The remains of the historic water wheel pit at Rowell Bridge

Loxley valley water power sites added to South Yorkshire Local Heritage List

Great news for the Loxley valley – our historic water power sites along the valley have received official recognition on the South Yorkshire Local Heritage List.

Inclusion on the List reflects the local historic significance of the water power sites in the valley bottom, where numerous dams and water wheels powered industry for hundreds of years.

The listing provides details of twelve separate water power sites along the River Loxley and Storrs Brook, between Stacey Bank and Malin Bridge.

Together they made up an integrated water power system stretching the entire length of the valley.

Remains of most of them still exist in the form of weirs, dams, goits (water channels running adjacent to the river), mill buildings and some of the historic wheels and wheel pits.

Some of these sites are already recognised nationally as “Grade Two listed buildings”, reflecting their wider significance in the emergence of water power.

There are nationally listed water power buildings at Olive Mill, Low Matlock (which is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument), and Malin Bridge Corn Mill.

The South Yorkshire Local Heritage List identifies heritage features that do not enjoy national protection, but still contribute to the distinctiveness and history of the local area.

Adding the whole valley to the South Yorkshire List means local historic significance should be taken into account in any planning decisions that affect the water power remains, although it won’t provide the same level of protection as national designation.

How can I see details of the new South Yorkshire listing?

The South Yorkshire Local Heritage List has a dedicated website run by the South Yorkshire Archaeology Service.

All the heritage features that have been placed on the Local Heritage List can be viewed there.

This link will take you directly to listing for the Loxley valley water power assets, where you can read the full submission and see the photographs that accompany it:

How did the Loxley valley water power listing come about?

The listing submission was prepared by a heritage working group including members of Friends of the Loxley Valley, Friends of the Loxley Cemetery and the Bradfield Historical Society.

We began work last year, basing our research on local knowledge and observation, and also drawing extensively on the “Water Power on the Sheffield Rivers” book that was published by the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society.
Our submission was approved and officially placed on the list this month (September 2023).

It joins similar listings for the Rivelin valley that were submitted by the Rivelin Valley Conservation Group.

Together, the two valleys played a huge role in Sheffield’s emergence as a major industrial city.

We hope that these local heritage listings will help us to achieve further recognition and protection for our unique and fascinating local water power heritage.

The Olive Wheel weir near Rowell Bridge in the Loxley valley

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