Remember the great flood

Remember the great flood

By Barrie Tucker | 12/03/2010 0 comments

Remember the great flood

This is the second Tea Shop walk which takes in Bradfield and The Damflask reservoir giving you a circular walk with a stop at the Rhinegold Nurseries Teashop.

This is a pleasant and quiet rural area with attractive scenery. The valley has four reservoirs––the Strines, Dale Dike (now rebuilt), Agden and Damflask. Bradfield is made up of Lower Bradfield and High Bradfield.

Looking into the history of the area and to make the walk more interesting it was discovered that Dale Dike Dam burst on the night of March 11th and 12th, 1864 now known as The Sheffield Flood. Which has been so easily forgotten.

The building of Dale Dike dam was started in January 1859. The Dam was 1200ft long and almost 500ft high, the embankment tapering from 500ft at the base to 12ft at the top. The capacity being over 700 million gallons of water. Just over five years later, before the work was completed, disaster struck. On March 11th, 1864 after high winds and heavy rain, the water level came within a few feet of the top of the Dam.

Shortly after, William Horsfield, one of the construction workers, was making his way home across the embankment when he noticed a horizontal crack about ten feet from the top. Word immediately spread to the locals and John Gunson, the resident engineer.

No general warning was sent down the valley as Gunson still believed the problem was minor and attempts were made to relieve the pressure on the embankment.

Just before midnight the dam broke, demolishing a large section of the embankment. Water gushed down the valley, the waves reached 50ft in parts and within three minutes the torrent had reached lower Bradfield. It carried on down the valley past Malin Bridge to the River Rivelin and Loxley. At Owlerton the water was further swelled as the River Loxley joined the Don, and on the water flowed into Sheffield. The flood waters left a devastation trail of over eight miles. The Sheffield Flood claimed the lives of 240 people.

Distance: 4 Miles.
Starting Point: Car park, behind the cricket field, Lower Bradfield.
Tea Shop: Rhinegold Nurseries Tea Shop.
Map: O.S. Explorer OL1.
G.R.: 264919.

OS map of the walk

The walk starts from the village of Lower Bradfield. At the weekend this is a busy village with the sound of willow against cricket ball and the shout of “owzat.” On the other side of the road by the stream children can be heard laughing and chatting while paddling in the stream or feeding the ducks. This is the stream that goes into Damflask reservoir.

After leaving the car park follow the road round the cricket ground over the bridge back into the village. By the garage there is a signpost to Loxley. Take this road until you come to a footpath on your right. Take this path over the bridge and turn immediately left on the permissive path provided by Yorkshire Water. Follow this path with Damflask Reservoir on your left. Towards the end you will be squeezed in between the reservoir on the left and the road on the right. Here the path starts to bear left, watch out for Oaks Lane (with a sign for ‘Ughill’) which rises sharp right off the road. Here you leave Yorkshire Water’s land and walk on the pavement by the road. Eighty yards beyond Oaks Lane take the steep path on the right side of the road.

Follow this path uphill to a lane which you cross and follow the footpath opposite. In the first field aim for the corner of the wall which you can see above you. Walk past it to the far corner of the field beside a wall on the left to the road. Turn left into Dungworth, passing a carved stone inscribed with the words ‘My Life, My Love, My Children’. Follow the road straight on until you come to a turn on your left to “Storrs.” This lane bears left and then right past some of the houses in the village. Passing the houses you come to a sharp right hand bend, look for the small gate on the left after the property on the corner At this point you can imagine the scene on that dark night in March 1864. Dale Dyke Dam further up the Loxley valley had burst its banks. Seven hundred million gallons of water came pouring down stream, sweeping everything before it.

Take the path in front of the cottage and go down this valley until you come to an oak tree where you fork right off the main path. Here you walk beside a stream  which is on your right. After approximately 70 yards cross the stream and bear left and carry on past a single stone gate post. Here you fork left along the bottom of a field. At this point you come to a squeezer stile, which you go through into a small wood. When you reach the other side turn left on to the path going down hill from the right. Keep straight on alongside the fence on your right to cross a bridge over the watercourse. A large triangular pond is in front of you, here you turn right and then sharp left at the end of the pond. The path runs between the pond on the left and what appears to be a mill leat on the right.

On reaching a weir turn right alongside a stream. At the bridge turn right up the main road. The Damflask reservoir will be visible on your left as you go. At the main road turn right and you will see the entrance to Rhinegold Nurseries on your left where there is the tea shop.

After refreshment retrace your steps to the main road and turn right. Continue along the road and ignore a left turn along the wall of the reservoir. Immediately before “The Elders” on the right bear left onto the permissive footpath back to the side of the reservoir. Following this path past the sailing club, it brings you back to the road where you turn left to return to Low Bradfield.

Footnote––This walk is a moderate grade with a steep climb after walking on the permissive path by the side of Damflask reservoir. If you are not used to steep climbs you can take a short cut by turning left and walking on the pavement by the road which takes you across the reservoir embankment. This brings you to the main road, where you can turn right and follow the road to the Rhinegold Nurseries. After which you can follow the walk as it is described from the tea stop back to Low Bradfield. This cuts the walk by about one mile.

Once again we come to the end of another walk which I hope you have enjoyed and with the aid of the OL 1 Explorer Map you will return and discover other walks around Lower Bradfield.

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