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UK Ladybower Reservoir Overflow, Derbyshire - July '16

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History

 

Ladybower was built between 1935 and 1943 by the Derwent Valley Water Board to supplement the other two reservoirs in supplying the water needs of the East Midlands. It took a further two years to fill (1945). The dam differs from the Howden Reservoir and Derwent Reservoir in that it is a clay-cored earth embankment, and not a solid masonry dam. Below the dam is a cut-off trench 180 feet (55 m) deep and 6 feet (1.8 m) wide filled with concrete, stretching 500 feet (150 m) into the hills each side, to stop water leaking round the dam. The dam wall was built by Richard Baillie and Sons, a Scottish company. The two viaducts, Ashopton and Ladybower, needed to carry the trunk roads over the reservoir were built by the London firm of Holloways, using a steel frame clad in concrete. The project was delayed when the Second World War broke out in 1939, making labour and raw materials scarce. But construction was continued due to the strategic importance of maintaining supplies. King George VI, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth, formally opened the reservoir on 25 September 1945.

During the 1990s the wall was raised and strengthened to reduce the risk of over-topping in a major flood. The original dam wall contains 100,000 tons of concrete, over one million tons of earth and 100,000 tons of clay for the core. The upstream face is stone faced. Materials were brought to the site on the Derwent Valley Water Board's own branch line and their sidings off the main line in theHope Valley.

The dam's design is unusual in having two totally enclosed bellmouth overflows (locally named the "plugholes") at the side of the wall. These are stone and of 80 feet (24 m) diameter with outlets of 15 feet (4.6 m) diameter. Each discharges via its own valve house at the base of the dam. The overflows originally had walkways around them but they were dismantled many years ago. The bell mouths are often completely out of the water and are only rarely submerged, often after heavy rainfall or flooding.
 

Explore

 

On our way from Manchester, back to Leicester, I decided to take the car I was in, over Snake Pass. We were an hour ahead of UrbanCaving's car and I didn't have a key to his house, so there was no rush back to middle England.

Beautiful road and after a couple of stops for photos, we were coming towards Ladybower Reservoir. So I posed the question, "As we're here, why not?"
I've wanted to do this beauty for years, each time I've been in the area, the bellmouths have been flowing well. After weeks of little to no rain, we had our chance to strike.

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The general opinion was "Fuck it, why not?"
So we pulled into the car park, got the camera kit on and headed on our way.
Once in, I was gobsmacked with the size. And the echo.
Awesome sneaky explore which put us behind schedule by an hour (sorry UrbanCaving). 
Really enjoyed this one, certainly worth the lateness.

 

(1)

 

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(2)

 

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(3)

 

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(4)

 

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(5)

 

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(6)

 

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(7)

 

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(8)

 

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Cheers for Looking

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A friend of mine lives not far from here, and I've never actually got round to looking at this when I've been up there. I really must do that! 

 

Nice photos, but definitely invest in some processing software, just a tweek on the exposure levels would make them a whole lot easier to appreciate :thumb 

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