Loxley Valley water power assets

Location/Address

Along the River Loxley from Stacey Lane (grid reference SK 286904) eastwards to the confluence with the Rivelin at Malin Bridge (grid reference SK 326893). Also, along Storrs Brook, from the bridge at grid reference SK 293888 to the confluence of Storrs Brook and the River Loxley at Rowell Bridge (grid reference SK 299895). *The area described above extends to the western limit of Sheffield City Council’s jurisdiction as local planning authority. The River Loxley begins further up the valley at Low Bradfield, which is within the City of Sheffield, but falls within the planning jurisdiction of the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). The PDNPA stretch of the river is described in the submission to provide historical and geographical context and completeness.but is not included on the South Yorkshire Local Heritage List.

Type

Other site, structure or landscape

Assets that cannot fit any of the other categories. This category includes sites of archaeological interest, where the original form and function may not be apparent without the use of archaeological techniques and interpretation.

Description

The River Loxley rises above Bradfield Moors and Strines Moor, northwest of Sheffield city centre, where small streams feed into the river itself, which starts at Low Bradfield at the confluence of Dale Dike and Agden Dike (grid reference SK 263918). It then flows east for around six miles until it joins the River Don at grid reference SK 342894. The River Rivelin flows into the Loxley at Malin Bridge. Further up the Loxley valley there is one significant tributary, Storrs Brook, which flows into the Loxley at Rowell Bridge. The upper part of the valley houses a compensation reservoir, Damflask, which was completed in 1896, to ensure a constant flow of water to the industries in the valley. The Loxley is a fast flowing but shallow river, with a total fall of 84 metres. This provided power for many water mills over hundreds of years, making the Loxley valley area a very important centre of industry and water power innovation. There are remains of 24 known wheels, mills and forges of varying types in total. All but one of them fall within the jurisdiction of Sheffield City Council as local planning authority. The exception is Low Bradfield corn mill, which is within the jurisdiction of the Peak District National Park Authority. Low Bradfield corn mill also enjoys the distinction of being the first water power site documented in the valley, in 1219. Further mills were built in the 16th and 17th centuries, but the majority of them were built in the 18th century. The Loxley wheels were primarily grinding wheels used for edge tool production, but they were also put to other uses at various times, such as grinding corn, grinding snuff, powering rolling mills, wire mills, paper mills, and forges and tilt hammers. The whole of the valley bottom is an integrated network of features that were constructed to serve these mills and forges: weirs, dams, sluices (shuttles), goits (leats), forebays (small reservoirs), waterwheels, pentroughs, mill buildings for the grinding wheels, stables, storage building and dwellings. Locally, the whole complex of buildings, waterwheels and associated structures for grinding is known as a Wheel. In March 1864 most of the Loxley valley industry was destroyed in a catastrophic dam collapse, when the newly constructed Dale Dyke Dam burst. The water raced down the valley into the River Don, demolishing almost everything in its path. It is one of the worst disasters in British history, but little is known outside the local area. The Chief Constable’s records of the time show that 240 people were drowned, 100 buildings and 15 bridges were destroyed and around 4,000 houses were flooded. An unknown number of people died later of the after-effects of the flood. The water company who had built the dam paid compensation to the owners and workers and their families, and detailed records were kept of the claims. This collection of documents (https://www2.shu.ac.uk/sfca/) is an important, if not unique, record of the lives of ordinary people in Victorian times. Many of the mills and forges were rebuilt, and some continued working until very recently, although most had ceased to use water power by the 1930s. One notable industry in the Loxley valley was the refractory brick industry which exploited the local deposits of fireclay from the Stannington Pot Clay seam, plus the ganister (a type of sandstone) that also occurs locally. These materials were used to make crucibles and bricks for lining furnaces, making a significant contribution to the development of special steels, and the steel industry in general. It was during the 1800s that the Loxley valley became an important producer of refractory materials. By the 1930s there were a total of three firms in the valley producing hollow refractories. Between them, it is estimated that they supplied 95% of all the hollow refractories produced in Great Britain. The steel industry played a vital national role during the Second World War and its continued operation depended in large measure upon the refractory industry concentrated in Sheffield, and on one small part of the Loxley valley in particular. Water power was used for crushing the refractory clay until 1956. Refractory production ceased in the area in the 1990s and the substantial Hepworth’s factory site is now largely derelict. The Loxley valley now has very little industry but the fascinating remains of its hugely significant water power past can be seen along much of the river. The dams and goits provide a haven for wildlife and it is a very popular area for walks and family outings. There are other historical assets that are not included in this submission but are an integral part of the valley and its history, for example the ganister and pot clay mines, which provided material for the important refractory brick industry in the valley bottom, the coal mines and pits on Loxley Common, the pleasure gardens once planted above Low Matlock,, etc. The water power features are an integrated whole. They include the gritstone ashlar walling along the river banks between the individual mill/wheel sites. The water power sites along the river are listed and described in considerable detail in the authoritative book “Water Power on the Sheffield Rivers”, the second edition of which was published in 2006 by the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society. The book is based on extensive historical research. The editors, Christine Ball, David Crossley and Neville Flavell, document their sources in great detail and include a bibliography. The weirs and associated structures between Stacey Bank and Hillsborough Corner were also assessed in some detail in an archaeological report produced for the Don Catchment Rivers Trust by the Brigantia Archaeological Practice in 2012. This submission has been prepared by a Loxley valley heritage working group that was formed early in 2022. The working group includes members of Friends of the Loxley Valley, Friends of the Loxley Cemetery, and the Bradfield Historical Society. The following list makes explicit the sites that are covered by this “whole valley” submission. For historical and contextual completeness, it includes water power sites that may no longer exist or that may have only very limited remains surviving. This “whole valley” submission is seen as a significant overarching first step towards recognising and protecting these sites. It summarises and appraises the integrated water power “whole”, of which the individual sites form vital component parts. • Low Bradfield Corn Mill. Grid reference SK 264918. This site does not form part of the SYLHL, as it falls within the jurisdiction of the Peak District National Park Authority. The oldest mill on the River Loxley, the earliest reference to it being 1219. It is also the first mill on the Loxley as it flows downstream. It was completely destroyed by the 1864 Sheffield Flood. It was subsequently rebuilt but destroyed again by fire during the Second World War. However, the weir survives, along with other features such as the tail goit, forebay, the partially silted dam, and the dam overflow. The site is visible from the adjacent road and public footpath. • Damflask Corn Mill. Grid reference SK 275910. This site does not form part of the SYLHL listing, as it falls within the jurisdiction of the Peak District National Park Authority and anything that remains of it is submerged beneath the modern Damflask reservoir. Nonetheless it forms an important part of the valley’s water power heritage “story”. It also featured centrally in the tragedy of the 1864 Sheffield Flood. The story of this and adjacent sites can be read in the various publications associated with the flood, and on an interpretation board at one of the entrances to the footpath around the reservoir. • Damflask Wheel. Grid reference SK 278909. This site does not form part of the SYLHL listing, as it falls within the jurisdiction of the Peak District National Park Authority and anything that remains of it is submerged beneath the modern Damflask reservoir. Nonetheless it forms an important part of the valley’s water power “story”. It also featured centrally in the tragedy of the 1864 Sheffield Flood. The story of this and adjacent sites can be read in the various publications associated with the flood, and on an interpretation board at one of the entrances to the footpath around the reservoir. • Stacey Wheel. Grid reference SK 286904. Stacey Wheel was powered by the only dam to be created on the south side of the River Loxley. Nothing visible remains of the dam or of the associated mill buildings. Both were obliterated either by the Damflask reservoir and dam wall, or by the construction in 1920 of the now disused compensation reservoir just to the east of Damflask itself. The water power book suggests that the line of the tail goit is now indicated by a short line of alder trees. • Storrs Bridge Wheel. Grid reference SK 287903 to 291901. Considerable remains, including the weir and associated ashlar walling, the “new dam”, the head goit sluices and parts of the control mechanism, the head goit, and the tail goit outflow into the Loxley Old Wheel head goit. Most of these remains can be seen from the main public footpath along the valley, which forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk, (see below). • Loxley Old Wheel and Rowell Bridge Wheel. Grid reference SK 291901 to 301895. Loxley Old Wheel and Rowell Bridge Wheel are listed separately in the Water Power on the Sheffield Rivers book. They are described jointly here because they form an elaborate system of integrated water power in which two dams and no fewer than five water wheels were driven by a head of water from just the one weir at SK 291901. Water taken from this weir (and/or the adjacent Stacey Wheel outflow) flowed through this system for almost a mile before being returned to the River Loxley at SK 301895. Extensive remains survive, including the weir, goits and dams, sluice mechanisms, shuttles, forebays, pentroughs, and at least one wheel pit. The system is distinctive and unusual in both its engineering and its length. The Loxley Old Wheel dam is believed to be one of the two largest water power dams to survive in the city, (the other being at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet). This dam also constitutes the setting for a Grade II listed building, the Old Wheel Farmhouse, which overlooks the dam. Much of the water power system can be seen from the main public footpath along the valley, which forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk (see below). • Storrs Mill. Grid reference SK 295891. Storrs Mill is the higher of two mill sites along Storrs Brook, adjacent to Storrs Lane, which is just south of Rowell Bridge. Two dams, a weir, an overflow and a tail race are believed to survive. The site is on private land, and now forms a private residence and garden. The dams, the weir and the overflow are visible either from Storrs Lane or from the public footpath that passes the eastern boundary of the site. • Loxley Wire Mills. Grid reference SK 299895. This is the lower of two mill sites along Storrs Brook, adjacent to Storrs Lane, just south of Rowell Bridge. The dam is now silted and filled in, but massive walling associated with the dam wall and wheel pit survives. This walling is visible behind the historic mill house, which survives and is still recognisable from a famous photograph taken immediately after the 1864 Sheffield Flood. Above the dam to the south east, a small stream is channelled into the dam through historic stonework. The stretch of river at the side of the mill house is characterised by high buttressed ashlar stone walling with two round arches at its base carrying the outflows from the dam into the river. Immediately next to the mill house is the Grade II listed Croft House packhorse bridge, over the River Loxley. This bridge now carries a public footpath that would have been used by people walking from Stannington village to work in the Loxley valley mills. Most of the remaining features on this site are clearly visible from the public footpath that passes close by to the north and the east. • Olive Wheel. Grid reference SK 301895 to 306894. The Olive Wheel water power system begins immediately downstream of the Rowell Bridge Wheel system, with the tail goit from the latter feeding the Olive Wheel weir and adjacent head goit. The entire system survives and forms a beautiful stretch of the riverside with outstanding natural and historical interest. It includes no fewer than three Grade II listed buildings associated with the water power site: Olive House (possibly built to house the then mill owner), Olive Cottages (possibly mills workers’ accommodation, or offices) and the Olive Mill itself, (including remains of a rare double water wheel with metal pentroughs and some surviving gear mechanisms). The Olive Mill listing entry notes that the mill dam survives, as does the weir and associated ashlar walling, the shuttle mechanism, the head and tail goits, an overflow and shuttle, and a small grinding trough at the side of the buildings. The surviving water power infrastructure is of similar scope and quality to the Little Matlock (sometimes known as Low Matlock) system immediately downstream. The latter is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Most of the Olive Mill water power system can be viewed from the main public footpath along the valley, which passes through it. The footpath forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk, (see below). • Cliff Wheel. Grid reference SK 308894. Cliff Wheel was washed away in the 1864 Sheffield Flood. The site was then redeveloped to form part of the mill dam for the Little Matlock Wheel. No remains of the Cliff Wheel system are known to survive. • Little Matlock Wheel, (also known as Low Matlock Wheel). Grid reference SK 306894 to SK 310894. This forms one of the most significant historical/heritage sites in the region. The mill building itself, plus surviving water wheel, pentrough and gearing mechanisms, is a Grade II* listed building. The adjacent River Dale House and River Dale Cottages are also Grade II listed. The entire Little Matlock water power system, extending from the weir to the eastern end of the tail goit, is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It forms a central and magnificent part of the valley-long water power system. • Ashton Carr Wheel, Green Wheel, Glass Tilt, and Broadhead Wheel. Grid reference SK 310893 to 317897. These four sites are featured and described separately in the Water Power on the Sheffield Rivers book. We have grouped them here because they were redeveloped/reengineered after the 1864 Sheffield Flood, to be powered successively by a single head of water drawn from the rebuilt Ashton Carr weir at SK 310893. This weir survives, as do the adjacent shuttles and ashlar walling. They can be viewed from a publicly accessible stretch of the river bank. The weir fed a succession of goits and dams that powered Green Wheel, Glass Tilt and Broadhead Wheel. These dams survive but have been modified and are in some places heavily silted. They lie on private land that is not publicly accessible, although parts of the silted Broadhead Wheel dam can be seen from the main public footpath along the valley bottom. Some of the buildings associated with Green Wheel and Glass Tilt can be seen from the stretch of public footpath along Low Matlock Lane. Massive and very distinctive stonework forming parts of the Broadhead Wheel/Loxley Steel Works wheel pits can be seen and accessed from the main valley bottom public footpath. The stretches of public footpath referred to here form part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk (see below). • Wisewood Wheels and Wisewood Forge and Rolling Mill. Grid reference SK 317896 to 323894. These two adjacent sites were powered by the one head of water from the weir at SK 317896. The weir and adjacent shuttle survive in excellent condition. They feed the beautiful large mill dam, which is also in excellent condition and includes an unusually high stone retaining wall along the river, topped by the main public footpath along the valley bottom. The dam includes two overflows, one with surviving shuttle mechanisms and carved stonework. The partly filled wheel pit lies within a sheltered housing development just below the dam. Parts of iron pentroughs and two pairs of shuttles can be seen there. No mill buildings survive. The lower dam and mill buildings at the rolling mill end of the site have mostly been flattened and the dam filled in, but a small area of water survives at the extreme eastern end of the site. This is bordered by ashlar walling and leads to a distinctive ashlar double overflow with surviving shuttle mechanism. The surviving elements of both sites can be seen from the main public footpath along the valley, which forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk, (see below). • Malin Bridge Corn Mill. Grid reference SK 325893. The weir, short head goit, rare undershot water wheel and mill building all survive. The water wheel remains in working order and is still turned occasionally. The Corn Mill itself has been converted into private housing. The mill building and the integrated water wheel are Grade II listed structures. • Turner Wheel or La Plata Works. Grid reference SK 327893. This elaborate and extremely unusual water power system, otherwise known as Watersmeet Island, lies at the confluence of the River Loxley and the River Rivelin, next to the two road bridges at Malin Bridge. There is a low weir across the Rivelin just a few yards upstream of the actual confluence. This directed water along a short length of goit, through a short tunnel to the River Loxley. This water was then channelled by a second weir spanning the River Loxley. The water from the combined rivers was then fed through a shuttle into a small dam on the north bank of the River Loxley. This dam then fed the La Plata Works with water power. The Rivelin weir, goit and tunnel survive. The weir across the Loxley has been removed, but the stone base of it can be seen below water level. The shuttle, dam and an outflow shuttle survive. The mouth of an arched tunnel feeding water to the La Plata Works can be clearly seen from the Rivelin Valley Road bridge, but is bricked up. The surviving features can all be seen from the roads surrounding the site. The water features at the confluence of the two rivers also form a small nature park that can be accessed by climbing down a short metal stairway to the riverside itself. The La Plata Works remain in use by Burgon and Ball and the SYLHL area does not include them. The following sites on the Loxley, between the Malin Bridge confluence and the confluence with the River Don, are not included in the SYLHL area listing, but are included here for information. • Limbrick (or Limerick) Wheels. Grid reference SK 330894. The wheels on this site date from around 1727 and for most of the time there were four waterwheels here, the river having a fall of 12ft 4in. The waterwheels powered cutlers’ grinding wheels. In 1845 the site was the subject of ‘rattening’ – attacks on ‘blackleg’ establishments by militant ‘trade unionists’. The flood of 1864 demolished the whole site and the course of the river shifted, destroying the dam. The flood claims refer to wire-drawers and makers of crinoline wire, steel rollers and saw grinders at this site. The site was rebuilt for grinding wheels. There was still a large dam at this site in 1905. The Limbrick weir appears to be on the line of the dam and there are traces of an outfall in the south bank east of the weir. The large weir survives and can be viewed from the precincts of an adjacent housing complex. • Owlerton Corn Mill and Wheels. Grid reference SK 333896.This was an extensive complex of wheels and mills, plus their dams. The corn mill at Owlerton was first documented in 1386, and by 1551 it was the property of the Earl of Shrewsbury whose estate records include numerous references to the mill. In 1720 the accounts mention a proposal by a cutler to build a grinding wheel next to the corn mill; by 1724 there were four cutler wheels. Later accounts show a snuff mill built a little downstream from the cutler wheels. There were three main parts to the complex: The Upper Wheel: this wheel had a 7ft fall of water powering 20 troughs for grinding wheels by 1794. Some time before 1864 it had been converted into a wire mill. It continued to use some water power up to 1907 but in the 1930s it closed and the wheel was broken up. The Lower Wheel: this wheel was recorded as having three cutlers’ wheels in 1722, and in 1794 it had 24 troughs, using power from a fall of 6ft 4in. Like the Limbrick Wheel, the Lower Wheel site was damaged by rattening in 1812. It seems that later it became part of the paper (snuff) mill business lower downstream as there was not a separate claim for it after the flood of 1864. Around 1900, a firm of hair seating manufacturers bought the wheel, presumably to manufacture wire, springs and other metalwork used in their business. They went into liquidation in 1934. The Snuff or Paper Mill: this was the lowest of the mills and dates from around 1760. It had a fall of 3ft 3in, and was originally a snuff mill but by 1815 it had become a paper mill. After 1900, it was incorporated into the works of the hair seating manufacturers at the Lower Wheel. The large weir that fed the Owlerton Mills forms the central landmark feature of Hillsborough Corner. This weir, plus surrounding ashlar block walling, is all that remains of the extensive works. Development has obliterated most of the site with the Lower Wheel dams being covered by Regent Court flats. Sadly, the weir at Hillsborough Corner was breached by recent floods and remains broken. • Birley Meadow Wheel, and Slack Wheels. Grid reference SK 338898 to SK 341894. These sites are treated extensively in the Water Power on the Sheffield Rivers book, but they sit along a lower stretch of the River Loxley that is now urbanised and has been totally redeveloped. Only the weirs survive. They are surrounded by industrial and business sites with very limited public access and are not in a good state of repair. It is understood the Slack weir was seriously damaged by recent floods.

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Statement of Significance

Asset type

Area - the historic water power features along the Loxley valley form an elaborate integrated system dating back centuries.

Age

The dates given for the various mills are from when they were first referenced in documents. The whole of the valley was within the manor of Hallamshire, so many of the wheels are mentioned in the estate records of the Earls of Shrewsbury, and later in the records of the Dukes of Norfolk. The earliest recorded are the corn mills at Low Bradfield (1219) and at Owlerton (1386). Several mills are mentioned in the 16th and 17th centuries (1549-1693), and there was a flurry of mill building in the 18th century (from 1709 to 1777). There was large scale re-building after the flood of 1864.

Rarity

Sheffield has been known for its metals industry, in particular the cutlery trade, since the Middle Ages, and by the 18th century the city was supplying the world with edge tools of every type. The fast flowing, steeply falling rivers were absolutely central to the development of the city’s metal industries. Without these rivers, Sheffield as we know it today would not exist. It is probable that the Sheffield river valleys were some of the most industrialised areas in Europe by the 18th century. They have importance well beyond the local area. All the Sheffield rivers were home to numerous mills and forges, but they were packed in on the relatively short length of the River Loxley, so that the river valley became one interlinked complex dependent on water power. The Loxley differs from the other Sheffield rivers to the south by a greater shift towards heavier industry in the early 19th century, and the longer survival of the industry despite the devastation of the Great Sheffield Flood. In fact, the payment of compensation after the flood allowed the industry to modernise and thus heavy industry flourished here, in a site that was not really suitable. Few other places can show such a wealth of industrial remains. The refractory industry is particularly poorly represented by designated heritage assets, and not at all in respect of steel production or mining. The Loxley valley includes archaeological remains, standing buildings, mines, a tramway and an associated water powered site that illustrate the complete end-to-end process in one of the chief centres of the industry.

Architectural and Artistic Interest

Water power industrial sites have very specific features to harness the power of the water; the various dams, goits, wheel pits etc. were built to fit in with the local topography and would normally use local materials in their construction. In the Loxley valley local gritstone was used for most of the features although some of the newer buildings were of brick. It should be noted that the river itself forms part of the architectural interest as it has been engineered all the way along its course with weirs, dam walls, sluices and similar features, many of which are still visible, and many of which remain intact. The Loxley can be viewed as one large, complex interconnected industrial feature.

Group Value

There is group value here from the historic relationship with other heritage assets. The separate water mill sites are all part of a group, connected by the river, which illustrates the importance of water power to the development of the metal industry in Sheffield. The wheels in the Loxley valley were not independent of each other as they were all using the same water source. Some were fed directly by a goit from the site above, and there are documented disputes over water levels on adjacent sites. One of these disputes is marked by a stone on the river bank next to the head goit that feeds the Loxley Old Wheel dam. The group value also includes the other river valleys of Sheffield, but particularly the Rivelin valley immediately to the south, as the Rivelin flows into the Loxley at Malin Bridge, where the two rivers were engineered to provide water power jointly for the Turner Wheel/La Plata Works. The two valleys share in the development of industry in northwest Sheffield. Additionally, the valley can be viewed as having group value relating to the Great Sheffield Flood. Many of the graves in the newly restored Loxley Cemetery have historical associations with heritage assets along the valley, and with the 1864 Sheffield Flood.

Historic Interest

The Loxley valley is of immense significance in the history of metal working and production in the UK and beyond. Sheffield would not be what it is today without these industries. The City Council’s Sheffield Waterways Strategy (2014) states that the Loxley and Rivelin Valley corridors should be designated as World Heritage sites due to their global importance as the ‘birthplace’ of cutlery and steel manufacturing. The Brigantia Archaeological Practice Report (2012) on the weirs of the Loxley valley, referred to earlier in this submission, has a similar view: "The importance of Hallamshire to the development of the ferrous metals industry, and in particular of the cutlery trade, is difficult to overstate: by the Middle Ages the name of Sheffield was already synonymous with cutlery, and by the 18th century Sheffield was supplying to the world every type of edged tool and weapon. Given this context, the Wheels of the Loxley Valley must be seen to be of far more than local or regional significance: their importance is European, if not more widely international. The individual sites, often converted from one use to another, and back again, have additional significance in illustrating the fluid and changing nature of industrial operations in the periods before and after the Industrial Revolution." Only three of the 24 mills on the Loxley are nationally listed: Little Matlock Rolling Mill, Olive Mill including Olive House and Olive Cottages, and Malin Bridge Corn Mill. The old packhorse bridge near Rowell Bridge is also a Grade II listed structure. The rest of the mills and their associated features surely deserve recognition. The Great Sheffield Flood had a significant impact on the industry in the valley as compensation payments helped to modernise the Loxley valley industries in readiness for the 20th century. Thus the industry in Loxley outlived that of the other Sheffield river valleys. The sites that have been rebuilt have a value as a monument to the people lost in the flood, in addition to being a record of the flood itself. The valley can be viewed as having commemorative monumental value to the people who lost their lives and who are buried locally. The mills and industries of the Loxley valley are well documented in the estate records of the Earls of Shrewsbury and Dukes of Norfolk. In addition, the flood compensation claims have been preserved and provide great detail of the buildings, tools, machinery, dwellings, personal belongings, and even wives, claimed for, shedding light on the lives of ordinary people in Sheffield. Also of historic importance is the refractory industry in the valley; it has been suggested that the industry is: "The Most Important Industry in the World’, as without refractories no other industry could have existed. Somewhere along the manufacturing process of every product refractories would be involved, and that is the same today….. The refractories industry shaped the way the Industrial Revolution progressed, from bloomeries to iron and steel works, from Cylinder Glass to Pilkingtons float glass furnaces, from the Rocket to the main line steam locomotives, from disease to Henry Doultons salt glazed earthenware pipes, from oil lamps to William Murdochs gas from coal experiments, and so it goes on." (https://www.harrisandpearson.info/brickmanuf1.htm) The Loxley refractory industry is said to have supplied 95% of all the hollow refractories produced in Great Britain in the 1930s. During the Second World War, steel-making depended upon these to such an extent that the valley had its own anti-aircraft gun. The valley has important remains of the mining of clay, which have largely been obliterated elsewhere.

Archaeological Interest

There is the potential for buried remains. It is possible that there are remains of structures demolished by the flood, and these will help us understand the impact of the flood, and the pre-flood development of industry in the valley. There is certainly plenty of material – articles, illustrations, photographs – about the flood itself and the devastation left behind.

Landmark Status

The Loxley valley is a popular area for local people, walking along the river bank and through the woodlands on the river side. In the 1980s the Sheffield City Council Countryside Management team created an accessible ‘easy-going’ footpath along part of the valley. This was made suitable for wheelchairs and also has a tapping rail along its length to make it easier to use for people with visual impairment. This path remains very well used today. A few interpretation boards were also provided, as well as a leaflet for the Loxley Valley Walk. These leaflets, now sadly out of print, included details of the most significant water power features. The Loxley Valley Walk extends along the valley bottom from Stacey Bridge to Malin Bridge. When created, it was symbolised by a water wheel icon that can still be seen on dedicated waymarks around the valley. The Countryside Management Team also created a Rivelin Loxley Round Walk at about the same time. The Round Walk leaflet, also now out of print, highlighted the water power features in both valleys and drew attention to their group significance. Again, the Round Walk had waymarks (in this case, an anvil) that survive on the ground. The landscape is attractive and the remains of the mills and dams provide added interest. Beacon Wood on the river bank above Rowell Bridge to the west is ancient oak woodland, known to have been there for at least 400 years. It is now owned by the Woodland Trust, who estimate that over 2000 people per year visit for recreational purposes. There are plenty of footpaths around the valley in addition to those mentioned above, and it is possible to walk all the way from Malin Bridge to the moors above Ladybower reservoir. Loxley valley provides a long green corridor for both wildlife and people.

Images and Documents

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Loxley%20Valley%20Walk%20and%20Rivelin%20Loxley%20Round%20Walk%20waymarks%20with%20Loxley%20Old%20Wheel%20weir%20and%20head%20goit%20shuttle%20mechanism%20in%20background.jpg

Loxley Valley Walk and Rivelin Loxley Round Walk waymarks with Loxley Old Wheel weir and head goit shuttle mechanism in background.

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Wisewood forged product in foreground with Wisewood dam behind and overflow shuttle mechanism in view immediately behind at side of main valley bottom footpath. This public footpath forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk.

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Olive Wheel dam with the Grade II listed Olive Mill buildings in the background.

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Weir alongside Malin Bridge Corn Mill, with Grade II listed corn mill and undershot water wheel in the backgound.

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Water flowing into Wisewood dam through the shuttle alongside the weir. The main valley bottom footpath passes over the stonework seen fenced above the shuttle outlets. This footpath forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk.

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Storrs Bridge Wheel weir with ashlar block walling and head goit shuttle entry seen to the right in the background.

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Rowell Bridge Wheel dam lower overflow seen from below with flow of water along channel to the River Loxley.

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Rowell Bridge Wheel dam lower overflow seen from above. Excess water from the dam (seen right), still flows through the shuttle seen at the side of the fenced footbridge. The footbridge carries the public footpath that forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk.

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Rowell Bridge Wheel tail goit (seen right) feeding water back into the River Loxley to the left.

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Olive Wheel head goit shuttle mechanism with weir and ashlar block walling in background and present day Environment Agency level gauge also in view.

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Level marker stone dated 1825 alongside the Loxley OId Wheel head goit. The wording and the placing of the stone followed a dispute between rival mill operators about water levels.

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Goit flowing through tunnel from River Rivelin to reach the River Loxley, where water from both rivers was channelled into a dam that powered La Plata Works.

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Close up of surviving outflow shuttle mechanism at Wisewood dam. The photo was taken from the valley bottom public footpath that forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk.

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Close up of double outlet overflow at Wisewood dam with shuttle roller, rachet and pawl still in position and grooved stone to take washboard.

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Arched outflows from Loxley Wire Mills dam at base of distinctively vegetated ashlar block walling alongside the River Loxley near Rowell Bridge.

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The four bayed Wisewood weir viewed from the public footpath that forms part of the Loxley Valley Walk and the Rivelin Loxley Round Walk.

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View across Loxley Old Wheel dam with the Grade II listed Old Wheel Farmhouse in the background.

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Rowell Bridge wheel pit and pentrough with ferns and vegetation.

Date Listed

n/a

Last Updated

28 May 2024

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