BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘water level’

#365daysofbiking Still high

May 2nd – Chasewater’s water level is now just below the weir top in the Nine-foot Pool: But only just. Not even an inch. The continued seepage from the dam and around the penstocks in the canal outlet valve will be steady, slightly and continually draining.

It’s been dry now pretty much a month or more, and at one stage last winter it felt like the world would never be dry again. The rain was such that it became a state that just was: I continually dressed for it and it didn’t trouble me much. But by god it was relentless and grim.

I’m glad that period has passed, and at the moment I’ll take any positives from life I can find.

Chasewater remains high, but is falling slowly.

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#365daysofbiking This world of water

February 23rd – Chasewater Country Park is currently astoundingly wet. The reservoir has overtopped now and is sending a continuous deluge over the weir and down the spillway into the Crane Brook culvert.

The network of creeks and ditches across the heaths are all swamped, and pools and huge puddles are on every trail.

Even the old mine spring that normally trickles a red, rust-tinted flow of water through the marsh at the foot of the dam is flowing pure and clear through it’s gap in the trail concrete block that acts as a crossing.

This is going to take a very long, dry spell to restore to normal.

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#365daysofbiking Level pegging

November 24th – At some point between last week and this, Chasewater’s level increased and it overtopped the spillway weir, but now is sits a couple of inches below this, yet the canal valve remains closed off. How could it be so?

I remembered there is a small valve-controlled weir bypass sluice in the back of the 9-Foot embankment, and for the first time ever, it was open. I’m not altogether clear why.

Releasing water into the full canal would mean loading the Ford Brook/Tame waterway through Walsall and Birmingham via the overflow system, so releasing to the spillway would mean the water goes via the crane brook to meet the Tame near Tamworth, which would be better. I suppose using the sluice allows the dropping of the level of the main reservoir in a much more controlled fashion and creates buffer space if necessary.

It’s very unusual and I don’t think I’ve seen this approach in the seven years since Chasewater was refilled.

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#365daysofbiking So close

November 10th – Up at Chasewater to hopefully catch the beautiful sunset that never happened, it was clear the reservoir would overtop the weir this week and water would once more flow out into the spillway and Crane Brook, for the first time in a couple of years.

The authorities seem to like to let the lake fill completely every winter now – something that rarely happened previously, presumably to stress test the dam after work to strengthen it a decade ago.

Despite the wind the Nine-Foot pool was glass still and early quiet as dusk fell, maybe in anticipation of the moment when the water finally crossed over…

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#365daysofbiking Clear water rising

October 9th – A rare journey to Chasetown in the morning saw me crossing Chasewater on a decent morning.

I noticed at the Nine Foot that the water level, thanks to recent rains, is now less than 200mm off full. It’s been a coupe of years since the reservoir was this full.

I don’t know why but I always get a childish thrill from seeing the water flow down the spillway.

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April 14th – Spring came today properly, and brought with her warm sun and the general population out enjoying itself in what seems like the first temperate weather since last year…

Interested to note as I rode out through Chasewater on a bike ride to Cannock Chase and Shugborough that the canal feeder valve from the full reservoir is now open quite some way, and there’s a strong flow of water into the canal.

Either the Canal and River Trust have sorted out their argument with Staffordshire County Council, or the latter have decided unilaterally to reduce the water level in the reservoir themselves.

I noticed that at the time of observation, the main lake was still overtopping the weir at the Nine-Foot so the valves can only have been very recently opened.

Always an interesting, relaxing thing to watch.

April 23rd – I popped out late afternoon – it was very cold with a lazy, biting wind that instead of going around you, just went straight through. It was periodically sunny, but with remarkably dark, threatening skies. I headed for Chasewater and noted that the willows were coming into leaf – always a good sign – and that the valve from Chasewater had now been opened and the water level had started to drop. This seems to be coinciding with the reintroduction of cattle onto the spillway heath, so I guess the authorities want that area to dry out in readiness.

I interrupted a small drama as I crossed Catshill Junction on my  way back to Brownhills – the puss clearly fancied a little duck for supper, but was clearly out of luck – but if looks could kill… 

March 6th – Chasewater is very nearly, almost but not quite full now. I reckon another week to ten days if we have a mild spell of rain.

The authorities seem to let the reservoir overflow once every year or so. Perhaps they’re stress-testing the dam. 

February 21st – Another grim, grey and periodically wet day that had started reasonably well, but by the time I was able to escape, had descended into grey intemperance. I headed out to Chasewater and found the water level still rising, but the place was largely deserted and the lake very choppy indeed. This place was hostile today.

The only bright thing here was the gorse, which is strongly in flower all around the park. Such vivid, bright yellow. A real joy.

January 31st – Returning via Chasewater, the wind was building up and conditions were choppy. In many ways, the country park is at it’s best on days like this as you realise just how harsh such a wide open space can be.

I noted that the reservoir is about 150-180mm off full now (6-7 inches). This is interesting, as the reservoir hasn’t overtopped for a couple of years now, and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s allowed to again. One thing is for certain, though: the capacity used up by local brooks and natural drains filling up the reservoir has certainly relieved pressure on the Rivers Tame and Trent, which would have taken the burden had Chasewater overflowed – perhaps this demonstrates the sense of going into winter with a relatively low level.

The valves are currently still close and I watch with interest.