are sets of lids parallel to the pumping station, (Bolted shut). Pics attached. It'd be interesting to find out if anyone has ventured here and attempted anything or even if it'd be worth a look.

Anyhow, Thanks for reading through and my apologies if this is in the wrong place, asking the wrong things etc.. just thought id ask.

Take Care



Queller of the uprising
Regular User
The forum is probably one of the best places to find out what’s what. Draining is slightly different than exploring topside, and I would always do some research before jumping underground. Know the risks and what to remember and bring. For example, a phone torch isn’t going to cut it as I found out very quickly in my first drain (luckily I was with someone who knew their stuff and brought spares - I’ll never do that again! :rolleyes:)

I myself am not Manchester based but there are many good people on the forum who are who may be able to give some advice.

If you can’t find any reports on site, all I’d say is start lifting lids, that’s the best advice I can give as you’ll then see what you’re heading into!