Blackburn Brook

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Coordinates: 53°24′50″N 1°24′36″W / 53.414°N 1.410°W / 53.414; -1.410

The Blackburn Brook flowing under Grange Lane in Ecclesfield.

The Blackburn Brook is a stream in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England which flows through the Blackburn Valley along the M1 and Ecclesfield Road and joins the River Don near the Meadowhall shopping centre.[1] Downstream from the A61 road at Chapeltown the Blackburn Brook is defined as a main river by the Environment Agency, which requires new building development to be at least 8m from the bank side as a flood defence measure and to allow access to the watercourse for maintenance.[2]


Between Blackburn village and Grange Lane the brook originally formed the boundary between Sheffield and Rotherham. It is joined by Hartley Brook Dike (known as Sheffield Lane Dike and Tongue Gutter along part of its course), near the junction of Ecclesfield Road and Sicey Avenue. With the coming of the South Yorkshire Railway in the 1850s the course of the brook was straightened to run parallel with the trackbed through the valley, however the boundary continued to follow the original course. It runs in a culvert along part of the course by the railway line, which is now closed and forms part of the route of the north–south section of the Trans Pennine Trail alongside the brook.[3][4]

Water Power[edit]

The brook provided power for a number of mills along its course, including the New Mill and the Old Mill at Ecclesfield. To the East of the confluence of the Hartley Brook Dike the Blackburn Brook was dammed to provide power for the Gibraltar Steel Works and further downstream, to the East of Grange Lane a mill race fed a dam (the local term for a body of water behind a dam wall) at Grange Mill. At Blackburn village the brook powered the Blackburn Wheel (charcoal works), close to the present day Royal Oak public house.[5][6]

There was a power station that once stood near the confluence of the Blackburn and the Don called Blackburn Meadows Power Station.[7] The power station is no longer in use but both cooling towers could be seen next to the Tinsley Viaduct until 24 August 2008,[8] when they were demolished, scuppering alternative plans to use them as a public art installation.[9]

2007 United Kingdom floods[edit]

Water levels are monitored by the Blackburn Brook at Sheffield Wincobank gauging station.[10] The normal range for this location is between -0.02 metres and 0.42 metres. During the 2007 United Kingdom floods the level recorded by this station was 2.41 m.[11] The brook to burst its banks at the entrance to Chapeltown Park, and where the stream flows under the A629 Cowley Lane. Many properties on Cowley Lane and Falding Street were flooded and a local schoolboy had to be rescued from fast flowing waters after falling into the stream.[12]

Flood defence scheme[edit]

In September 2014 Sheffield City Council announced plans to create a £2 million flood alleviation programme on the Blackburn Brook to protect 233 houses.[13][14]


  1. ^ "Blackburn Valley Sheffield Wildlife Trust". Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "City Policies and-Sites" (PDF). Sheffield City Council. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Sheffield & Bansley (Map) (A1 Revised 2005 ed.). 1:25000. Explorer. Cartography by Ordnance Survey. Southampton: Ordnance Survey. 2000. p. South Sheet. Ecclesfield inset. § SK3693. ISBN 978-0-319-23798-4. 
  4. ^ "Trans Pennine Trail map for walkers". Trans Pennine Trail Office. 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Reprint of the first edition of the one-inch Ordnance Survey of England and Wales, Sheffield and Chesterfield (Map) (Second impession 1980 ed.). 1 inch:1 mile. First series reprint. Cartography by Ordnance Survey. Brunel House, Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles. 1970. p. Sheet 28 Chesterfield. ISBN 0-7153-5053-6. 
  6. ^ "Old-Maps - the repository of historic maps". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Shannon, Paul (20 January 2016). "Feeding the Nation's Power Stations". Rail Magazine. No. 792. p. 49. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Echoes of Blackburn Meadows". BBC. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Marfo, Jan (1 March 2008). "tinsley_study.pdf" (PDF). Tinsley Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Cumming, Stuart. "River Levels: Don and Rother". United Kingdom. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Blackburn Brook at Sheffield Wincobank". The Environment Agency. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Yorkshire Post, 16 June 2007
  13. ^ "Upper Blackburn | Protecting Sheffield from Flooding". Retrieved 9 November 2017. 
  14. ^ "£55m flood scheme plans backed". BBC News. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2017.