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8348 060 Worsbrough Resevoir 22 09 2023
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Worsbrough Reservoir Banking

Framework: SCAPE Civil Engineering

Sector: Infrastructure

Project Value: £2.4 million

Social Value Delivery: £147k

Time predictability during construction: 100%

"The work was carried out quickly and efficiently, causing as little disruption to visitors and the local wildlife as possible. We’re delighted that additional work to improve accessibility has been included as part of the project."

Councillor Robin Franklin

Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration & Culture

The Worsbrough Reservoir reopened this year after a £2.4 million investment to enhance the visitor attraction, which included significant improvements to the reservoir.

The reservoir is a popular spot for local anglers and visitors, so it was important to replace the existing Fisherman's platform due to concerns about its stability and safety. To address this, the majority of the platform was removed and replaced with rock mattresses to create a new platform, making it durable for years to come.

The project was awarded to Balfour Beatty by the Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council via the SCAPE Civil Engineering framework. As part of this, Balfour Beatty worked with the WSP to ensure that the design incorporated preferred methodologies, minimising construction issues and the need for future changes in the life cycle.

Technical Challenge

The Worsbrough Reservoir is situated 5 miles south of Barnsley and is used exclusively for recreational purposes. It is an essential ecological asset and is located next to a country park, including a section known as "the shallows." The north bank has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

At the water's edge, the reservoir basin is mostly made up of a low stone wall. This wall was built on a shallow concrete footing, which has been undermined by wave erosion, causing the wall to become unstable.

In some areas, the path has been undermined, leading to visible sinkholes. The necessary repairs involve replacing approximately 500m of the wall with rock mattresses and repairing the footpaths.

Due to challenges with the water level, the original design of the rock armor had to be revised. The Salix's Rock Mattress, which had been previously used in waterways, had never been utilised to construct a wall with such precise level tolerance that was necessary to make the platform usable.

Working with the supplier Salix RW, they assisted in coming up with a solution that provided confidence in the proposed plan. Site work then began, and we all worked together to overcome challenges such as greater settlement of the mattress than expected.

During the summer, there is a higher risk of algae, which can damage the retaining walls and detract from the reservoir’s attractiveness. Four bales of barley straw were installed in the reservoir to combat this. Barley straw bales are a natural way to prevent the growth of algae. Using a telehandler, the barley straw bales were lifted into the reservoir, utilising the tracks created in the reservoir for the work.

The fishermen are the key stakeholders as the reservoir is used primarily for recreational purposes.

During the summer, it was key to create shade for the fish. Sunlight can easily penetrate shallow water, so the shade was intended to help cool down the water and maintain oxygen levels. To achieve this, pipe lagging, and coil matting were combined to create four 10m x 40m shades, which were then floated into the reservoir. Additionally, the shade matting inadvertently created spawning areas for the fish.


Supplier spend with SMEs


Local labour within 20-miles


Client satisfaction

In collaboration with:

Case Study Slider Bar Balfour Beatty v2 191106 122015
SCAPE Scotland Civil Engineering

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