Wolf Wheel, Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, S6 5SG
Former water-powered grinding Wheel/water mgmt sys
Wolf Wheel and associated water management system are the remains of a water-powered mill site dating from around 1719. It had what was probably the largest grinding room in the valley, used for grinding cutlery and razors. It was last recorded as being used in 1930, but the pentrough and shuttles were reported in good working order in 1934 and there is a report that the company Rabone Chesterman moved some of their tool making work there during the war. The wheel pit is partly infilled and overgrown but some remains of the buildings can still be seen.
The water management system extends to the north-east and south-west of the site of the former mill buildings. The weir is located just upstream of the Wolf Wheel mill dam, which is the largest in the valley still with open water and is maintained for recreational use. The long tail-goit runs into the river just above the Swallow weir.
The site is situated on the north side of the River Rivelin, south of Rivelin Valley Road near to its junction with the western end 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 the site and runs along the dam wall. The trail can be accessed from various points along Rivelin Valley Road and 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.
Wolf 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 Wolf Wheel and other sites in the Rivelin valley can be found at https://rivelinvalley.org.uk/rivelin-trails-2/. 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).