Film ID:
YFA 6086



Visitor Tabs


Michael Clegg visits the Lower Don Valley and meets Geoff Cartwright and Keith Clarkson who are both involved in the conservation and revitalisation of this area of Sheffield.  The Lower Don Valley is full of derelict ex-industrial sites and mills, but Sheffield has a plan to revitalise Blackburn Meadow, near Tinsley, on the remains of former medieval forests.

The film opens with scenes of the Don Valley in Sheffield and the factories which filled the area in the 1970s.  Clegg notes the industry needed to be slimmed back and modernized, and the same land is shown; now, clear of many factories and other signs of the steel industry.  There is some vegetation on the land, but only types which could handle the polluted environment, and Blackburn Meadows is shown in a panning shot.

The hope is to transform this area into the city’s first nature reserve widely open to the public.  Now at the office in downtown Attercliffe, Clegg visits Geoff Cartwright.  He talks through the plans for the site explaining different aspects of future development with the aid of a model of the site.  He stresses how important it is to balance the revitalization of business in the area with the conservation and regeneration of wildlife on the site.  The 138 acre redevelopment is scheduled for the following year. 

Now outside, a factory can be seen in the background.  This is part of a medieval hunting park, but it has become a tipping site as the factories have been torn down.  They stand near a mountain of plume dust, a by-product of the stainless steel industry.  Clegg and Cartwright tour the rest of the site, moving thorough woodlands, to a pond, and onto a bog highlighting the different vegetation and wildlife associated with each part of the site including a species of moss which is usually only found in the Yorkshire Moors.  

Shots of water flowing, and derelict factory buildings can be seen lining the water’s edge.  The water is much cleaner now and this area is part of the Five Weirs Walk.  Here the vegetation present is the type which could thrive in a polluted environment.  

At Blackburn Meadows Sewage Farm, water is flowing through water wheels which aid in treating the water.  Different birds are can be seen flying overhead.  Here, Clegg meets with Keith Clarkson who has helped with the biological surveys of the Lower Don Valley.  The pair walk near the water as Clarkson is interviewed.

Clegg and Clarkson now tour the rest of the meadows as Clarkson talks about the regeneration of the area.  Most of the land had been levelled and cleared due to the steel industry, but now different plants and animals are returning to the land.  The pond they visit is actually the remains of a sewage lagoon made in the early 1900s.  There is footage of various wildlife, mostly birds, and close up footage of different species of flowers, bugs, and moths.  The pair stops and sits on some rocks where they discuss the 30-40 different species of plants in the vicinity.  They also spot a few birds with the aid of binoculars.  Finally, Clegg and Clarkson make their way out of the meadows, and the film ends with a long shot taking in the surrounding valley.   

Presenter Michael Clegg
Camera Dick Dodd
Sound Ron Gunn
Editor John Leeds
Dubbing Mixer Terry Cavagin
Production Assistant Eileen Colehan
Graphics Paul Peppiate, Tony Sharpe
Producer Marylyn Webb
Director Fiona Greig
Series Editor David Lowen
Executive Producer Graham Ironside
Copyright Yorkshire Television 1987

Yorkshire Television Production