We have a leaky dam at Burrator! Thankfully, not the Burrator Dam itself, but specially constructed leaky dams that are intentional and beneficial.

Our volunteers have been busy through March thinning out our wet woodlands and using the coppiced wood to make dams in a small area of peaty acid flushes.

Coppicing is a woodland management technique that dates back to the Stone Age. By cutting a tree at the base, new shoots will re-grow into many thin trunks. Whilst it may seem initially dramatic, the coppiced trees can have a longer lifespan, as well as allow more light to the woodland floor to allow species such as bluebells and wood anemones to thrive.

The coppiced willow has not gone to waste and has been put to a very important use: the creation of leaky dams. Leaky dams are created by laying the willow in the peaty acid flushes, which creates new wetland habitats and will improve the habitat for specialist flowers, orchids, birds, and insects. Leaky dams are also a fantastic way to naturally manage flooding, since they slow the run-off of rainwater during flash flooding events. They will also slow the flow of water into the reservoir, so the water lasts longer in dry spells.

We would like to say a big thank you to our volunteers’ hard work in creating these dams. Since the dams were created, we have seen frogspawn already and we are looking forward to seeing other species begin to call this habitat home! 

If you would like to find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please visit our volunteering page

Keep an eye on our What's On page and social media for upcoming dates.

This work is part of South West Water’s Green Recovery project, aiming to improve biodiversity throughout the catchment of Burrator Reservoir, and part of the wider Upstream Thinking project.