ENGINEERS are on site at Cannop to carry out a ground investigation which will help determine the future of the ponds.

Forestry England says works which started on Monday (July 3) will help them understand the geological make-up of Upper and Lower Cannop dams, and the immediate surrounding area.

Two small drilling rigs are on site to take core samples from the dams, and a floating pontoon has been deployed to explore the depth and makeup of silt in the ponds.

A convoy of vehicles, reams of equipment and teams of workmen were stationed around the lower pond - in amongst a few disgruntled fishermen - on Tuesday (July 4) as workers headed out onto the pontoon.

The ground investigation will see core samples taken by drilling through the dam wall and down to the bedrock.

The bore holes will be approximately six inches wide, and will be filled in afterwards so as not to affect the integrity of the existing dams. 

These tests will reveal what kind of ground is underneath the dams, and where the original ground level would have been. 

The tests will also show exactly what materials were used to construct the dams and will provide more evidence on their current condition.

Those works were due to begin in June but were delayed.

Other works to maintain the ponds in the short term have been completed in the last few weeks, with the water levels of the upper pond having been lowered using pumps so that the spillway could be inspected and its masonry repointed.

FE says this was not part of the ongoing situation concerning the future of the ponds.

This week’s investigation is being carried out by Gloucester-based Geotechnical Engineering Ltd.

Alongside the drilling, silt samples will be collected from the reservoirs.

A floating pontoon will be used to look at the depth of the  silt and what it is made of, including any possible contamination. 

Forestry England says all options for the future of the ponds will require water levels to be lowered at some stage.

The results of this work will help determine what kinds of mitigation will be needed to prevent the spread of this silt and ensure any historical industrial pollution is not disturbed.

Kevin Stannard, Deputy Surveyor for Forestry England, said: “We know that drilling works at Cannop Ponds may be worrying for some people, but this work is essential for us to gain a better understanding of the dam structures.