The restored lake at Mells Park

A triumphant Landscape Restoration at Mells Park in Somerset

One of the largest restoration projects ever undertaken by Kingcombe Aquacare, Mells Park presented us with a wide range of challenges.

Client: Private Client

Location: Mells Park, Somerset

Description of Contract:

Mells Park boasts two large lakes, both about three hectares in size and both sitting on-line with the River Mells itself. Neither lake had enjoyed any maintenance since probably the First World War, when most of the estate staff went off to fight, and never came back.

As a result, each lake was heavily silted up from the material which had been deposited in them by the river, so much so that 90% of the top lake had become lost in a willow carr which had established on the lake area, with almost the same on the lake below.

Furthermore, the lower lake was completely surrounded by an environmentally sensitive woodland, making access with heavy plant and equipment a serious issue.

To compound matters even further, both dams leaked to some degree and failed to meet the requirements of the Reservoirs Act.

Working closely with the Panel AR engineer, Kingcombe devised a plan to completely restore both lakes to their original state. The top lake was cleared of timber and then completely desilted using excavation and haulage to a disposal site nearby on the estate. Over 70,000m3 was removed in this fashion and sensitively landscaped into the surrounding parkland, with approval from the Environment Agency negotiated by Kingcombe.

The lower lake was cleaned out by pumping the silt through bespoke Kingcombe mascerator hoppers and along a pipeline which carried the 40,000m3 material 1.5 miles and up over 100m in height to a second disposal area, where we had created settlement lagoons to receive it. Once this material had dried out, the bunds and silt were bulldozed and evenly spread, making this now one of the most productive fields on the estate!

Finally, both dams were completely restored to Reservoirs Act standard, requiring extensive stonework and modelling to replicate as closely as possible what had originally been there, but in a manner which met with the approval of the Panel AR engineer. All this work was carried out with the river continuing to flow through both lakes throughout the project.

The whole project was completed by Kingcombe without a single cautionary word from the Environment Agency or any complaint from downstream riparian owners, which in itself was something of a triumph. Just as importantly, Kingcombe achieved these results within the budgets that had originally been agreed with the client.

Hopefully, the lakes at Mells Park have now been saved for the next 100 years.

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