Roadford Reservoir (Roadford Lake)

Roadford was selected as a site for a Reservoir in July 1975. A public inquiry was held in March and April 1978, when local residents, the District Councils and the National Farmers’ Union were among the objectors. The inquiry was briefly re-opened in September of the same year to hear evidence about seismic activity, but the Inspector was subsequently satisfied that it posed no danger to Roadford. The story took another turn in April 1982 when a third reopening of the public inquiry was ordered – this time into the size of the reservoir. SWW argued its case for the original proposal – a larger reservoir of 8,120 million gallons. After further delays Government approval was given in 1983 but for a smaller reservoir, only two-thirds the size of the original. However the drought of 1984 brought SWW back to ask for the larger reservoir and dam, which was approved by the planning authorities in 1985.

Improvements to the roads around the site began in January 1985 and work on the dam began in early 1987 and took two years to complete. Impounding from the River Wolf began in the autumn of 1989.

Completed in 1990 Roadford holds 8,140 million gallons of water when full, has an area of more than 730 acres (1.9 square miles) and is more than 120 feet deep. The dam also houses hydroelectric turbines to produce electricity.

When excavating a fishing lake at Rexon Cross downstream of Roadford in 2005 trees were found preserved in clay with roots and branches still attached. As a result of SWW having found several similar ones on the excavation of the basin of the Reservoir, it was decided to have one large tree carbon dated and this was found to be 4000 years old. This would suggest that some sort of catastrophic event must have taken place to uproot grown trees in the Wolf Valley and leave them buried all in one direction.

Compiled by A. Worden (2012)