Earlswood Lakes questions & answers

Read our answers to questions about the work being done at the lakes.

Why were the lakes built?

The Earlswood Lakes are made up of three reservoirs (Engine Pool, Windmill Pool and Terry’s Pool), built 200 years ago to supply water to the Stratford Canal.  Together they occupy 70 acres.  As well as continuing to supply water to the Stratford Canal, they have also become an important site for wildlife, wellbeing, health and recreation. 

Why are these works being carried out?

The reservoirs are regularly inspected by the Canal & River Trust to ensure they are safe, and can continue to supply the Stratford Canal with water and be available for local people to use and enjoy.  The investment the Trust is making at the reservoirs will continue to ensure they remain safe by improving their resilience to large storm events.  These are statutory works required by law under the Reservoirs Act.

How does the Canal & River Trust inspect its reservoirs?

The Canal & River Trust manages 72 reservoirs and has an experienced team of specialist reservoir engineers. These engineers are appointed into the role by the Secretary of State for the Environment on the advice of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Their inspections meet the industry’s highest standards.

As well as visual inspections twice a week by Trust operatives, our reservoirs are rigorously inspected twice a year by our Reservoir Supervising Engineers and also undergo detailed ten yearly inspections by an independent Inspecting Engineer (from the Government-appointed panel). These inspections consider the best industry-wide knowledge regarding dam construction, flood prediction and stability. We prioritise spending money on reservoirs wherever a need for maintenance work and/or repairs is identified.

How long will the works take?

The works will start on 29 March and are expected to be completed by the beginning of November. We aim to open up some sections of the site earlier as elements of the work are completed.

Who is carrying out these works? 

The works are being carried out by the Canal & River Trust, the charity which owns and manages Earlswood Lakes, and its civil engineering contractor Kier.

How much are the works going to cost?

The works will cost £1.6million.

How are the works being funded?

The Canal & River Trust is the charity responsible for the care and maintenance of 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales, and 72 reservoirs.  The Trust’s work to maintain the canal network is funded by a mixture of public, private and charitable funding streams.

What works are being carried out?

  • 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 easy 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 on the canal feeder channel; and
  • Strengthening the embankment between the canal feeder channel and Engine Pool.

When will the work at Earlswood Lakes be completed?

We have carried out the majority of our planned works, and the remaining work is due to be completed by mid-November. We are grateful for the patience of local residents and businesses while we carried out these important statutory works, which are necessary by law under the Reservoirs Act.  These works will enable people to continue to use and enjoy the lakes and local waterways, for wildlife, recreation, health and wellbeing.

What has been achieved at Earlswood?

As well as strengthening the reservoir dams, installing drainage in the embankment and dredging the Canal Feeder Channel, we have also upgraded two major sections of footpath, added new angling platforms and wildlife habitat enhancements. 

Why have only these two paths been upgraded?

We have been able to upgrade the path on Engine pool as it runs alongside the Canal Feeder Channel, which was upgraded as part of our works programme. The Feeder Channel works impacted on the pathway so we needed to repair it.  We’ve also been able to improve the path alongside the River Blythe which runs across the top of the Windmill embankment, as part of the statutory dam strengthening works. The crest of the dam had to be raised here, so the pathway was restored afterwards to a good standard.

Will any of the other footpaths at Earlswood be improved?

Working in partnership with local stakeholders, the Trust is looking at ways to fund further footpath and access improvements at the lakes in the future.

When will all the footpaths reopen?

All the footpaths at Earlswood have now reopened.

When will the car park at Wood Lane reopen?

The Trust’s car park at Wood Lane has reopened. The car park will be open daily from 7:30am to 8pm.

Where have the new angling platforms been placed?

On Windmill Pool, the new fishing pegs are located in the same positions as they were prior to the works. On Engine Pool new fishing platforms have been spread out equally apart on both Wood Lane bank and Malthouse Lane bank. The equal spacing and permanent removal of platforms from the Terry's Pool bank on Engine Pool has reduced the number of permanent fishing pegs from 105 to 71.

When can angling resume at Engine and Windmill?

Both Engine Pool and Terry's pool are now open for angling and fishing on Windmill can now recommence as the works have now been completed along the River Blythe bank. For further details please contact fisheries@canalrivertrust.org.uk  

Have any wildlife habitat improvements been made as part of the works?

As part of our work to upgrade the Canal Feeder Channel, coir roll soft bank protection has been installed and planted with native plant species.  We have also secured waste wood in Windmill Pool for invertebrates and fish within the water, and to provide a step up over the metal piles for wildlife.  And with the stone used to create a temporary access track across Engine Pool to facilitate the works, we’ve created a new island ridge for water birds to safely perch on.

 

For further information

Call Canal & River Trust on 03030 404040 or email enquiries.westmidlands@canalrivertrust.org.uk

@CRTWestMidlands.

Last date edited: 22 April 2022