Haemangioblastomas are vascular tumours which mainly involve the central nervous system and retina, often in the setting of von Hippel-Lindau disease. Haemangioblastomas occurring outside the central nervous system are uncommon. Wherever it is, recognising this tumour prior to surgery is desirable, as preoperative embolisation may be considered. We report the clinical, imaging and pathological features of a sporadic sacral root haemangioblastoma in a 58-year-old man with chronic sciatica and myelopathy. The diagnosis was questioned preoperatively because an enlarged sacral foramen, seen to be filled by a highly vascular, enhancing mass and dilated vessels. Myelopathy was attributed to the presumed high venous pressure resulting from increased flow in veins draining the vascular tumour. Microneurosurgical excision was performed after endovascular embolisation and led to persistent clinical improvement.