SPECIALIST divers will be entering a famous lake in the autumn to fix a valve in its dam.
The Canal and River Trust is spending around £700,000 to have the dam valve replaced and moved at Rudyard Lake, near Leek.
Rudyard Lake, pictured, which is actually a reservoir that was designed by John Rennie to feed the Caldon Canal, was built in 1797.
The reservoir has been drained to lower levels very gradually since March for the works to be carried out in September.
Stephen Hardy, communications manager at the trust, said the project being carried out at Rudyard Lake is “interesting and rather technical”.
He added: “In a nutshell, the main works will be to install a new valve which would give us more control over the water levels in the reservoir.
“The reservoir is obviously a couple of hundred years old so this project is all about installing a modern, hydraulic valve to bring it into the 21st century.
While the works are taking place we are also taking the opportunity to fix some leaks on some of the channels leading to the reservoir to make them more waterefficient.
“We are also installing a safety boom across the spillway to make sure boats don’t get washed down there in times of floods."
Rudyard Lake attracts thousands of visitors each year and offers a range of water based activities, as well as a cafe.
The valve is one of three installed in the late 1980s.
Ray Perry, of the Rudyard Lake League of Friends, said: “The valve which is being replaced has not been performing correctly for a number of years. It is one of three that is used to control the flow of water.
“The valve is around a quarter of a metre by a metre in size and runs on slides. However, they will be replacing it with a new hydraulic and vertical one.
“It is great that they can get divers to go in the water and do this work – otherwise a temporary dam would have had to be installed for the work to be carried out.
“We have been told that it will take around 14 days to complete the work.
“We hope that there will be no disruption to activities on the lake.
“In fact the fishermen are having a hayday lately due to the low levels of water and being able to have easier access to the sides of the lake.
“As the water level has been reduced, we are keeping an eye on the wildlife.
“There is the same amount of fish, but in a smaller area.”