Damflask Spillway, Sheffield, S.Yorks, June 2020

Derelict Places

Help Support Derelict Places:


Super Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Veteran Member
Jan 6, 2013
Reaction score
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
Damflask Reservoir is situated in the Peak District National Park near to the village of Low Bradfield. The name of the reservoir derives from the hamlet of Damflask which was destroyed in the great flood of 1864 when the Dale Dyke Dam collapsed.

The reservoir is the largest and newest of the reservoirs in the Loxley River catchment area, and along with Agden, Dale Dike and Strines reservoirs, regulates the water level in the River Loxley. Damflask was created in 1896 constructed from local stone in order to supply drinking water to Sheffield. Owned by the Sheffield Corporation Waterworks, it opened the year after in 1897. For the first 20 years of its life the dam suffered leakage problems due to flaws in its construction. It had never been the intention for Damflask to be used for public water supply. Its main purpose was as a compensation reservoir to regulate water flow in the river for the many industrial sites dependent on waterpower along the River Loxley. And up until the 1930s it carefully controlled the water level to the large number of water-driven rolling mills and forges in the valley between the reservoir and Malin Bridge. B

The two curving outlets at the foot of the dam are controlled from the two pyramidal valve houses on the dam wall. The dam itself is approximately 400 metres wide at the top, with a maximum height of 28 metres, and has a capacity of nearly 5 million cubic metres of water. Now it provides access to sailing and fishing.

The spillway is an overflow structure used to control water flows into the area downstream of the reservoir. When the reservoir is full, it is used to pass floodwater in safe and controlled way downstream, so water does not come over the top of the dam. In 2016, Yorkshire Water commenced an £800,000 spillway improvement project at Damflask Reservoir which was completed 18 months later. Just as well, as in November 2019, after repeated heavy rainfall, it looked like this:

At the bottom of the spillway is the concrete-built Stacey Bank compensation Reservoir. Not 'linked' to the River Loxley or Damflask Reservoir, it was constructed for the River Don Pumping Scheme in the early 1900's. It was filled with water pumped from the River Don at Tinsley, through miles of mains pipes. Now disused and empty, it did suffer a break in its wall in 1922, flooding the valley but fortunately not leading to any loss of life.

2. The Explore
A nice way to ease back into exploring as lockdown itself began to ease, this was a pretty relaxed mooch on a very nice June afternoon. Maybe not a spectacular as say the plughole at Ladybower reservoir, but there is still something very spectacular about the main part of the spillway. The standard of architecture and stonework on this classic bit of Victorian engineering is a delight.

3. The Pictures

Starting at the top of the dam:

49985583316_5bdc2e2b0e_b.jpg Damflask 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985824802_684e26676d_b.jpg img6443 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985840417_255fee75a6_b.jpg Damflask 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Water depth measurer:

49985051368_d815d1f692_b.jpg img6441 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking over to the start of the spillway:

49985567806_af589e5346_b.jpg img6446 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985570406_8b8935c63e_b.jpg img6442 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985574091_75bf1ceaf5_b.jpg img6425 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Bridge carrying the B6076 over the spillway:

49985866012_efa70b1b18_b.jpg DF 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985064828_10de2c6502_b.jpg Damflask 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking back to the reservoir from under the bridge:

49985611036_f2069e05a9_b.jpg DF 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And down to the spillway:

49985584986_1dd26fca50_b.jpg Damflask 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

At the bottom of the stairs:

49985584541_db0748dde4_b.jpg Damflask 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985040003_03dfb780c3_b.jpg img6461bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985563821_60ca1a92c3_b.jpg img6454 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the end of the spillway:

49985559201_1164708811_b.jpg img6463 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985038053_b370173297_b.jpg img6465 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985817007_e10c8e5ddf_b.jpg img6458 by HughieDW, on Flickr

At the end of the spillway on the right-hand-side is Stacey Bank compensation reservoir – a holding reservoir. It looks like some sort of medieval keep:

49985564986_e2fd4daaa2_b.jpg img6453 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985036888_8e9830d08e_b.jpg img6467 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985064343_b52b80206a_b.jpg Damflask 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

We didn’t got down into here. We were confident we could bet in but due to the steepness and wetness of the slope weren’t sure we would get back out without a rope.

49985035473_dc0d3d33f6_b.jpg img6468 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985575806_deb38bdb72_b.jpg img6420 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49985055643_0bf94af454_b.jpg img6421 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally looking back to the majestic spillway:

49985554646_651f83df84_b.jpg img6469 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Latest posts