A stunning new walking route and bridge has been unveiled after Welsh Water completed major works to “retire” a Powys reservoir to its Victorian-era status.
The not-for-profit water company invested more than £5 million to restore Lower Neuadd to its original state from Victorian times, a project which took 18 months to complete.
The company did the work in partnership with Skanska UK and Arup, as the reservoir was no longer needed as a water resource. The project looked to modify the existing dam to allow the water to flow naturally through the valley.
As part of this project, a public footpath and new bridge were installed to allow locals and visitors to continue enjoying the walking area – with the existing footpath diverted while the work was carried out.
Any area where work was carried out – including the work to the dam – was restored using recycled materials to ensure the beauty of the local area was maintained and provided an improved natural ecological habitat. This included a total of 21 nesting boxes for bird, bats and owls created from recycled timber to help support local biodiversity.
Over the course of the project, the company reduced its waste output by reusing more than 61,917 tonnes of material from the dam. This recyclable material was used to backfill the reservoir and create an area for new landscaping and habitat creation.
The site compound was powered using a hybrid generator which contributed towards a 43% carbon saving from fuel. Along with significantly reducing the amount of topsoil for landscaping and vehicle movements to and from the site, a total of 75% carbon savings were made which forms part of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water’s commitment to be carbon net zero by 2050.
Dai Powell, a member of the Walking the Brecon Beacons Group, said:
“I was invited up to have a look around before the path was opened and I was really impressed with the work that was done. It’s going to be amazing next year when the grass grows, and trees are planted. Welsh Water should be proud of what they have achieved by putting it back to the way it should be.”
The company worked closely with Powys County Council and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to make sure disruption to local wildlife and habitats was kept to a minimum while work was carried out.
Nick Parkin, Welsh Water’s Head of Dam Safety, said:
“Over the past 18 months our team have been working hard to restore Lower Neuadd Reservoir to its natural state and allowing the water to run through the valley, just as it did before the dam was build back in 1884.
“Welsh Water is committed to reducing the impact we have on the environment and this project is a great example of how we can find innovative ways to reuse our waste to create environmental benefits and carbon savings.”
“We’d like to thank the nearby community for bearing with us while we completed this work, which has allowed us to create a brand-new walking opportunities for the community to continue enjoying during this difficult time.”