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.

What is going to be 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 2021)
  • 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 19 April)
  • 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)

What will remain open at Earlswood?

  • The footpaths alongside Terry’s Pool (except the northern section where it runs between Engine Pool and Terry’s Pool)
  • 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 (via road only)
  • The Reservoir Inn, Earlswood Common
  • Red Lion pub, Lady Lane
  • The Bulls Head*, Limekiln Lane
  • Ambleside Bistro & Garden Centre, Norton Lane

Why do the water levels have to be lowered?

To provide safe access to the dam and embankment for staff and machinery, 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.

Will the reduced water levels affect the fish in the reservoirs?

There will still be enough water in the pools for the fish, but we will monitor the situation.

Will the lowered water levels prevent birds from nesting?

The water levels were reduced to the required working levels pre bird nesting season to avoid disruption to nesting birds. 

How long will the lakes be drained down for?

We hope to be able to let the lakes fill up again from around mid-August.

Will there be any improvements to wildlife habitats?

When the works are complete, we will be planting some native species of aquatic plants in the reservoirs to boost habitat and biodiversity.

Will the SSSI River Blythe be affected adversely affected in any way? 

A trash screen is being fitted to the River Blythe culvert to improve water flow and remove litter and debris.  And we’ll be planting native species of aquatic plants to increase biodiversity there too.

Will angling still be possible at Earlswood?

Unfortunately fishing will not be permitted for the duration of the works. For further details please contact fisheries@canalrivertrust.org.uk

When will the footpaths and roads reopen?

The works are expected to be completed by early November, but we should be able to open some of the roads and footpaths a little earlier than that.  We will keep in touch as the works progress.

 

Will heavy machinery damage any of the road/path surface at the lakes?

The Canal & River Trust and its contractor Kier, are committed to reducing the impact on the local area. We will ensure at the end of the works that the area is returned to its previous condition, or better.

Will the works impact on water supplies for the Stratford Canal?

There will be no disruption to water supplies to the Stratford Canal.

Will the footpath entrance onto the lakes from Mason Lane be closed?

Yes, but the project managers are aware of the importance of this pathway for connecting to the Craft Centre, so we will prioritise the reopening of this footpath as soon as possible.

Will the footpath across the causeway between Engine and Windmill pools be closed to pedestrians as well as vehicles?

Yes, but again the project managers are aware of the importance for this pedestrian route for local people to access the local shops, it will be closed for the absolute minimum time possible.

What is the purpose of the new parking area on the embankment?

This new parking area is for Canal & River Trust maintenance staff for regular inspections of the new trash screen to be installed on the River Blythe culvert. It will be ‘grasscrete’ – hardstanding through which grass grows through to minimise the visual impact.  We will install lockable removable posts to prevent unauthorised parking.

Can businesses and residents at Earlswood still access their premises/homes via Valley Road?

Businesses operating out of the business park off Valley Road will have access at all times from the Norton Road end of Valley Road.  Residents in Earlswood will need to enter/exit from the main road (B4102).  A barrier is in place to prevent through traffic. 

Could one-way traffic lights be installed on Valley Road to allow through traffic during the works?

We are sorry that our essential maintenance works are causing disruption to local roads and footpaths. We have taken careful steps to minimise the closures necessary to undertake these statutory works as safely and efficiently as possible. We now have heavy plant operating in both sections of Valley Road, so we cannot allow through traffic on Valley Road. The road is set to reopen on 20 August 2021, but we will do everything that we can to reopen this road to through traffic at the earliest possible time.

Is the Canal & River Trust providing site security?

Yes, for the duration of the works, we have installed CCTV cameras on the corner of Windmill/Valley Road and security patrols around the site are in place from 5pm to midnight on weekdays, and from 12 noon to 12 midnight on weekends and bank holidays. 

For further information

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

@CRTWestMidlands.

Last date edited: 26 May 2021