Frensham Little Pond’s dam renovation

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Our dam is very old – the original structure was built in 1246 by the monks of Waverley Abbey, near Farnham.

Why is the work needed?

The pond has a capacity of 240,000 cubic metres and is designated as a reservoir under the Reservoirs Act 1975. It has to be inspected regularly by an engineer who is a member of the All Reservoirs Panel.

In January 2010 an inspection found defects in the masonry structure of the dam and leaks around the weir and spillway. The Environment Agency, which is an enforcing authority, reported that repairs had to be carried out in the interest of health and safety.

First things first – our wildlife

Frensham Little Pond is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation. The first task in this project was to make sure that the renovation would not damage our wildlife. A Habitat Regulations Assessment was carried out, followed by a variety of habitat surveys looking at bats, reptiles, water voles, birds, fish and amphibians as well as trees and rare scarce botanical species.

Our renovation project has received planning approval and consent from the Environment Agency.

When and who will be doing the work?

The work started on the dam on 27 August and will last for about 12 weeks. The engineer is Alan Brown from Stillwater Associates and the main contractor is Webb UK Ltd.

Work to be done

  • Repairs and re-pointing of the masonry structure including the feature arch. The dam is an earth embankment with a wall providing protection against water erosion.
  • Gaps in the weir’s masonry will be grouted by injecting resin into holes drilled in the masonry. This will be carried out by a specialist contractor.
  • The spillway below the weir is being replaced by a U-shaped concrete spilling basin or channel. Ground levels either side of the spillway will be raised to reduce seepage. A new 1.5m-wide pedestrian bridge will be built over the new spillway.
  • The embankment and paths will be landscaped with soil taken from elsewhere on site to make up the ground to the new levels. 

For more detailed information on the dam, download Stillwater Associates’ detailed architectural drawings: sheet 1 and sheet 2 (PDFs).

Will I still be able to walk around the pond?

Yes, but the footpath that runs behind the weir has been diverted. We’re afraid that you’ll not be able to see the work taking place because of this diversion.

We’ll be keeping you up to date with this exciting project over the coming weeks...

Martin Archer MCIOB
Building Surveyor, London & South East