When the first reservoir (Yeoman Hey c1880) was being planned there was much concern from local mill owners that it would deprive them of essential water. A solution was that a tunnel should be constructed from the confluence of Birchen and Holme Cloughs to the Ashway Gap area where water would continue to flow into Greenfield Brook down a stepped weir and also be collected at a draw-off pipe for use at the mills. The picture below shows the route of the tunnel, obviously, Dove Stone reservoir didn’t exist at that time.



The tunnel as it is when dry


The tunnel in circa 1990. Note there is no fencing as there is today.

Birchen Clough tunnel


About 8 feet deep with a very strong current as it enters the tunnel 



The other end of the tunnel when it is in flood – the dark colour is suspended peat in the water. This huge wave effect only happens when the moors are already saturated and heavy rain continues to fall.

tunnel springZWEB-Tunnel-spring

In Feb 1990, a tragedy occurred with a youth being swept down the tunnel when it was in flood.

Full details under the 1990s tag. 


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