Rivelin Valley Conservation Group
The Holme Head mill dam is quite large but mostly overgrown, although still holding enough water to create a wetland habitat for amphibians and the more secretive birds like the Willow Tit. In 1934 the dam was reported to be nearly filled with Horsetails and as a result of further silting and drying it has now been largely succeeded by other vegetation including Brooklime, Forget-me-not, Great Hairy Willow Herb, Iris, Nettle, Reedmace (Bulrush) and some trees (mainly Alder and Willow).
The rust-coloured stain at the upstream end of the dam is a result of water draining from the iron-rich mineral deposits in the Hagg Hill & Crosspool hillsides coming into contact with the air. The plants growing here include Creeping Buttercup, Horsetail, Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, Soft Rush, Wavy Bitter-cress and Wood Sedge.
The damp walls of the wheel pit and dam wall provide an ideal habitat for ferns such as Hart’s Tongue fern and liverworts such as the Great Scented Liverwort. Look out for the white flowers of Greater Stitchwort on the river bank here in spring.
The river bank opposite the mill dam wall is a good place to watch for Wrens darting about in the walls or undergrowth.
On the south side of the path near the end of the Holme Head tail goit, there is an old tree stump on which grow several large fungal fruiting-bodies (brackets) – the top of the stump and a large bracket were knocked off in a storm in 2014.
On the north side of the river here is an area once used as a market garden. A German bomb fell here during the ‘Sheffield Blitz’ on 12th December 1940 – this is said to have blown out all the windows in the greenhouses on the nearby allotments!