July 9, 2008

Nailsworth Residents’ Anger Over Work on Stream

Fish were left gasping for breath near Nailsworth when work on a dam caused the level of water in their stream to plummet.

Trout in the water course at Inchbrook were left flailing on the mud said resident Richard Williams-Allen.

"It was awful. It was just so bad," said Mr Williams-Allen who has been feeding the trout at the edge of his garden for the past 20 years.

"I went out to feed them and found the water had dropped about 14in. There were probably 20 or 30 fish, all different sizes."

Mr Williams-Allen ran his hosepipe into the stream for two days to save the fish.

He said if he'd been told about the works upstream he'd have sent the trout on downstream beforehand.

Landowners the National Trust have since apologised for any inconvenience caused to residents by their project to improve the lakes in nearby Woodchester Park.

Lesley Williams-Allen, a former mayor of Nailsworth, who with her husband runs a bed and breakfast from their home, said: "If we had known the level as going to drop right down on the bed we would have let the trout go on downstream."

National Trust head warden for South West Gloucestershire David Armstrong said upgrading of the dam in Woodchester Park had resulted in the water level dropping.

It then took longer to refill than engineers had expected, he said.

"I am sorry we weren't able to predict this interruption more accurately for residents," he said.

"The good news is that the water levels are almost back to normal and the spillway is functioning as before."

The National Trust had now completed a five year project to improve the lakes to ensure they complied with Environment Agency standards.

Mr Armstrong said residents should soon see the improvement.

"They won't be as susceptible to the sudden changes in water levels that have been a problem in the past," he said. Now the project is finished restrictions to some footpaths in Woodchester Park were lifted and everyone had free access all year round, Mr Armstrong said.

A chain of five lakes step down the steep Woodchester Park valley and are hidden from view.

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