Swallow Wheel. Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, S6 5SD.

Swallow Wheel, Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, S6 5SD

Former water-powered grinding Wheel and water management system

Swallow Wheel and associated water management system are the remains of a water-powered site dating from before 1690. It appears to have been used continually for grinding cutlery and razors from before 1690 until it fell into ruins in the early 20th century.  The remains of the wheel pit, the line of the buildings and parts of the stone floor are partially visible amongst the encroaching vegetation.

The Swallow water management system extends to the east and south-west of the site of the former mill buildings, feeding from and into the adjacent river. The curved weir, built of large pitched stones, is in poor condition. There is water in the mill dam, but it is shallow and heavily shaded with trees. The long tail-goit originally joined the head goit of Plonk Wheel (next downstream).

Swallow Wheel is located on the south side of Rivelin Valley Road between its junctions with the two ends of Tofts Lane. The site is owned by Sheffield City Council and there is open access. A public footpath (the Rivelin nature and heritage trail) passes on the south side of the site, between the mill dam and the river. The trail can be accessed from various points along Rivelin Valley Road and from surrounding footpaths.

A marker post installed at the site by Rivelin Valley Conservation Group gives a brief history and links to a website where further information and pictures can be found.

Swallow Wheel is one of the 20 water-powered mills built in the Rivelin Valley (search for ‘Rivelin Waterpower Sites’ on this website for more details). This sequence of Rivelin mills and mill dams forms an essential part of Sheffield’s heritage. They also have a broader national and even international significance in relation to the history of the Industrial Revolution in Sheffield.

Further information and pictures of Swallow Wheel and other sites in the Rivelin valley can be found at https://rivelinvalley.org.uk/rivelin-trails-2/y. See also the books ‘Walking the Rivelin’, by Sue Shaw and Keith Kendall (6th edition, 2019, Rivelin Valley Conservation Group) and ‘Water Power on the Sheffield Rivers’, by C. Ball, D. Crossley, N. Flavell (Editors), (2nd Edition (2006), South Yorkshire Industrial Society).