Three Year Burrator Heritage Project Reaches Its End



South West Lakes Trust’s three year Burrator Historic and Natural Environment Project will soon be reaching an end. The concept for the project began in 2008 followed by support from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2012 to develop it to fruition. On securing further Heritage Lottery investment the project was launched in July 2013 with the appointment of Emily Cannon as Heritage Learning Officer to lead the work.

The project has enabled the charity to restore a 100 year old former forestry building into the Burrator Discovery Centre, which comprises an exhibition about the history of the reservoir, classroom and site office. 1.5km of easy access trails have been created in the Arboretum, along with nature marker posts, seating and a re-strengthened boardwalk and consolidation work has been carried out to two important ruins, Lowery Barn and Longstone Manor. The project has also resulted in the creation of on-site interpretation to help visitors navigate their way around Burrator Reservoir and its surrounding catchment, with artistic illustrations of how several ruins looked in their heyday.



In addition to this South West Lakes Trust have designed and developed a programme of activities and events that have engaged both residents and those visiting the area to visit for the first time to learn more about Burrator’s unique heritage and natural environment and get involved in looking after it for the future. The project provided the opportunity for people who are less confident about exploring the countryside to give it a go, with many now repeat visitors!

Over the three years the project, with the help of a brilliant team of volunteers, supporters and partner organisations, has supported 50 work experience students, delivered 88 school visits, provided 87 public events including evening talks, guided walks, themed exhibitions, monthly family wildlife watch sessions and seasonal events, 19 rural skills training days and, most importantly, has enabled 3492 volunteer days to take place, which is absolutely amazing!

Emily Cannon, Burrator Heritage Learning Officer, said “I would like to thank all of our funders; South West Water, Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffaward, Dartmoor Sustainable Development Fund and West Devon Borough Council for helping this project become a reality. I would also like to thank everyone who has engaged in, and supported, the project in so many different ways, without which it wouldn’t have been possible.”

Colin Vallance, the Trusts Heritage and Environment Director, commented “The project has been a great success by significantly protecting the environment and heritage but what has been absolutely outstanding is the level of engagement and the real impact the project has had on so many people.” Colin added “The voluntary contribution has been amazing, exceeding all expectations and we are so grateful to everyone who has worked so hard and contributed to the success of the project.”


The Trust invites you to join us for our end of project event on 22 September (1.00pm – 6.30pm) to see what has been accomplished. This event will then be followed by a bat walk. There is no need to book, just pop in at a time that’s convenient for you.

There will also be some free activities to try out such as cooking in the new cob oven, testing out your woodwork skills, toasting marshmallows over the fire and learning about the ‘bats of Burrator’ if you attend the bat walk. Or you can just enjoy some cake and find out what our future plans are!

If you would like to find out more please pop in to the Burrator Discovery Centre (PL20 6PE), call 01822 855700 or email: