Canal & River Trust, the national waterways and wellbeing charity, is starting a £1.6 million programme of improvements to the reservoirs at Earlswood.
The works, which are required to ensure the reservoirs are compliant with reservoir legislation, will require some local footpaths to be temporarily closed from 13 April, and some local roads from 19 April.
The lakes at Earlswood consist of three reservoirs – Terry’s Pool, Windmill Pool and Engine Pool – built in the early 19th century to supply water to the Stratford Canal. Together they occupy 70 acres and are popular with people from across the West Midlands for walking, fishing and sailing.
The works, which are due to be completed by the beginning of November, will involve improvements to the reservoirs, the canal feeder channel and the River Blythe.
To allow the Canal & River Trust, and its engineering contractor Kier, to safely access the reservoirs and carry out the works, the water levels have been temporarily lowered by 1 metre in Terry’s Pool, and up to 2.5 metres in the Engine and Windmill Pools.
The improvement works, which will start on Monday 29 March, will include:
- Raising and improving the core of the main dam along Valley Road to improve its resilience
during flood events;
- Installing new drainage and a collector drain within the embankment of the main dam – to
help drain rainwater away from the embankment;
- Repairing erosion damage along the dams in Engine and Windmill Pools, and the toe of the
dam in the River Blythe;
- Raising the footpath along the top of the River Blythe embankment at Windmill Pool to
ensure a uniform level with no low spots over which water could spill;
- Fitting a trash screen to the River Blythe Culvert to improve water flow during floods and
enable the removal of litter and debris;
- Creating new permanent access areas to allow maintenance and repair workers better access
to the reservoir. These new access areas will be at the base of the Windmill Pool and
Engine Pool dams, as well as near the River Blythe channel outlet on Windmill Pool dam;
- Channel desilting along the canal feeder channel;
- Strengthening the embankment between the canal feeder channel and Engine Pool.
John Ward, Head of Project Delivery for the Canal & River Trust, says: “From time to time we need to carry out repairs and maintenance to our reservoirs. The reservoirs at Earlswood are 200 years old, and these statutory works are necessary by law, under the Reservoirs Act. It is important that the Trust does this work so that people can continue to use and enjoy the lakes and local waterways.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to local residents, the sailing club, angling club and other visitors to the reservoirs.
“We know how important Earlswood Lakes are to local people, for wildlife, recreation, health and wellbeing. Our aim is complete the works as efficiently and safely as possible, minimising disruption to people and wildlife.
“Canal & River Trust ecologists have been involved in the planning of the works to ensure the impact on wildlife and the local environment is minimised.
“These works will ensure the reservoirs are fit for purpose and comply with the latest reservoir legislation, so they can continue to provide benefits for people and wildlife for many years to come.”
The works, the following facilities and businesses will be temporarily closed:
- Wood Lane Car Park (closed from 29 March 2021);
- Windmill Pool footpath on the right bank down from Valley Road (closed from 13 April
- Engine Pool footpath from Valley Road to Malthouse Lane Park, including Wood Lane
footpath of Engine Pool (closed from 13 April);
- The causeway road on Malthouse Lane between Engine and Windmill Pools (closed from
- Valley Road between the junction at Wood Lane and the B4102 Shutt Lane junction (closed
from 19 April for both vehicles and pedestrians, reopening by 20 August);
- The Sailing Club on Windmill Pool (closed from 29 March 2021);
- Angling on Terry’s, Engine and Windmill pools (Closed from 29 March 2021).
The following facilities and businesses will remain open:
- The footpaths around Terry’s Pool (except where it runs between Engine and Terry’s pools);
- Engine Pool footpath alongside Malthouse Lane;
- Windmill Pool footpath alongside Malthouse Lane;
- Malthouse Lane Park & Car Park;
- Clowes Wood & New Fallings Coppice, Wood Lane;
- Earlswood Lakes Craft Centre & Manor House Tearooms, Wood Lane;
- The Reservoir Inn*, Earlswood Common;
- Red Lion pub*, Lady Lane; The Bulls Head*, Limekiln Lane;
- Ambleside Bistro & Garden Centre, Norton Lane.
*when pubs reopen in line with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown
The works are expected to be completed by early November, but it’s likely the water levels can be allowed to refill, and some of the local roads and footpaths will reopen a little earlier.
For more information about the project, go to https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/earlswood-lakes-repairs Call Canal & River Trust on 03030 404040 or email [email protected] @CRTWestMidlands
For more information on Canal & River Trust including how you can donate money or volunteer to
support our work visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk