I’ve been trying to post this all week, but haven’t had the time up until now. Last Sunday (26th February, 2012), I visited Chasewater, and to my surprise, the security fence around the remaining dam works site, surrounding the Pool Road bridge, Nine-Foot pool and spillway had been breached and access was possible from all directions. The work here is clearly very nearly complete and it’s interesting to see what has been constructed.
It’s fairly obvious that the contractors will be ready to vacate the site soon.
The bridge and spillways are very heavily engineered, perhaps overly so, as Graham Evans of Chasewater Wildlife Group recently speculated, but the designers have stringent safety standards to meet. This is a very carefully designed system, engineered to steer and remove energy from what could be a very damaging flow of water. Also evident is the environmental concern which has gone into the design. All in all I was quite impressed – but with the cost of works now topping six million pounds, it needs to be something special.
Sadly, access to the canal will appear to be as poor as ever it was. I also noted that the basin showed few signs of the draining that took place the day before to recover the capsized dredging vessel, which I later spotted moored in Ogley Basin. I bet someone got a right ear-bending for that episode…
This earthwork creation had me baffled for a couple of weeks. I worked out what it was for after learning the basin was to be dredged: it's a drying lagoon for the canal mud. The dredging spoil will be left here to drain, as transporting it wet is expensive and wasteful.
This is the Nine-Foot pool, recreated. it will fill to the level of the low overflow culvert. In a heavy flow event, water comes through the bridge (behind me), hits the wall, and overtops the breakwater weir (left), by which time it's energy should be muted somewhat.
The Pool Road bridge is nearly complete - railings and kerbs in place, almost ready for surfacing. Nice job.
The sphagnum lawn - languishing behind the rangers hut for what seems like an age - has been replaced in the output channel of the spillway. It's kept wet by a small feeder pipe from the Nine-Foot.
There is a low level, low capacity culvert to keep the Nine-Foot topped up from the lake, and to vent it to the spillway. I trust it will be guarded with a grille eventually, as it's very much child-sized and looks inviting to crawl through.
Lots of work appears to have been done on the feeder culvert at the basin - that's a new (and seriously heavy) concrete plinth.
One of the features of the canal basin I hoped would disappear remains. Lichfied said this area was to have improved access, but it's unchanged. This post and rails prevent access to Chasewater from the canal to those in wheelchairs, on trikes or with pushchairs. It's a dammed pain for cyclists, too.
The dredger at the centre of the commotion of the previous days had worked its way to Ogley Basin, where it was looking distinctly sorry for itself.