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Report - Rainow - Ingersley Mill Tunnel


JMRodwell

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Morning all. Thanks for a warm visit to 28DL! :-)

Having got my waders tested, sparklers used up and tripod wet, my next trip (a good while later) was further up-stream from the 'Rat Tunnel' - the culvets under the old, and now partially demolished and almost doomed to be totally so Ingersley Mill. A good look round the Mill is here.

This has already been ably reported by Stopford Lad here so I hope I'm not repeating too much - and I'll try not to post identical looking photos! I started from the bottom end tho - opposite to Stopford Lad, mainly because it was much more of a pain in the arse to get in this way :-)

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Firstly, even before I'd got my feet wet in the main channel I saw a mysterious looking side tunnel to the right, now overgrown and dry.

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It was a muddy squeeze in, but worth it as I had no idea it was here. The stone-work at the top end ended abruptly, and had been filled in from above.
After later head-scratching I can only imagine that it was an overflow from a millpond which is now the (former) carpark.

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Into the tunnel proper now. And again, like the "Rat Tunnel" we have a iron-pipe running the length of the tunnel. Possibly the same pipe? Could it be a soil pipe from toilets I wonder...? I have no idea.

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The tunnel was long-ish and straight but despite there being light at both ends the middle bits were very gloomy.

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Certainly gloomy enough to give me a proper startle when I saw some terrible beastly monster slowly approaching me... :eek: No one can hear me scream down here.
Hmmm - when it had got closer I was able to identify its harmless nature, as the the above photo shows. Stupid thing!! I got my breath back and carried on! :-)

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Towards the end of the main bit of the culvet, under the largest and oldest part of the mill I saw something very interesting indeed.
This mill housed the second biggest water-wheel in England, second biggest in the country after Laxey on the Isle of Man. This was the out-fall from it. And obviously nothing had fell out of it for some time.

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I tried to have a scramble up to see if there was any sign of a connection to the wheel-house, but it made for very uncomfortable scrambling and I'm pretty sure there wasn't anyways so went no further than a couple of yards.

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Almost back in the open air, and looking back made for a fine view of fine stone-work, defunct side-tunnels and different stages of construction - from 1809 onwards.

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The big iron pipe can be seen here passing right by the old brick toilet block, with an obvious separate soil pipe, so it's not for that then. Any guesses?

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Back out under the clear blue skies now, due to much recent demolition work.

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Nice though that they'd kept the original stone culvets though, and just rid of the more modern (post-war?) work. The buildings here were just large pre-fab sheds.
But hello... what's that little side tunnel?? With its base at slightly above (summer) water level, it must be a outfall / overflow from somewhere or other dried up stream? The waterwheel was fed from a millpond much further upstream via a leat above the bushes at the top of the pic, so may be it was from that??

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At the top end of this short section, not hugely notable apart from just being quite nice and its concrete re-enforcements (presumably), there was another side tunnel! Again at the same height as the one further down, with very little water go in or out.

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The tunnel was curving round to the right, and there was some still water inside but no flow.

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The stone-work looked much older and wasn't in the greatest nick, but unlike Stopford Lad who suggested it was down to the demo works going on over head, I reckon it's more that it's just old. And that there was no work going on directly above here, just a track (a track busy with works traffic though!)

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At the bottom end here, it was clear that much natural rockbed had been used - and has I'd come to expect waddling along it the exit was the tunnel mouth seen earlier on.

Back into the main channel, back down the way I'd came, managed to avoid scary duck-monsters, and away.

But I was confused. As there was nothing going on with this short side-tunnel what the heck was it for???

I knocked up this little map (can't you tell I did myself!). I'd started at A, and E is the location of the wheel-house for reference.

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The mysterious side tunnel is the bit along points J & K. And seemingly does nothing. Some people have suggested it was to help take up extra flow in times of spate from round the bend at L, but it's in the wrong place and is the wrong design. So would there by a short side tunnel, the bottom of which is at 'normal' water level, leave the river and then rejoin a short distance later. After much thought I can only imagine it's for some long-lost purpose, possibly predating the mill? But then why leave it...??? Agghg! Things like this keep me awake at the night! :-)

The whole photo album is here.

Anyways, another nice tunnel trip. And by now I felt a few more coming on...
 
Last edited:

Oxygen Thief

Admin
Staff member
Admin
Nice work mate, and a good report as well. Ticks all the boxes for me.
 

Coxieboy

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I'm not one for underground (or heights) but liked this one !
 

The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
Moderator
Good report and an enjoyable read :thumb
 
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