Walking the Rivelin Valley – Part One

Malin BridgeWalking hasn’t happened for me this week. A combination of illness (first me, then Mr TLC going down with ye olde traditional Christmas holiday lurgy) and leaky boots (the only pair in which I can stay upright on slippy, icy surfaces) have conspired against me. So, as I sit here in my armchair, I thought I’d take you on a virtual wintry walk instead.

According to local legend, Sheffield is built on seven hills. It isn’t, but it was built on several rivers, the water from which powered the city towards it’s position as an industrial giant. Earlier this year we re-explored one of Mr TLC’s favourite walks along one of those rivers.

Our walk followed the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail from Malin Bridge to the Rivelin Post Office. The trail is beautiful, but for me, the most interesting things on it are the many relics of Sheffield’s industrial past.

We began slightly before the ‘official’ trail gets going, by stopping off to admire the Malin Bridge Corn Mill. There has been a mill here since 1739, but the original structure was destroyed in the Great Sheffield Flood of 1864. It was rebuilt and went through many changes of use: from grinding knives to becoming a corn mill, after which it served as a clothing warehouse, a branch of Comet and a Chinese restaurant. In recent years it lay empty and had fallen into decline, despite being listed. How the site should be developed caused some controversy, but developers were finally given permission to convert the building into flats, with strict controls to preserve the historic building and the water wheel. You can see some of the completed renovations in the photo at the start of this post. I think they did a great job.

Both the wheel and mill race are visible from the road. The wheel is an undershot wheel, one of only a few that survive in the UK today. Following the renovation, it is now in excellent condition, but don’t expect to see it turning.

Once we had finished admiring the mill, we crossed the road and set off down the trail. This short stretch of river once housed 20 mills and 21 dams, so there is plenty to see. We probably spent more time stopping to admire wintry reflections and explore the remains of old industries than we spent walking.

Rivelin Valley Rivelin Valley Rivelin Valley

More pictures tomorrow, or if you can’t wait, all of my Rivelin Valley photos are here.

Further reading: Walking the Rivelin, a pocket guide to the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail by Keith Kendall is available locally, including from the Rivelin Valley Cafe

Update: This map is a work in progress – it obviously isn’t complete (yet). I’ve created it to answer some questions about points on the route – I will update the map once I’ve walk the trail again.

View Rivelin Valley Trail in a larger map

8 comments to Walking the Rivelin Valley – Part One

  • Happy New Year/Blue Moon/Decade to you!

  • Zuber

    Hey guys, i was wondering if anybody knows of any conservations acts, policys relating to the mills and any groups that seek to protect them

  • Jon

    How do i get to this walk? I have googled it but came about looking at someones house. Where is the start of this walk?


    • Tim

      Hi John

      Did you ever get an answer to your question? I started from the Malin bridge end, after much google mapping found a start point from 22 Stanington Road which is the Rivelin valley Carriage Company, if you look on Goggle maps you will see a path on the opposite side of the road signposting a bridle path just follow that, i would suggest taking a print out of the walk as if your a bit dim like me at times there are a couple of points where you can, and i did go wrong, I planned it to the very detail I thought till i pulled up and realised I’d not brought the map! I also must had missed a turn as I walked for 1hr 30min and never found a post office which is supposed to be at the end of the walk! found a wonderful carved wooden chair in the middle of the river though, an intentional piece of art not just dumped furniture, I was also disappointed that I didn’t see a water wheel that I had expected though looking on goggle now it is at the side of the carriage company mentioned earlier, if I had turned around after parking I may have spotted it! it was literally a minute walk from where I had parked, next time I intend to start from the post office, that way I may figure out were I went off course.

  • Tim Calvert

    Same question as John previousley, trying to find out where to get onto this trail, there doesn’t seem to be any clear guidance as to where it actualy starts, I am looking at starting from the Malin bridge carriage company on Holme lane as there appears to be a footpath leading to the trail from there but not sure if this is near the start of it or not, any help greatly appreciated.



  • Lois Lindemann

    Hi Tim,

    Sorry for the late reply – I’ve not been online much over the last month.

    As far as I’m aware, the footpath near 22 Stannington Road is the start of the trail – it’s where I start from in any case!

    The Post Office at the end is an awkward one. The building isn’t on the footpath, it is on the road, but it was a convenient finishing point. However, it is just about impossible to find now (unless you know where to look), because it is no longer a Post Office, in fact there is no sign that there used to be a Post Office there at all. The building is still there, but as far as I am aware it is now a private house.

    I’ve marked both of these on the Google map that I’ve added to the original post. I’ll add some photos next time I walk the trail.

  • Reginald Tissington-Mosley

    I’ve walked a great deal in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and for me, there’s nothing that beats the good old Rivelin Valley. It’s a magical place at any time of year and I would highly recommend that anybody who is humming and hawing about going to give it a shot. Great report(?) anyway, Mrs Cat. The valley is one of Sheffield’s best kept secrets. Though I think you’ve been rather generous in describing Mousehole Forge as ‘surviving’ 🙂 If you like the Rivelin Valley, there’s a place (not too far away) in Derbyshire called ‘Lumsdale Valley’ near Matlock. Very similar to Rivelin but a much shorter walk. The old mills are more preserved there as well, if you like industrial remains. I doubt anything will ever top Rivelin for me, but Lumsdale comes quite close. That is again.

    • Lois Lindemann

      Hi Reginald, I very much like industrial remains, so I will try a walk along Lumsdale Valley. Thanks for the suggestion!