About five years ago we were asked to carry out all of the modifications required to an existing fishing lake and a series of stew ponds at Timsbury near Southampton to form the Manned Model Training Facility for Southampton University.
This new development was to provide a safe environment for training senior deck officers and pilots, to give them experience of close quarter manoeuvring and berthing large oil tankers, ferries and similar ships
The training programme uses scale model ships of 9m or 10m long operating on an inland lake to simulate the behaviour of real, 350m long, 300,000 tonne vessels. This is a unique facility in the UK and we were delighted to be asked to help with its construction.
Morgan Sindall were the main contractors and after a lot of discussion and design meetings our work started with widening the footpath through the undergrowth to create a vehicle access to the lake. We then launched pontoons and floating plant to open up a passage between the various separate water bodies, we desilted deep water channels and dug a narrow canal around the top of the lake.
Concrete and steel retaining walls were designed and installed, bio engineering was completed, and different types of jetties and docks were manufactured, some were pontoons moored on tubular piles, others had either solid or pierced underwater profiles to simulate the different types of harbour wall construction that the mariners would encounter.
While we did the lake works, the main contractor built the training facilities, workshops and classrooms.
It was an interesting and successful scheme that tested our ingenuity and because of the poor access and soft ground, it needed innovative approaches to overcome problems of construction.
Below is a link to the training facility website and a youtube video of the lake and its operation, hope you enjoy watching.