Monday, 1 April 2013

Gartmorn Dam Main Facts and Brief History

Known locally as the dam artificial body of water which was created by the 6th Earl of Mar in 1713 to provide water power for pumping the coal mines in the vicinity. Up to 17 water wheels were used to move and pump the water.

A weir was built on the Black Devon river at Forestmill and a lade aqueduct dug out 2 miles to the marshy hollow that was then Gartmorn.

 An earthen dam held back the water providing a constant supply for Sauchie Pumps. Once this Dam was full it was flushed through a pipe system and with the flow of water silt which had built up in Alloa Harbour was removed making it easy for Ships to Dock in Alloa. Thus the water went full cycle and was completely regenerated.

The tail race down to the forth from the Gartmorn Dam together with the flow from local burns provided power for Alloa industries such as Tobacco snuff and corn grinding which were later replaced by distilling brewing and spinning. Before steam power took over in the 1860’s the tail race powered up to three colliery engines and 9 mills

In the early 19th Century Alloa grew in population and more demand was needed for water. In 1820 the Earl of Mar granted the Burgh the right to extract water from the tail race in 1891 the Alloa water act was passed and the reservoir was in enlarged and filter station was built the dam was then able to supply to the growing pop and local industry and did so for the next 100 years

Heritage sites
  • Pump House 1891 sandstone building housed the engines which pumped water to the filter beds used as a visitor centre from 1980-96
  • Sunken Gardens  This area occupies the site of the former filter beds
  • Run-Rig system this is thought to be the origin of the regular bumps in the south shore path dating back before dam was built
  • Bings these are located on south shore and are the remains of mines thought to have closed in 1870
  • Sherriffyards Colliery Site The colliery Site operated between the late 1800’s until 1921
  • North Shore Path this path follows the route of the former mineral railway
  • Fishing Brown Trout Rainbow Trout  and occasional pike are stocked in the dam
  • Cowpark wood dates from 18th Century located at North of Main Access road
  • The Country park was designated in 1982 and was initially formed around the dam which was created for industry  in 18th century
  • The study area is located in an area with Coal measures, sandstone and shale bedrock overlaid with a deep superficial layer of boulder clay. Soils around the dam are predominately brown forest soils of poor drainage mixed with grey alluvial soil of equally poor drainage
  • The dam area was first designated as an SSSI in 1971 for its importance of overwintering wildfowl and again in 1986 for the diversity of pondweed population
  • The SSSI was renotified under The Nature Conservation (Scotland)Act on the 11th March 2011 for the following features
  • Freshwater Habitats Eutrophic Loch and Fens Open water Transition fen

Key bird species include Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Teal, Widgeon, Tufted Duck pochard and goldeneye  Bobby’s Bank  ottter holts have also been constructed but of yet no breeding success Sand martin 

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