|About the site...|
The Sugar Mill Ponds lie in the village of Rawcliffe Bridge,
about 5 miles west of Goole, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Two
large ponds take up much of this compact 10 hectare site which has
car parking, good paths around the site, open spaces for picnics,
nature areas bursting with wildlife and a section of canal towpath
The site is owned by Croda Chemicals Ltd, and has been transformed
under the Changing Places programme from a derelict industrial
eyesore into a wildlife haven, peaceful place for informal
recreation, and is developing as an exceptional educational
History of the
By 1838 the Rawcliffe Bridge
Brickwork's stood on site, adjacent to the Goole & Knottingley
Canal (now the Aire and Calder Navigation). Clay for the bricks was
dug by hand from 2 pits situated in a nearby field. In 1873 the
works were modernised and taken over by The Rawcliffe Steam Brick
& Tile Company owned by an historically important local family -
the Creykes. A 30m high chimney was erected which soon became an
important local landmark.
Sometime between 1875 and 1885 the clay
pits filled with water and the Ponds came into existence. A local
legend puts the date as early as 1875 and that the pits filled over
In 1890 the factory was sold and sugar
refining began on site. The mill used locally grown sugar beet and
water from the Ponds in production process. In 1900 the factory was
completely modernised it, however, a world-wide drop in the price of
sugar prevented the factory from ever opening. Despite this local
people were employed for many years solely to keep the machinery in
running order - would this happen today ?
Apple and Kingfisher illustrations drawn
by year 5&6
pupils from Rawcliffe Bridge Primary School.
Following World War 2, a company called
Glucose By-products took over the factory to manufacture glucose.
The factory employed many local people until it's closure in 1963.
Now into the frame came Croda Chemicals Ltd who bought the site as a
storage facility for it's plant close by in the village. Gradually
as Croda's plant expanded in the 1970's and 1980's use of the site
declined along with maintenance until by the late 1980's the Sugar
Mill Ponds had become a derelict eyesore. In the early 1990's Croda
began to investigate ways of reclaiming and developing the site for
the local community and the active angling club, both of whom had
been using the site for as long as it had existed. Groundwork
Wakefield has been working with Croda, the East Riding of Yorkshire
Council, grant funding organisations and importantly the local
community to improve the site since 1996 through the Changing Places
If you have any queries or comments, the Warden
will be happy to discuss anything related to the ponds. Contact
details as below. Alternatively use our comment feedback form on
this web site here.
Young, Countryside Ranger, Council Offices, Church Street,
Friend of Sugar Mill Ponds
Heather Taylor, Secretary to Friends Group, 42 Westfield
Avenue, Rawcliffe, Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire DN14 8QY
Croda Chemicals*, English
Partnerships*, British Waterways*, Rawcliffe Parish Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council*.
*Neither East Riding of
Yorkshire Council or Friends of Sugar Mill Ponds accept any responsible for the content of Local Partner websites