Tag Archives: Rudyard Lake

Canal News – Dive team set for reservoir repairs at 200 year-old Rudyard Lake

Canal News

Dive team set for reservoir repairs at 200 year-old Rudyard Lake

A team of divers and engineers have begun a £600,000 repair scheme on a Staffordshire beauty spot that lent its name to one of the nation’s best loved authors, Rudyard Kipling.Rudyard Lake DrainedRudyard Lake (the water has been drained in preparation for the work)

We’re carrying out important work at the 200 year-old Rudyard Lake near Leek, which supplies water to the region’s canal network.

The project will mainly involve replacing valves at the reservoir which control the rate that water is released into the canal network. The lake has two sets of valves but, over time, one has become very difficult to operate meaning that the water is being held back by just one set.


Divers will get into the water to replace the faulty upstream valve with a modern hydraulically operated system as well as replacing the two leaking downstream valves. The upgrades will improve water retention in the lake while also giving us greater control of the water released into the region’s network of canals.

The lake was built in 1797 by John Rennie to supply the Caldon Branch of the Trent & Mersey Canal and fuel the industrial growth of the Midlands.  It would ensure a continual flow of water into the canal which helped to support the heavy industries in The Potteries and West Midlands.

The 2.5 mile long lake has also been a popular visitor attraction over the years and in Victorian times thousands arrived by railway to escape the smoky atmosphere of the Potteries and Manchester.

The parents of Rudyard Kipling were so taken with the lake that it’s said they used it as inspiration for the name of their first born son. Today Rudyard Lake is still enjoyed by families for walking, cycling, fishing and taking boat trips.

Coffin weir

While on-site engineers will also be repairing the ‘coffin weir’, an ingenious 200 year old design feature intended to control the rate that water flows down the canal. It works like a giant bath tub, holding back the water discharged out of the reservoir, releasing it slowly into the canal as it overflows. Recent tests have shown the weir to be leaking so engineers have drained it, scooped out years of sediment build-up and are now repointing the historic brickwork to minimise leakage and improve water control.

Richard Spencer, senior project manager for the Canal & River Trust said; “Rudyard Lake has a rich history and is a stunning place to visit but it also has a vital role to play in supplying the region’s canal network and that’s why these works are so important.

“Water from the reservoir brings life to the area – without a reliable source of water narrowboats wouldn’t be able to explore the canal and wildlife such as water voles and kingfishers wouldn’t be able to use it as a source of food and shelter.

“By carrying out these works we’ll be protecting that water flow and restoring an important part of Staffordshire’s industrial heritage.”2011_06290011

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway – Another first for chasewaterstuff!

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway

Another first for chasewaterstuff!

 After my first visit to any Canal Festival at Pelsall and then my first visit to the Brownhills Canal Festival, today, 29th June,  saw my first visit to the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway.  I’ve been promising myself a trip to Rudyard Lake for some time now and today I finally made it – with my trusty hound in tow, of course!Waiting patiently!

  Another Narrow Gauge railway, following my visit to Amerton Railway, and another most enjoyable day. King Arthur by the dam

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway is in the North Staffordshire Peak District and their steam trains give a great 3 mile return trip along the side of the lake. The railway uses real coal fired narrow gauge steam engines to pull all its trains. The railways 5 steam engines all have names linked to the tales of King Arthur. It’s one of the UK’s finest heritage steam railways and is constantly developing new attractions to give great family days out.A rather grotty photo in the Lakeside Loop as Merlin comes by.

I was most surprised to find trains running every half-hour, giving a really first-class service.  I decided to have a lunch break at the end of the line and I had barely finished my coffee before the next train back had arrived.  Perfect!  And dogs travel free!  (To my eternal shame I did utter that sad phrase “you take the dog and I’ll walk” as if nobody had ever said it before.  How many times must the drivers have heard it!  But today’s driver did try to smile – thank you and I’m very sorry – I’ll try not to say it next time, and there must be a next time, it was such a good day).

Merlin running roundThe lake, taken from the trainThe lake, taken from the dam.Pendragon being worked on.Showing part of a very neat station set-up.

For more information on the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway go to: 

http://www.rlsr.org  or click on Rudyard Lake Steam Railway on the blogroll


Just a bit of news

Sadly the weather caused the cancellation of this year’s February Gala; the frost was too deep for too long for the permanent way gang to be able to do their work.  They are now, of course, working flat out to catch up.

Steam was still in evidence on Sunday 28th in the shape of the small Barclay, Colin McAndrew, working push-pull to Lakeside.  Fares were suspended for the day and donations asked for instead.

On Thursday 4th March the Museum staff were off on their travels again, this time to the ‘Destination Staffordshire’ Tourism Conference at Yarnfield Conference Centre, with over 100 organisations attending, including two of our railway colleagues, Rudyard Lake Steam Railway and Foxfield Railway.

There were a number of interesting presentations during the morning, including one about the ‘Staffordshire Hoard’.  After lunch two workshops were attended.  ‘The Art of being Brilliant’ which obviously I don’t need (!) and ‘Maximising your Web presence’ which equally obviously, I do!