Monday, 9 April 2012

water water everywhere

Panic set in last week when we thought the bunkhouse spring had dried up!

This does happen most years but only for a brief spell during the summer usually. Bizarrely it seems to coincide to within 48hours of the drying up of a stream several miles away that I cross most days on my dog walk, as this stream is still trickling along Ok I thought it worth a bit more investigation. Getting to the source of the bunkhouse water is easier said that done. It is in a small combe high above the centre and 300m or so to the north. There is no footpath to it so its a case firstly of vaulting a barbed wire fence that is 6" higher than my inside leg measurement then battling through fallen trees and slippery slopes for ten minutes before arriving at the hidden gully and the spring.

When the centre was built the spring was tamed by means of three sided stonework wall to form a catchment tank. This is topped with a concrete 'roof' with a steel manhole cover for access. Looking inside you see the crystal clear water trickling out of the stone and into the clay lined tank. From here a plastic pipe takes the water down to the bunkhouse. The problem was the clay lining had failed slightly meaning the water level had dropped to below the intake pipe level. A quick redistribution of clay saw the water level rising again. For good measure I found some heavy stones and used them to weigh the intake pipe down a bit further.

The spring drying up is a constant worry over the summer so we have had an idea. We are looking to get a 1000litre tank to store water in the woods near the spring. This will hold a few days worth of water for the centre and hopefully even with the spring running at a trickle it will have time to replenish between groups and overnight.

Judging by the amount of water falling on Exmoor today I reckon we'll be alright waterwise for a day or two now...

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