Forge Dam renovation: excavators move in to remove tonnes of silt from Sheffield park

Regeneration work at a Sheffield park is taking place this month, with six excavators on site removing thousands of tonnes of silt.

Friday, 21st January 2022, 1:41 pm

Six excavators were at Forge Dam yesterday after delays caused by bad weather in December, and were working to desilt the dam as part of the first major renovation work in over 30 years.

Silt is being removed from the dam in lorry loads, with 250 loads, or 5,000 tonnes of silt expected to be removed by the end of the operation funded by Friends of Porter Valley and a Defra grant.

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Forge Dam restoration.

The silt is being transported to Beighton landfill where it will be used to cover the waste, making use of the green material that the Friends of Porter Valley are removing.

Ann LeSage, Chairman of the Friends of Porter Valley, said: “Some of us have been working for about nine years to raise money for this.

"The Friends of Porter Valley raised £260,000 and the Defra green recovery grant was £247,700.

"It will be a bit untidy for a few months.

Ann LeSage, Chair of Friends of Porter Valley, and Claire Watts, of Sheffield Council.

"But eventually you will see more species and more variety of trees and plants. It will have an open body of water.

“Before we started the site was in need of work.

"The dam was just becoming land, it was basically a swamp. It is an old industrial site. 250 years ago the whole of this valley would have been clanging away, with forgers, steel workers, cutlery works.

"Thomas Boulsover (inventor of Sheffield plate) built the dam and it was part of his empire in the valley. It is an important part of Sheffield heritage.”

Six excavators were in use at Forge Dam last week to remove silt.

The desilting is expected to be completed by the end of January and repair to paths will take place in the following weeks.

Claire Watts, who works for Sheffield Council, said that the renovation at Forge Dam should provide a long-term solution to the dam silting up.

She said: “We can’t keep having to desilt every 30 years.

Before the restoration began, Ann LeSage said Forge Dam looked like a swamp.

"We hope this is a sustainable solution. The river will come directly into the dam, it will take the full force of the river.

"When they have finished drying out the silt, a naturalised riverbank will be created within the pond itself. It is pretty innovative and experimental.”