We are currently working on a major project to restore Toddbrook Reservoir after the dam auxiliary spillway was damaged in August 2019 after a period of intense rainfall.
Update 3 November
Community Arts Project: Please give us your ideas for artwork to cover the new dam stilling basin turrets
Staffordshire artist Tom Edwards (We are Culla) is working with the Canal & River Trust, Kier and local residents to create new artwork to cover two stilling basin turrets, at the base of the new Toddbrook Reservoir spillway in Whaley Bridge Memorial Park.
Tom has issued an open invitation for adults and children to get in touch to suggest themes or motifs from local nature, history, culture or industry, they would like to see incorporated into the final designs.
The 6 metre-high turrets are crucial elements in controlling the water flow from the spillway and will be large focal points once complete. The Trust is keen for them to fit into the local environment as sensitively as possible. The final artwork will be ‘etched’ into the surface of the turrets, helping to soften the impact of the concrete structures on the local environment.
Caption: Staffordshire artist Tom Edwards is leading a community art project on Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge. He is pictured here on the construction site, in front of the planned new turrets.
Over the next few months, Tom will be developing different design concepts and is looking for stories, comments or suggestions to take on board alongside his own research.
If you have an idea you would like to share with Tom, feedback can be provided via this online form
Saturday 9 December, 10am – 2pm Drop-in community art session, Transhipment Warehouse, Whaley Bridge Canal Basin.
Saturday 20 January, 10am – 2pm Drop-in community art project to decorate the construction hoardings in Whaley Bridge Memorial Park.
Plus special art workshops with local schools.
We are planning to share Tom’s preferred designs for public feedback in March 2024.
Update: 26 September 2023
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Staffordshire artist Tom Edwards to work on a special community art project, as part of the Toddbrook Reservoir restoration work.
The design for the new overflow spillway channel includes two large cylindrical concrete turrets, which play a crucial role in slowing down the waterflow into the new stilling basin. Rather than leave the exterior bare concrete, the plan is to sandblast the turrets with attractive artwork created by Tom, guided by the local community. Watch out for opportunities to join in his creative workshops. We will then put a final selection of designs out for public consultation this autumn to choose the winning artwork.
Tom says: “My style of work is very broad, encompassing everything from impressionism through to geometric minimalism. Most of my work is produced for a specific setting, and as such I like to work with my audience to find a style and approach which best suits its location. I love to paint organic shapes, plants and wildlife - especially birds!
“Over the next few months, I will be working alongside The Canal & River Trust, Kier and local residents to design artwork for the two stilling basin turrets. The final artwork will then be ‘sandblasted’ onto the concrete surface of the towers, creating a subtle change in texture and colour. This approach will help soften and blend them into the surrounding landscape, as well as telling a story that will resonate with the residents of Whaley Bridge.
“I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all. I will be hosting a number of creative workshops to directly involve you in the creation of what will be a long lasting and beautiful piece of art.“
Update: 6 September 2023
The bywash channel, which carries water flowing from Todd Brook stream around the reservoir into the River Goyt, is being diverted temporarily within the construction site, as part of the construction sequence to ensure reservoir safety,
The new route runs along the edge of the new spillway channel and is a key construction milestone, as it allows Kier to complete excavations for the new structure.
Once the new spillway channel is complete, all water flowing down the existing bywash will be diverted into the new channel to enter the River Goyt.
Update: 11 July 2023
Many thanks to everyone who attended the two open days at Toddbrook Reservoir construction site on 7 and 8 July.
Visitors were taken onto the dam footbridge to get a bird's eye view of work to create a new overflow spillway.
Update: 1 June 2023
We have commissioned a new interactive, fly-through 3D model of the new dam spillway structure. Unfortunately our online model portal is currently down – we are working to correct this and make it available again as soon as possible.
Update: 18 April 2023
Kier has now installed 422 piles to create the new side channel weir and tumble bay at the top of the dam, which completes the tumble bay section of the sheet piling work. Over the coming months a further 600 piles, ranging in size from 4-12 metres, will be installed to line the route of the new spillway channel. Once in place, the ground will be excavated to form the new channel, lined in concrete, forming a base for the new spillway structures.
Where we have excavated at the dam crest, sheet piles will be kept in place throughout construction to maintain essential flood protection measures.
Update 16 February 2023
With our main contractor, Kier construction company, we're hosting a joint public open day on Wednesday 15 March at Toddbrook Reservoir, offering visitors a unique behind-the-scenes view of the two-year, £15 million restoration project that will bring the reservoir back into active use.
Visitors can book in advance for free, one hour guided tours onto the dam crest to view work in progress at the site, with sessions being held between 10.30am and 3.40pm.
The main construction phase started last autumn and despite difficulties caused by a wet January, the plan is still to reopen the reservoir by late 2024. Kier have created a site compound on the northern end of the town's Memorial Park, which has been temporarily closed to the public. Hoardings have been erected, site accesses installed, and existing drainage and feeder channels are being realigned. The public is still able to walk through the park on a footpath connecting Reservoir Road to the Memorial Park Bridge, and new children's play equipment has been installed as a temporary measure at the top of the dam, next to Whaley Bridge Athletic Football Club.
Kier staff have started at the top of the site and already installed around 100 steel sheet piles at the dam crest. Further piles will be put in place over the coming months to construct the new side channel weir, tumble bay and spillway. These vary in size from 12 metres to 4 metres high and, once in place, the ground will be excavated to form the new channel, lined in concrete, forming a base for the new spillway structure.
We very much appreciate the patience of local residents during this phase of the project, which we expect to have finished later this summer. We are constantly monitoring noise, vibration levels and air quality at several stations across the site and appointed chartered surveyors to assess the impact.
The closure of the main road through Whaley Bridge by Network Rail for a couple of months has caused some issues for deliveries, but we currently have an average of ten lorries per day visiting the site and they are taking alternative routes where needed.
We are also planning a briefing day for local school children later this term and will hold further public open days as the works progress.
Update: January 2023
Anyone travelling to the Toddbrook site office, please note that Network Rail has closed the main road through Whaley Bridge. The closure will last for about 10 weeks to allow Network Rail to repair the railway bridge over the A5004 Buxton Road. The road is due to reopen at the end of March. Drivers from northern routes are advised to approach the site office via Kettleshulme and Macclesfield Road.
Update: November 2022
Our contractors Kier have made good progress with setting up the main construction site and starting work on several drainage diversion schemes. The hoardings around the Memorial Park are now in place and will be decorated with a range of illustrated panels explaining the new spillway construction scheme, history, heritage and environment of Toddbrook Reservoir.
The main construction works to create the reservoir's new overflow spillway are expected to begin in December, in the upper part of the site near the dam crest. One of the first tasks will be to install steel sheet piles, lining the new channel, and concrete piles by ‘continuous flight auger' on which the structure will be founded. Unfortunately, this will inevitably cause a certain amount of disruption in the local area. We apologise in advance for any noise and vibration caused by the piling work and we will be monitoring this very closely.
Construction work will be paused over Christmas and start again the first week in January.
Anyone wanting more information, can contact Kier's dedicated Whaley Bridge stakeholder manager, Tess Smith. She is available every other Wednesday afternoon at a drop-in community hub, 2.30 -5pm, held at the Transhipment Warehouse in the town's Canal Basin. Check noticeboards at the warehouse and site works for further details and updates. There will also be local letter drops to near neighbours about construction traffic and site activity. Tess can be contacted by emailing [email protected].
Update: September 2022
Major construction work has now started to restore Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge. We will be working with our contractor Kier to deliver the restoration. The project is likely to cost around £15 million and take around two years to complete. The reservoir is due to reopen in late 2024.
Work has already begun to create a site compound on the northern end of the town's Memorial Park, which has been temporarily closed to the public. Hoardings are being erected, site accesses installed and existing drainage and feeder channels realigned.
The public will still be able to walk through the park on a footpath connecting Reservoir Road to the Memorial Park Bridge, which will feature a viewing point. New children's play equipment has been installed as a temporary measure at the top of the dam, next to Whaley Bridge Athletic Football Club.
At the end of the project, a new playground, similar to the existing one, will be rebuilt at the same location in the Memorial Park. The park will also be re-landscaped with replacement trees, wildlife habitats, extra paths and a new footbridge over the reservoir bypass channel. The project aims to achieve a net biodiversity gain of more than 10%.
Later this autumn, construction work begins to create a new overflow spillway structure to the north of the dam. This involves building a side channel weir, ‘tumble bay', spillway channel and stilling basin which will link into the existing bypass channel flowing into the River Goyt in the park.
Our specialist consultants Arup have created this fly-through video of the new Toddbrook overflow spillway route. The video only shows the new construction project, not existing landmarks like Toddbrook Lodge, which will be carefully preserved throughout the work.
To make way for the new spillway works, the sailing club will be relocated behind the new tumble bay. The current clubhouse has been dismantled and will be replaced by a new sailing club slipway, clubhouse, boat storage and car park.
The final phase of the project will be to remove the concrete panels from the 1970s-built overflow spillway, damaged in summer 2019. The dam will then be repaired and grassed over. This will be followed by works to the inlet cascade, at the far end of the reservoir, to increase resilience to high flows from Todd Brook stream.
Construction access will mainly be along Reservoir Road and we very much appreciate the cooperation of those residents in particular as we enter the main construction phase. We will do our best to mitigate noise and disruption as far as we can.
Want to keep up-to-date with progress?
Kier has appointed a new community stakeholder manager, Tess Smith. She will be available at a weekly drop-in hub every Wednesday afternoon, 2.30 – 5pm, in the Transhipment Warehouse at the Canal Basin in Whaley Bridge. There will also be a noticeboard with regular updates, both at the warehouse and by the site works, plus local letter drops to near neighbours about construction traffic and site activity.
Tess will be sending out regular updates by email. Anyone who has specific construction queries or would like to join the email list is invited to contact her via email: [email protected].
Please direct any construction specific queries to [email protected] or 07731 987228.
Toddbrook Reservoir normally provides just over a third of the water supply needed to keep the beautiful Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals operational. It is essential we repair the reservoir to secure the long term future of the canal network in High Peak and East Cheshire.
As part of the first phase of restoring Toddbrook Reservoir, an important repair project to the dam's damaged auxiliary spillway was completed in late summer 2020, greatly increasing its resilience against extreme weather events.
A protective, waterproof nib or short wall has been added to the crest of the dam wall above the damaged spillway. This reaches down to create a seal with the dam's clay core and ensures no water from inside the reservoir can penetrate beneath the concrete slabs at the top of the spillway.
The spillway crest has also been increased in height by just over one metre with the installation of a sturdy waterproof concrete wall. Engineers completed the job with the installation of new pressure relief holes and joint repairs on the spillway.
Improving the Todd Brook inlet and bypass channel
Toddbrook Reservoir is fed by a stream, Todd Brook, which is diverted at the head of the reservoir to either feed into the reservoir or along a bypass channel. The bypass channel runs along the northwest edge of the reservoir before feeding directly into the River Goyt.
After the emergency in August 2019, the masonry weir at the inlet channel was raised with the installation of mesh baskets filled with sandbags.
The plan is to replace these with a new structure, incorporating a footbridge, to provide a greater degree of control over how much water flows from the brook into the reservoir or around it via the bypass channel.
During normal weather conditions, while the reservoir remains drained, all flow is sent down the bypass channel ie. none into the reservoir. Expert hydrologists are constantly monitoring localised weather forecasts and water levels in the reservoir and bypass channel via a series of remote sensors. They can then alert colleagues if the on-site pumps need to be activated or sluice gates opened.
About the emergency
Following intense heavy rainfall at the end of July 2019, several concrete panels on the Toddbrook dam spillway collapsed. Around 1,500 residents of Whaley Bridge were evacuated from their homes for up to six nights as a safety precaution. Trust staff and volunteers worked around the clock with the local emergency services, including Derbyshire Fire & Rescue, Derbyshire Police and the Environment Agency, to stabilise the dam wall.
Over a billion litres of water were pumped from the reservoir during this emergency phase and water levels continue to remain nearly empty while the dam is repaired. This is likely to take several years.