The low water level in Forge Dam, bridle path gate issues and playground lack of progress have dominated social media and email traffic these last 3 weeks ….. so here is a roundup to try and explain everything that is happening. And also to reassure people that FoPV has not switched off interest in the Forge Dam area !
We have several Valley projects actively being pursued, including at Forge Dam, but Council officers are very much under pressure at the moment because of absences and we are sometimes having to wait patiently for action.
We have asked people to write to the Council direct when those officers, and only officers, can deal, but they may also experience delays.
But certainly things have moved on these fronts:
The iconic Forge Dam playground slide developed a wide split in the metal at the very top, on the bend last week ……. perhaps because of the heat…… but it was repaired by the Council playground team within a few days. Thanks Playgrounds team!
FoPV now has about £20,000 in the Forge Dam playground improvement fund and has asked the department to cost a number of possible improvements that could be funded immediately. We may have a little while to wait because of staff shortages but we are hopeful that the main unit can be professionally cleaned and painted afresh; and that some disability access improvements can be introduced. We are mindful that not all disabilities are visible.
The low level of water in the millpond has worried many of us . It looks alright when the dam is full but far from what we expected when the level has fallen a foot or more. One reason of course is the lack of rain ……. although this week’s deluge has rapidly raised the level again and today it looks great again! The Council is looking at options for controlling the flow of the Porter Brook at the spillway. At present there is no penstock to limit the flow when there is no rain. You probably remember concern about Wire Mill Dam in 2021 and 2022 when the summers were exceptionally dry? Bowsers were needed there to save the fish. At least now the brook is flowing freely and keeping that millpond habitable. I’m following the literature on climate change and keeping in touch with other concerned organisations but maybe we are seeing it for real? FoPV is signed up to the National Trust’s Fit for the Future and the Sheffield Nature Recovery initiative.
The bridlepath exit onto Quiet Lane has caused concern to users because someone cut off the chain and padlock intended to hold a gate open: 2 instances of criminal damage in a matter of a few days. Signs to stop “wild “car parking there have gone up and the Council also removed the gate altogether temporarily ……it had been agreed at a local site meeting last year that the gate should be chained back to allow riders safe passage while further thought was given to a permanent solution. The Council is working on the idea of fresh fencing, an entry set back from Quiet Lane to improve the safety for all bridlepath users, appropriate horse friendly options, plus tree planting.
FoPV conservation volunteers have not worked in vain: The seeding done last year above the Forge Dam is now coming through and at last it has had rain! Whips planted to replace the lost hedge sections on the bridlepath have clearly taken. And detritus was unearthed and removed on 8 June …… plus the fly tipped tyres up the brook! (We are now watching more recent seeding on 2 damaged verges in Whiteley Wood /Bingham Park and intend to repeat this kind of remedial work throughout the valley over time) Ann le Sage