Repairing the dams in Fishpool Valley

Two members of staff at Croft Castle look out over the dam works in Fishpool Valley

We've begun vital repair work to the dams and spillways in Fishpool Valley as part of our ambitious landscape restoration project. Read on to discover more about our work and what you can expect to see on your next visit.

From July to October 2018, contractors carried out vital repair work to the first dam at the bottom of Fishpool Valley. Thanks to our supporters, water now flows down the restored spillway and it's remarkable to once again hear the sounds of running water in the valley. Take a look on your next visit and even walk across the new bridge, which allows you an up-close view of the newly restored dam.

The first completed dam and spillway in Fishpool Valley; take a look on your next visit
The completed dam at the bottom of Fishpool Valley at Croft Castle in Herefordshire
The first completed dam and spillway in Fishpool Valley; take a look on your next visit

Jason Wood, our ranger, is delighted that this much-needed work has started: ‘Thanks to our supporters, we’re not only able to protect these historic structures, we’re also conserving a habitat for endangered species and safeguarding the dams against future breaches.’ This work simply wouldn’t be possible without the help of our supporters; everyone who’s joined, visited, donated and volunteered has enabled this project to take place.    

Dam repairs are well underway in Fishpool Valley
Dam 1 in Fishpool Valley midway through repair works
Dam repairs are well underway in Fishpool Valley

Fishpool Valley may well feel busier than normal during repair works. Dams 6 and 7 further up the valley will be repaired and restored from July to October 2019.

A closer look at the repair works to the first dam and spillway
A closer look at the repair works underway on Dam 1 in Fishpool Valley
A closer look at the repair works to the first dam and spillway

Floods of recent years have caused quite catastrophic failure to two of the dams, one pool has emptied completely and others are affected by various natural impacts. While some of the dams are now funded, each of these medieval earthworks cost between £30,000 and £200,000 to repair and we continue to seek donations to support this vital conservation work.

A view through the trees to one of the pools in Fishpool Valley
A view through the trees to one of the pools in Fishpool Valley, Croft Castle
A view through the trees to one of the pools in Fishpool Valley

Much of the landscape design of Fishpool Valley was undertaken at the end of the eighteenth century when the Picturesque movement was beginning to influence the aristocracy of Herefordshire. The designers originally intended for visitors to have an immersive, sensory experience through the clever manipulation of water. Sluices, spillways and stop-logs held back and released water, creating waterfalls and cascades between the streams and pools, with both practical use and aesthetically pleasing design. The failure of these controls and leaking pools mean that the beautiful effects have been lost. However, you will soon be able to immerse yourself in the valley as it was previously experienced once repair work has been completed.