Temporary Defences were now put in place, however getting onto the land was problematic for the environmental agency due to the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease as West Auckland and surrounding areas were classed as “controlled area”, this caused a delay of around 5 months, there were approx 26 farms within 3k area of the Gaunless with infected animals.
In April 2003 works started on the “Spring mill Dam” although it hadn't been named
yet. The storage reservoir will consist of a 15 metre high earth dam approximately
250 metres wide. It will hold 1 million tonnes of water during the 200/1-
As work continued I made my way up the dam taking both photos and video of the construction
process, although for obvious reason I cant publish them on here, but in many years
to come they will be released to the schools, or local history organisation. The
dam was opened on Friday 15 April 2005 . It has been named as "The Spring Mill
Wildlife Dam" by Callum and Jevon Robinson who won the competition ran by the Environment
Agency. The area can be enjoyed by all, both the Environment Agency and the Mineral
Valleys Project have created a multi-
The scheme had cost 9.5 million pound, and protects 660 homes down the gaunless valley, it is made of 90,000m3, of clay and stands 15 meters tall by 80 meters wide and 320 meters long. Ponds and reed beds were planted, and a habitat for wetland animals created.
The highest level according to the website is
“The typical river level range for this location is between 0.37 metres and 1.63 metres.
The highest river level recorded at this location is 8.34 metres and the river level reached 8.34 metres on 06/09/2008.”.
However on many occasion last year when the level surpassed the 8.34 meter the website stopped producing readings and claims there is equiptment failure. I have photos of it at least 9.5.
Oh and should you really want to its possible to see what may happen if the dam failed on the website.
Some final notes, the fylands area along the route of the river gaunless, is also a flood plain and wetland and it is meant to flood and the dam allows for that to happen. Its not a case that the dam has failed.
Note the Top left 9.7 meters high.
After the floods of June 4th 2000 in which the river Gaunless and the Oakley beck, burst there banks in a one in a 100 year event, flooded 166 homes between them, the environmental agency needed to act and plan. As they believed that these one in a hundred year events would be far more frequent. As I write this (2013) looking back over the years including last year, which saw our flood defence at its highest.
From early on the environmental agency developed plans and kept residents updated through there own updates newsletters on how progress was being made. Initially they developed a early warning telephone system, which warned approx 200 households of imminent threat of flood and this indeed was tested in the same year of “2000” on November 4th, 6th, and 7th. However river levels peaked prior to spilling over. In addition to that the Gaunless and Oakley beck channels were dredged and cleared of debris.
Plans were afoot to build a dam at spring gardens, that holds water back only when river levels are high also build up emankments, along the route of the Gaunless between spring gardens and the back of the manor house, behind the nursery near the waterfall and along the Oakley beck, near Oakley Cross school and the bottom of Oakley Green