Welcome to friends of Ecological Owlthorpe

Our vision for the Ochre Dyke Corridor is that it should be protected by Natural England from its header waters in Birley Wood all the way down to the River Rother flood plains.

Pleas view Sheffield South East Ochre Dyke Green Corridor

Please Watch the video as Dr Patrick Harrison, Introduces the Ochre Dyke Wildlife Corridor in South East Sheffield

Although Ecological Owlthorpe supports Dr Patrick Harrison's and Sheffield South East Ochre Dyke Green Corridors visions, it makes sense to also protect the header waters of the Ochre Dyke which rise in Birley Woods, including Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail and Owlthorpe Fields.

The Ochre Dyke first passes by Birley Moor Pit / Dent Main Colliery. When the mines were working, water had to be pumped out into the Ochre Dyke to stop miners from drowning. The discharge from the collieries are what gives the Ochre Dyke its name.

Link to Video: Colvert

The Ochre Dyke then passes by Birley Moor Garden Center and through the colvert on Moor Valley, it then runs passed Moorhole Colliery which is situated in Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail.
Local Knowledge and Understanding of the Ochre Dyke
The Ochre Dyke then carries excess runoff water from Owlthorpe Grass Land Grazing Project, which holds millions of galons on water upstream slowing the flow of water into the Ochre Dyke. The video oposit shows the gental flow of water into the Ochre Dyke at the bottom of Royston Avinue

Link to Video: Upstream Ochre Dyke

The Ochre Dyke carries excess runoff water from the local fields, down stream from Ecological Owlthorpe starting from the highest points, one at Birley Moor Golf Course standing approximately 650ft above sea level and the other beginning at the 3 Way stile standing approximately 502ft above sea level. In winter the whole area becomes waterlogged, from the live stock grazing, through the woodlands and around both spurs of the Ochre Dyke, Owlthorpe Fields and Owlthorpe Wetlands.

Link to Video: Water Retension Plot E

The Ochre Dyke then passes down through Owlthorpe Fields. Owlthorpe Fields Action Group have had a long battle to save plots C,D and E. Although plot E is lost it is hoped that Owlthorpe Fields will be able to secure Wildlife Sanctuary Status for plot C and D please support Owlthorpe Fields Action Group in this endeavour.


Both spurs of the Ochre Dyke then meet opposite the playground at Edenthorpe Grove at the bottom of Owlthorpe Forest Settings then through Westfield Plantation. The water is then carried past Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre standing at approximately 183ft above sea level, then into the River Rother and on to the River Don.

Link to Video: Ochre Dyke flooding


When I took this video behind Crystal Peaks , I also explored where the ochre was coming from, I looked up stream from the culvert opposite Birley Moor Garden Centre down to the playground behind Edenthorpe where the two spars of the Ochre Dyke meet. The water was crystal clear so this was not runoff water. The ochre water was coming from the old Mine workings.


The Ochre Dyke Corridor needs to be supported and funded by Natural England from the header waters in Birley Wood all the way down to the River Rother. If we do not protect the upstream Owlthorpe Grasslands the results will be even more devistation for residents living downstream in Baighton.

Downstream flooding

We also need to protect the Beighton flood plains to stop flooding downstream when the water table is full the disused mine workings flood and the Ochre Dyke turns the Ochre colour it is famous for. Please follow the Video Link: Ochre Dyke flooding which shows that the colour of the tributary in clear, but when the Ochre Dyke turns the Ochre colour, this is a tell tail sign of flooding downstream. As you see in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9HCktzI3gE the flood plains of Beighton are the next in line to flood when water from Ochre Dyke accumulates.

The Beighton flood plains hold millioins of gallons of water but when full the water then flows into the River Rother. More Flooding occurs down stream with the confluence of the rivers Rother and Don in Rotherham. My wifes cousin was flooded out at this point and has had to find new accomodation.. It is not nice to lose all your posesions believe me. The flood waters then carry on downstream through Doncaster and on to Fishlake.

We all remember the flooding in Fishlake and the devastaion caused to many families. Some of the water that ended up in Fishlake came from the Ochre Dyke its head waters standing 650ft above sea level. Fishlake stand only 18ft above sea leavel, a difference of 632ft. Fishlake is some 37miles down stream from Owlthorpe make no wonder it flooded.

Government Directive


In this Sophie Ridge interview George Eustace explains the government's response to UK floods: An extra £4 Billion to be spent on flood defences. In Yorkshire up stream nature based solutions are to be supported.

Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail has recived government funding from Natural England Under their Higher level Stewardshipe Scheam, please view map. It is only when Sheffield City Council stopped receiving funds did Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail become vulnerable to Sheffield Planning Department, who now want to destroy our Oasis and propose to build 150 new houses on site.

Published 2nd February 2023 Natural England unveils new Green Infrastructure Fraimework. "Guidance will create nature-rich towns and cities, helping millions realise the benifits of accessing nature. As a comprehensive tool, the Green Infrastructure Frameworks and accompanying Design Guide will support local planning authorities and developers design and create more nature-rich urban greespaces to meet mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain requirements and support development of Nature Recovery Network.

"Natural England's commitment is that the public should be able to access green space or water,such as woodlands, wetlands, parks and rivers, within a 15-minute walk from their home."

Government Press Release:

"Environment Bodies set joint vision to tackle climate change. Environment Agency, Forrestry Commission, and Natural England outline a shared vision to use up-stream nature-based solutions to tackle the climate emergency."

Published 6 August 2020 : Announced by Robert Jenrick MP the then Secretary of State for Housing:

"Valued green spaces are to be protected for future generations, with more building on brownfield land."


The cost of the floods in South Yorkshire ran into the £millions with many residents and loss adjusters still assessing insurance claims. If Sheffield City Council Planning Department build on Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail and flooding occurs down stream again, Insurance companies and loss adjusters may take the view that Sheffield City Council (LPA) have ignored government legislation and not taken flood risk assessments seriously, therefore, they may prosecute to recover losses.

The water table

In winter the water table fills leaving standing water on Ecological Owlthorpe, just ask local residents who understand not to venture off the main trail in winter or you are liable to sink in the mud. Link to Video: Water Retension GPS Co-ordinates: 53.33869,-1.37745

  • Old Mine Workings.

The Ochre Dyke has a particular warning sign of pending floods. There are a number of disused mine workings beneath Ecological Owlthorpe. When the mine workings are full of excess water they release minerals that turn the Ochre Dyke into the Ochre colour it is famous for. When this happens Ecological Owlthorpe becomes completely waterlogged.

  • Building over old Mine workings.

It is never advisable to build over old mine workings. The dangers are obvious, particularly when the old mine workings are known to flood. After being denied planning permission on a number of occasions by Sheffield City Council, to build over the old mine workings in Ecological Owlthorpe, Avant Homes have now applied to the Secratery of State for Housing, without puiblic consultation first. If permission is granted the dangers are obvious. The pressure of more building over the old mine workings may cause the old mines to collapse, causing not only subsidence to the new builds but also to existing properties in the area. The danger of more flooding will increase. My suggestion to Avant Homes is to look for a Brownfield Site such as the old aerodrome at Norton which is a brownfield site by definition and has many disused, derelect buildings in need of demolition and redevelopment.

How Coal is formed

When dead plant matter decays into peat and  is converted into coal by the heat and pressure of deep burial over millions of years.[2] Vast deposits of coal originate in former wetlands—called coal forests—that covered much of the Earth's tropical land areas during the late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) and Permiantimes.” The coal deposits in Owlthorpe indicate that trees and vegetation have been present in this area for millions of years. I have had a look upstream in the Ochre Dyke and found some trees that have lived and died and are in a state of decay and are in the long process of biodegrading. It seems to me that the coal that runs under Owlthorpe was originally trees and vegetation which has washed under ground by the Ochre Dyke. The flora page on the website indicates Ancient Woodland. Please also view the interpretation board (Moorhole Colliery) on Ecological Owlthorpe's website, this gives a better understanding of the mining history of Owlthorpe.


We all complain about the deforestation of the Rain Forest to make way for farm land etc. it seems to that Owlthorpe woodlands has also been a victim historically, first to make way for farming then using trees to make charcoal to make farm implements, deforestation to make way for Birley Wood Golf Club, then the building of the Owlthorpe housing estates. This needs to stop. It seems to me that local politicians just do not understand what they are doing to the environment. I say “NO MORE BUILDING IN OWLTHORPE”

Please read our editorial in the Yorkshire Bylines. Sheffield campaign calls for protection of upstream environments to stop downstreem flooding.

Zoom into the interpretation boards to see the extensive work carried out in creating Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail following the path of the Ochre Dyke, The map shows the boundries from Moor Valley all the way down to Moss Way.

Please help save Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail by

Signing our petition to Sheffield City Council: https://chng.it/6vXHqcGG4S

Also our petition to Parliamentary Ombudsman: https://chng.it/FPc7X4Nq

Public Inquiry Information supporting Ecological Owlthorpe as an upstream nature based solution protecting the environment from downstream flooding

There are a number of organisations which can help with identification of flora and fauna that you may find in Ecological Owlthorpe.

Here are one or two web-sites you may find helpful.









E-Mail: ecologicalowlthorpe@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Ecological-Owlthorpe/100064743398782/


Petition| Directions & Maps| ©2020 Ecological Owlthorpe E-Mail: ecologicalowlthorpe@gmail.com