News article created on 16 October 2018

Helicopter comes to the aid at March Haigh Reservoir

We have enlisted the help of a helicopter so that it can carry out important repairs to March Haigh Reservoir, near Marsden in Huddersfield.

March Haigh Reservoir March Haigh Reservoir

We are carrying our repairs to the 200-year-old reservoir which supplies millions of litres of water each year to keep the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, including the country’s longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel – Standedge Tunnel, in water.

The reservoir is located around two miles North East of Marsden and is only accessible by foot, involving a one mile walk over ecologically important moorland which, as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, is a significant breeding habitat for birds.

We will undertake repairs to the reservoir’s spillway so it can continue to control the water levels in the reservoir and doesn’t overflow damaging the surrounding landscape. 

To conquer the complicated access and challenging conditions, over 20 tonnes of material, operational pipework and ducting need to be airlifted to the reservoir by helicopter.

Mark Wigley, construction manager at the Trust said: "Caring for our 200-year-old waterways does sometimes give us access issues but I’ve never come across a job where we needed help using a helicopter to transport our materials. 

"A great deal of skilled planning went into solving the logistical challenges we faced given the isolated location of the reservoir. As the reservoir is surrounded by a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the airlift was deemed the most suitable option to ensure our maintenance work remained highly sensitive to the surrounding environment.

"The work will take a few weeks to complete and will ensure that the reservoir can operate and continue to feed the Huddersfield Narrow Canal for everyone to enjoy."

March Haigh Reservoir was originally constructed to feed the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and can hold 71 million gallons of water – the equivalent of 450,000 bathtubs. The canal runs for approximately 20 miles from Huddersfield in the east, rising 134 metres through 42 locks to Marsden, where it enters Standedge Tunnel – the longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in the country.