Report - - River Sherbourne, Coventry - March 2019 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - River Sherbourne, Coventry - March 2019


A fellow of infinite jest
Regular User
Crouching between a high rise estate and a busy dual carriageway, the slow-flowing river looks nondescript until it comes to a large caged concrete tunnel, thrusting under the city's ring road. This is the where the River Sherbourne, once vital for early settlers, disappears from view and becomes a hidden river: contained, covered and contaminated.

Historians believe the river was much larger in Anglo-Saxon times and would have supplied fish and drinking water to small hamlets in the Forest of Arden, the forerunners to Coventry itself.

Despite its current condition, classified by the Environment Agency as "poor" (or two out of five for quality), some believe the Sherbourne could be liquid gold for tourism in the regenerating city. The river, which disappeared into a culvert under city centre development in the 1960s, could be worth £1.5bn in flood action savings and increased property prices and business investment.

The River Sherbourne makes a brief reappearance in the city centre, among the bins and back doors of shops behind Cross Cheaping.

Research commissioned by the government's technology strategy board, estimated it would cost about £3.3m to open up a central section of the river, making it visible to tourists and residents. "By allowing green infrastructure to do a proper job in a city, you make it a nice place... and the buildings around rivers enjoy higher property values," said Michael Henderson, its associate director. The report identifies four places to uncover the river, saying it would attract people and business to the city centre, "create excellent public realm and walking routes" and improve the water quality of the light and oxygen-starved hidden water.

Early maps show the river, which starts north west of the city near Corley, was steadily controlled and covered throughout the 20th Century, before the city's post-war rebuilding hid it almost completely. Colin Walker, from the Coventry Society, said: "Coventry almost certainly owes its founding and development largely to the river. While we now dismiss it as not much more than a sewer, in medieval times it was a very useful tool. "The six monasteries... all ran sheep and processing the wool made Coventry a very rich city."

Coventry wouldn't be here if the river wasn't here. The ring road is a dominant image now, 45 years ago the river was still a dominant feature of the city centre.

The ring road came into being and the river... ceased to be visible.

Once free of the city, the Sherbourne joins the River Sowe near Baginton and eventually flows into the River Avon, which is well used for tourism in Warwickshire. Unlike its well-known cousin, the Sherbourne is too small to be navigable, but could still have a use in the regeneration of Coventry, depending on the future of the government funded research.

So, after cancelling the planned draining on the Friday due to the rain and subsequent high water levels, I was sceptical on Friday night that this would be possible. However, on arriving in Coventry in the morning, it was apparent that the level here was fine.

Not a bad turn-out, with @Punk @elhomer12 @Lost Explorer @slayaaaa @Alley @FreshFingers @Ferret @jsp77 @albino-jay @tarkovsky @tallginge @chills myself and (Edit) @Drew howe one other (please remind me of his name) meeting in a nearby car park to wader-up before descending into the deep channel at the outfall. Three hours later we emerged from the infall and walked top-side, through the shopping centre for lols as you do, back to the cars.

It was a great day in good company. A big thanks as always to @Punk for organising and a shame that rain cancelled Sunday’s plans.

Shonky phone snaps















As if 14 people in waders in the shopping centre wasn't conspicuous enough....
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Regular User
Nice to see you again, and everyone else. Photos certainly not shonky! Good work. And ditto what Ginge said above! Also think I enjoyed the walk back above ground through the shopping centre almost as much as the drain itself! Might get my own version up at some point as I’m not crawling through dirty 2ft pipe for nothing ;-)

Here’s to many more!
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A fellow of infinite jest
Regular User
Nice one fella, was a good day. The missing person was @Drew howe
It was, and cheers, I'll edit him in. Shame about Sunday's cancellation. Hope you had a good birthday! I made samosas and cookies for your party, shame I had to eat them all myself....

who's that twat in the fountain I wonder? #goinfountains
Had to be done by someone. Surprised it was you not @Punk though (just saying). We badly missed the opportunity for a group shot there.


28DL Regular User
Regular User
It was, and cheers, I'll edit him in. Shame about Sunday's cancellation. Hope you had a good birthday! I made samosas and cookies for your party, shame I had to eat them all myself....
Haha no way! The thought was there though so thanks haha but yeah it was a good weekend mate so a dwcent Birthday. Until I got home and got it in the neck lol

Interesting history Yorrick. Nice to see everyone again :)

The river must be doing better now because we saw a little fish, about 3 inches long. I don't know how to identify fish, here's a quick sketch :)

View attachment 796481

Looks a bit like a gudgeon to me from that sketch


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
from Nov 2018
A development that would have transformed one of the Coventry city's most run-down streets has suffered a setback.
A bid for a grant of nearly £2 million that would have helped fund a huge waterside cafe quarter around the Burges has been rejected.
The multi-million pound project would have been completed in the same style as Far Gosford Street and bring in improvements to attract tourists, shoppers and new businesses.
An application for Stage Two funding of £1.8 m was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which would help towards the full cost of the £25 m scheme.
But the application has been rejected.
Councillor Jim O'Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, is hoping that more funding will be made available.
He also told CoventryLive that the project isn't in jeopardy - it would simply be delayed.


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nothing shonky there - great pics of what looked like a great day.

(Love the looks of utter bewilderment in the last photo !)

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