Enjoy Dartmoor's Nature
Among its many attractions, Dartmoor’s reservoirs stand out as both essential water sources and popular recreational destinations for locals and tourists alike. These reservoirs, including Meldon, Tottiford, Burrator, Fernworthy, Trenchford, Kennick, Roadford, and Venford, hold not only water but also stories of human ingenuity, conservation efforts, and outdoor adventures.
Meldon Reservoir, nestled on the western fringe of Dartmoor, is one of the oldest of its kind in the region. Constructed in the early 1970s, it was designed to supply water to the city of Exeter and the surrounding areas. Meldon’s unique feature is its dam, which is often referred to as a “concrete cathedral” due to its grand architectural design. The reservoir and the surrounding Meldon Viaduct offer breathtaking vistas and opportunities for hiking and birdwatching.
Tottiford and Trenchford Reservoirs are twin reservoirs that supply water to the nearby town of Bovey Tracey. The area around these reservoirs is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), as it provides habitats for various wildlife species, including birds, insects, and aquatic life. The serene landscapes and tranquil waters make Tottiford and Trenchford Reservoirs a perfect spot for nature enthusiasts and anglers.
Burrator Reservoir, located near the village of Yelverton, is not only a vital water source for Plymouth but also a beloved recreational space. Its rich history dates back to the late 19th century when it was built to supply water to the expanding city. With its wooded valleys, open moorland, and a diverse range of flora and fauna, Burrator has become a hub for outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, fishing, and even educational programs.
Fernworthy Reservoir, surrounded by a mix of coniferous and deciduous woodlands, is known for its enchanting landscapes and archaeological significance. The reservoir was created in the mid-20th century, and its shores are dotted with ancient stone circles and hut circles, offering a glimpse into Dartmoor’s prehistoric past. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy leisurely walks, picnics, and birdwatching in this captivating setting.
Kennick Reservoir, situated in the Teign Valley, is part of a network of reservoirs that collectively provide drinking water and flood management for the region. Kennick is particularly popular for water sports like kayaking and trout fishing. The peaceful surroundings and well-maintained facilities attract both families and adventure seekers.
Roadford Reservoir, the largest inland water body in the southwest of England, plays a crucial role in safeguarding water supplies and supporting biodiversity. With its diverse habitats, the reservoir is a haven for wildlife, and it offers opportunities for sailing, windsurfing, and angling. The Roadford Lake Outdoor and Active Centre provides equipment rental and guidance for a range of water-based activities.
Venford Reservoir, located in the heart of Dartmoor, is a hidden gem surrounded by woodland and heather-clad moorland. Its relatively small size compared to other reservoirs adds to its intimate and peaceful atmosphere. Venford is a popular spot for leisurely walks, picnics, and photography, allowing visitors to connect with nature in a serene environment.
In conclusion, Dartmoor’s reservoirs are not just functional water bodies but also integral components of the region’s identity, history, and ecology. Each reservoir has its own unique charm, offering visitors the chance to engage in various recreational activities while immersing themselves in the breathtaking landscapes and the rich cultural heritage of Dartmoor. These reservoirs stand as testaments to the harmonious coexistence of human needs and the preservation of natural beauty.