Saturday, 9 July 2011

Leeming Reservoir Valve Tower

For such a long time I've been curious about the valve towers on many of the reservoirs in the Watershed Landscape area.  They come in lots of different styles, some like cute little bandstands or gazebos such as this one at Leeming Reservoir and others like castles, chapels, watchtowers and prisons.

I always wondered what criteria governed their design aesthetics - what was the motivation for making them ornate or not and what exactly are they there for. I guess their function is something to do with controlling the water outflow and I like to imagine maybe a giant sink plug inside or some kind of Heath Robinson whirring mechanism.

Of course the enticing little bridges that connect them to the shore are strictly out of bounds, with locks and bolts and razor wire to keep you out.  Being forbidden only serves to make them more appealing to me and I really want to see whats inside!

All being well I'll get my wish on Monday when I've got permission from Yorkshire Water to accompany an engineer over the water into Leeming.  I feel childishly excited at the prospect and hope for kindly weather and a co-operative camera.


  1. When you find out will you post on here and let us know. I've often wondered what's in them too.


  2. Hi Bob, if you look on the posts dated 11th and 13th July there are photos from inside this valve tower. I was really surprised that the floor was just a grating through which you could see the reservoir water. There was a tiny electrical gizmo of some kind but mainly nothing! In the centre a huge pipe leads down, all the way under the dam to the outlet. I think some of the other towers must have more stuff in them because if you go past Lower Laithe Reservoir near Stanbury, you can see machinery through the windows.

  3. It's taken me a long time to get back here, but thanks. Very interesting.

    How well I know Widdop reservoir having driven past it more times than I can remember and walked around it and sat and looked at the scene during every type of weather Widdop Moor has to offer.

    I like the woodcuts.