Report - - 'Old Man River', Sheffield, December 2017 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - 'Old Man River', Sheffield, December 2017


feeling drained?
Regular User

This find comes as a result of a conversation with @tucker whose lead sparked a memory of this outfall that I vaguely recalled passing many years back. A quick recce trip and we have an explore. Tucker justifiably gets naming rights, calling this one 'Old Man River' - I'll let him do the explaining on the name if / when he puts a report up, but for now that is how it shall be known...

This is the outfall of Oxspring Dam in Sheffield (also known, apparently, as Bark Dam; Rawson's Dam & Wards End Dam). The Dam is currently used as a private fishing spot. (Note the people pictured fishing, privately).

After running for a few metres uncovered, the water flows through this slightly winding drain under the road and the five arches of the viaduct. The outflow is on the other side of the road, where the stream runs uncovered until in meets the River Don, flowing through a shallow concreted drain across a public footpath.

Here's the outflow, pictured at some unspecified time in the past... I'll do a M*tthew H*lmes and estimate the date as being something historical, probably before the 1990s ;-)

And here it is more recently....

This was the way in, of course. Gate helpfully open and unlocked...

Just inside there's the main tunnel, leading to the inflow, and the covered tunnel on the right - more of that in a bit...

The tunnel meanders, tunnel like, under the road...

Human beings do their best to wave torches around and make nice pictures of the tunnel to put on the internet...

Until reaching the gated inflow it's time to head back...

Here ends explore one, but that unexplored capped tunnel was still bothering me, so returning with @Esoteric Eric we lifted the lid had a look inside. After a short while the brick tunnel turns concrete and heads upwards to a CSO and processor room.

Getting in your infrastructure...

A short, relaxed and (CSO aside) fairly clean one...

Last edited:


more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Wahay bout time you saw some shite! Nice pics again, sheffields got a lot of nice brickwork hasn't it. Gonna try and head out that way over xmas - i miss the place!


feeling drained?
Regular User
Wahay bout time you saw some shite! Nice pics again, sheffields got a lot of nice brickwork hasn't it. Gonna try and head out that way over xmas - i miss the place!
Haha! I’m happy that me seeing shite has made you happy! (Although to be fair there was also some shite seeing in the Car Brook report).

Yes, Sheffield bricks are good bricks. Shout me over Xmas if you’re about, although thinking about it I might not be in Sheff for most of it. Will try to get some more shite seeing in before tho.


Staff member
Good work fellas, another set of cracking drain pics, and good to see Sheffield getting some much deserved attention again, there's quite a bit to go at there still, just wished I had the time like I used to, keep 'Em coming :thumb


feeling drained?
Regular User
Good work fellas, another set of cracking drain pics, and good to see Sheffield getting some much deserved attention again, there's quite a bit to go at there still, just wished I had the time like I used to, keep 'Em coming :thumb
Cheers @Ojay - there's a few of us on it round here at the moment it seems, so I'm hoping for more new stuff soon. I just need to get back to the maps!


Loyal to the Drain
Regular User
Nice one!
Some lovely brick and stonework in there.
As your outfall pic shows, it still surprises me just how much in the way of wet wipes, jam rags and other sewer debris gets past the processors in these CSO chambers. They are supposed to screen items larger than 6mm but when they overflow at full pelt, they are practically useless at protecting the watercourses from this rubbish.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
This post has taken me back a year or two, about 60 years to be frank.
I was very familiar with this tunnel as a young lad. My first home was with relatives who lived in one of the cottages over the road until relatively recently.
The name that the tunnel went by at that time was "The Sh----rn Entry"
Back in those days there were no gates or grills on the main tunnel and the kids from Wadsley Bridge, Hillsborough and Parson Cross, used to play in it most weekends.
At the top of the back gardens of Wardsend Cottages was a ruined Water Mill, (Rawsons Mill) with a little rectangular supply dam on the flat area up the hill behind the mill. This dam in turn was supplied via a little culvert under the railway embankment which led from the big dam over the other side of the railway.
There was a very large house (Wardsend House) a few yards from the little dam. All this, including the ruined mill, was demolished around 1956 in order to build the Tetley's Brewery.
The tail goit from the mill was culverted under ground past the end of the smaller cottage and came out in the downsteam end of the main tunnel from the big dam. I believe that the small outletl down on the left in the photo was the outfall from the mill.
Don't forget that until the 1930's the present Herries Road didn't exist. There was just a narrow steep cart track led up through the arches. Old photos of the arches show them appearing much higher. Herries Road was built to service the new estates up the hill and a high embankment was constructed from above the arches right down to Penistone Road. This was done to ease the gradient. Before this work the front doors of the Wardsend Cottages looked across level ground right down to Neepsend Meadows.
When we were kids the storm overflow didn't have a iron hydraulic flap and the round section brick tunnel, from memory about 3 feet diameter, could be followed right up the steep incline to a vaulted chamber under the junction of Herries Road and Wordsworth Avenue. It was a long slog and very stoopy but it didn't stop loads of kids with a 3 bob cycle lamp exploring it, usually led by my intrepid older cousin.
There was a Y shaped junction with rusted penstocks and the combined flow ran down the hill parallel with the small overflow tunnel.
On the left was the brick overflow wier with a rounded profile on the top.
The overflow outfall had an iron flap fitted around 1960 and the processor installation was fitted about 10/15 years ago from memory.
I am now well past pension age and disabled and will certainly not be doing any more exploring, but i'm an avid reader ofn the forum and I thought you might be interested in my memories.


feeling drained?
Regular User
Hey @alsoknownas - really appreciate you sharing your memories and I’m really glad you found the post. I think I must have been your post on a Sheffield Histories site that I’d read before going here, so it’s great that you’ve seen the pics. Having read your earlier post about the long pipe heading towards Wordsworth Avenue I was really surprised that it ended so abruptly at the CSO, but I guess things change. The original pipe must still be there. There’s another potential way down in that direction that I need to check out further that starts after the pond, so will report back if that works out at all...

Again, really good to hear your memories, thanks a lot!