Welcome to friends of Ecological Owlthorpe

Local Knowledge and understanding of the 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 around both spurs of the Ochre Dyke, Owlthorpe Fields and Owlthorpe Wetlands.

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

Flood Risk Assessment Criteria.

Link to Video: Ochre Dyke

GPS Co-ordinates 53.33918,-1.37755

.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.

Because of Global warming flooding is more frequent, resulting in winter 2019/20 in the flooding of two farmers' fields in Beighton and also Fishlake in Doncaster .

Link to Video: Mine Workings

GPS Co-ordinates


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 ECOLOGICAL OWLTHORPE”

  • Downstream flooding

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 23ft above sea leavel, a difference of 627ft. Fishlake is some 37miles down stream from Owlthorpe make no wonder it flooded.

Flood warnings for Fishlake, South Yorkshire, England - GOV.UK (flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk)


  • Government Legislation and 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.

Government Press Release:

"Environment Bodies set joint vision to tackle climate change. Environment Agency, Forestry 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 Secretary of State for Housing:

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

  • Litigation

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 and Avant Homes build in Ecological Owlthorpe and flooding occurs down stream again, Insurance companies and loss adjusters may take the view that Sheffield City Council and Avant Homes have ignored government legislation and not taken flood risk assessments seriously, therefore, they may prosecute to recover losses.

  • Conclusion

General: It is always best practice to understand the layout of an area before undertaking a flood risk assessment. Best practice should always be to visit the area and obtain an overall understanding of previous and potential flood risks

In making this flood risk assesment in line with government legislation and directive I suggest that Ecological Owlthorpe be granted a preservation order as an upstream nature based solution to protect the environment.

In order to combat Climate Change caused by deforestation we need to help the Ochre Dyke by planting more trees up stream. Starting near the Birley Moor Golf Course, more trees could be planted in the farmland and grazing area. There is a strip of grassland at the North side of Ochre Dyke leading down from Birley Moor Garden Centre which could also be used to plant trees. Owlthorpe Fields has many maturing trees establishing, however, there is room for more planting which will enhance the woodland setting thus contributing to the solution. The roots of trees absorb the water, supply the oxygen we need and store carbon all which counteract the pollution from nearby traffic.

Ecological Owlthorpe Editorial, Working with nature: Sheffield campaign calls for protection of upstream environments to stop downstreem flooding.

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

Please sign our petition https://chng.it/FPc7X4Nq Sheffield campaign calls for Nature-based solutions to tackle the climate emergency.


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