The ancient weir on the River Brue in the village of West Lydford has just been repaired by a group of local volunteers after 3 years of fundraising. The weir, which is the largest on the Brue, had suffered severe erosion damage in the latter part of last century and was in danger of collapse. In September 2010, the Lydford Weir Company, a charity, was formed to effect the repair. The target was £60,000 and funds were raised from running local events, generous personal donations from members of the local community plus a major grant from Viridor Credits Environmental Company.
The contractor was Suttle Projects Ltd of Swanage, Dorset. Given this summer’s very heavy rainfall, the repair was a big challenge as the river had to be diverted away from the weir and the plunge pool at the base, so that the repair work could be carried out. This was achieved by diverting as much of the river water as possible down the associated mill streams, then pumping and syphoning the remainder of the water over the weir area, to the river bed further downstream.
The project was completed within time and cost constraints and those who contributed to the project will be/were invited to a recommissioning reception on 18 November in the village hall, close by the weir. A display board giving information about the weir and the repair, will be/was unveiled by local resident, Sir Conrad Heron, who undertook much of the early work into establishing ownership of the weir and the Restoration Project organisational set-up.
We have moved the project forward over the last three months:
After bidding and bid evaluation, we have appointed Suttle Projects of Poole as the contractor. They have been to site with the Environmental Agency (EA) and agreed in principle the way forward. Suttle were waiting historical data on the weir from the EA, giving detailed survey data, a few weeks ago. The current plan is to undertake the physical repair works in July / August 2012.
Discussions are in hand with Suttle and the EA on a two stage approach to the work. Part one being enough to secure the weir, and be within the current amount of money available. Part two being additional strenghtening to prolong the life of the weir, and not have to remobilise the contractor. The decision on whether part two will go ahead will be taken as late as possible, then knowing our funding position.
Suttle and the EA are discussing the details of the site protection / preparation needed to minimise environmental impact during the works. There is to be a site meeting in the next couple of weeks to map out the detail of this and to initiate local action.
We have initiated another round of fund raising, to raise the short fall required for part two of the works. Some applications have been made and the details of others are being gathered. The local fund raising events continue, with Charles Hazlewood giving his time for an event just before Christmas, this generated local press interest as well as raising over £1,000. A Burns Night was held last week. The local community members are still sending small donations by cheque. A communication giving news and saying thank you was posted in the local community areas. An all village meeting with presentation is planned for early April 2012.
Notification of the award by Viridor Credits gratefully received, ENTRUST application went in, was registered and a signed copy returned.
The monthly steering group meetings continue, with smaller task specific meetings occurring more frequently. It is intended that photographs of work, and monthly meeting notes, be posted on the new lydfordweir web site. Monthly reports are given to the Lydford Parish Council.