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Report - - Waterloo Lake overflow channels, Leeds. | UK Draining Forum |

Report - Waterloo Lake overflow channels, Leeds.

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Just a little explore this, thought some of the Yorks/Leeds people might be interested.

Waterloo Lake was built in the early 1800s by soldiers returning from the Napoleonic wars. Better to have them gainfully employed than not I suppose. The lake covers 15 acres and forms a major feature in Roundhay Park in the north of the city.

The lake was formed on the site of old mines and quarries and is very deep in the middle, this leading to some unfortunate deaths recently of teenage swimmers. As the lake is fed by natural streams an overflow system has been constructed at its southern end. The water flows over a waterfall into a 30ft deep manmade culvert, which runs through the woodland in the park to the south. It then disappears into underground concrete culverts.

Having waded upstream, stooped through the culverts, then walked up the concrete channel, we were at the waterfall, 30ft below the park goers.


Doing the journey in reverse, this is the storm overflow culvert taking the water back to its natural course.


While that's an interesting place to visit, what I really wanted to see was the older disused overflow system that is under the ground. The tunnel starts with a short section of arched stonework.


Which very shortly turns into a sinuous brick arched tunnel. There are several inlets into it and a small flow of water, so I think it is used as an outlet for some surface drainage from the park.


The area of the park it runs under used to be an open air swimming pool, with two or more fountains. I'm not sure if there used to be some underground machinery here or not. The tunnel ends in a stone wall.


There is a smaller diameter pipe off to one side, which might lead somewhere or not. It's feeding in a small amount of water.

This is the end of the tunnel photographed using only natural light coming from around a manhole cover, with a long exposure.


Finally, there is a side tunnel entering the main disused overflow tunnel, though it's bricked off after only a short while.

Only a small place but nice for anyone who wants an easy intro to drain exploration. Fairly easy to get to, not much in the way of hazards and quite photogenic if you want a bit of underground photography practice. Only things to watch out for are cave spiders (lots, if that bothers you). If you visit quietly and very early morning then you'll have a trouble free trip.

More pics on flickr.