Forge Dam Sheffield: Landslip on footpath at site of restoration project

A landslip on the footpath next to the site of the Forge Dam restoration may have been caused by rotting tree roots.

Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 3:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 3:46 pm
The footpath alongside the work site at Forge Dam has been closed off since the landslip occurred.
The footpath alongside the work site at Forge Dam has been closed off since the landslip occurred.

The footpath to the north side of Forge Dam millpond has been closed in the interest of public safety after part of the path collapsed in a landslip on February 8.

Work is taking place at the site, with a fleet of excavators desilting the 250 year old dam, and this work revealed a cavity underneath the public footpath.

Workers notified Sheffield Council and suggested that the cavity may have been caused by tree roots blocking a land drain, causing water to build up behind the dam wall.

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Ann Lesage, Chair of Friends of Porter Valley, said: “Unfortunately the path obviously has a long standing hidden cavity. I had been standing on it an hour or two before it had fallen in.

"There were trees cut down many years ago, and tree roots may have caused the cavity but we don’t really know. The silt in the water will have held the wall up. I am hoping there are no other cavities we don’t know about.

The work taking place at Forge Dam is the first major project at the site in 30 years and involves removing thousands of tonnes of silt from the dam. It is a green project, intended to improve the look of the dam as well as the biodiversity of the location.

“It will be okay. I have a new motto, you measure your success by the number of obstacles you managed to deal with on the way to it. So far they had been minor things like the rain over Christmas and last week.

“Nobody thought this would be absolutely straightforward. It’s an environmental project and it is a very old structure. The excavators are still doing their work. They are working very fast and very hard.

“We are waiting for information about how to repair the dam and keep an eye on the rest of it.”

Contractors were called out on February 8 to assess the situation. The path will remain closed until appropriate repairs have been carried out and members of the public are asked to observe path closed signs.