They’ve been featured in a wakeboarding film, referenced by Jarvis Cocker in Pulp’s Wickerman and even popped up in the last series of Doctor Who.

Now Sheffield’s underground network of Victorian storm drains, which stretch for many miles under the city’s railway station, are going overground. The first public tours are set to be held as part of this year’s Sheffield Adventure Film Festival.

Back in the industrial revolution Sheffield’s rivers were built over and now run unseen beneath factories, railway stations and car parks in a network of cavernous culverts. As part of Sheffield’s Festival of the Outdoors , the council has teamed up with youth hostelling charity YHA (England & Wales) and The Outdoor City to arrange a unique urban adventure into the Victorian storm drain network.

ShAFF will be bringing along a pop-up screen and projector for this underground audio-visual spectacular, and along the way you’ll hear about the city’s ground-breaking work to uncover its lost waterways, joining a worldwide movement in daylighting.

Sheffield is now established as The Outdoor City where sports like climbing, kayaking and mountain biking can be enjoyed not only in the Peak Park but right here in the inner city.

Click here to see our Urban Caving: In Pictures.

The population of central Sheffield is rising rapidly every year, creating an urgent demand for more open spaces, whilst climate change is resulting in much more frequent and extreme storms which overflow the culverts and threaten flooding.

For all these reasons the time is overdue to start the rediscovery and daylighting of our lost rivers, joining a truly worldwide movement which is making headlines in both northern and southern hemispheres.

Guided by caving experts from YHA’s Castleton Youth Hostel in the Peak District, this year’s ShAFF will highlight this opportunity and challenge by allowing people to experience some of Sheffield’s hidden rivers, watch films in the Victorian storm drains, and learn about plans to start their rescue through a new, dedicated, charitable trust – Putting The Sheaf Back In Sheffield.

To find out more about tours talking place as part of SHAFF, go to its website.

For the full Festival Of The Outdoors programme.

Watch Towards The Megatron here

Simon Ogden’s history of hidden rivers in Sheffield