The Bar Brook is the only stream of any significance draining Big Moor. It starts in the swamp that is Totley Moss to the north of the B6054 and is little more than a ditch until it flows under this main road at Barbrook Bridge to emerge into another swampy area at the northern end of Big Moor. After a short while flowing south-east it enters the disused Barbrook Reservoir before heading generally south across the Moor.
After leaving the Moor it quickens dramatically and flows down a rocky valley to join the Derwent on the edge of Chatsworth Park – see Bar Brook in Flood photographs.
From its start to its end the distance is little more than 5 miles – in a straight line. However with all its twists and turns I reckon the stream is at least 3 miles longer. Bert Ward described these meanders as ‘sinuosities.’
The tributaries of the Barbrook are as follows:
- Deadshaw sick which drains the marshy ground in the middle of Big Moor.
- Blake Brook which drains Ramsley Moor and Leash Fen.
- Sandyford Brook which drains the south-west of Big Moor and Eaglestone Flat.
- Heathy Lea Brook which drains Gibbet Moor, taking in Blackleach Brook, Wadshelf Brook and Umberley Sick.
I have walked all the accessible parts of the Bar Brook and crossed the stream by 25 of its 26 artificial crossings! There are 3 substantial road bridges, several historic stone bridges, packhorse crossings and inconsequential timber structures. A map and photographs of all these structures is attached. In addition there are historic crossing points which are no longer useable. These have also been recorded.