Burrator Reservoir is a beautiful spot set
in Dartmoor National Park close to the villages of Sheepstor
and Meavy. It is surrounded by mixed woodland which sharply contrasts
with the open moor and the rugged Dartmoor tors which overlook it. It
is a very popular spot with many people visiting it to walk or cycle around
its 3.6 miles circumference. It has a wealth of footpaths and bridleways
and many of the paths lead onto the open moor making it a popular starting
point for hikers. Around the reservoir are ruins of abandoned farms, evidence
of tin working, the remains of the Princetown Railway, both Devonport
and Drakes leats plus cists, cairns and prehistoric settlements. The area
also has a superb range of flora and fauna.
The reservoir itself is formed by two dams; the main Burrator Dam is built
across the River Meavy at the Burrator
Gorge at the south-west end, the small Sheepstor Dam is built on a dividing
ridge between the Meavy and Sheepstor Brook at the south-eastern end.
The main dam is constructed of concrete faced with dressed granite and
the smaller dam is formed by an earth embankment with a core wall of puddled
clay above the original ground level and a concrete section below ground.
It was completed in 1898, and the reservoir was expanded in 1929 by raising
the height of both dams by 10 feet giving it a maximum capacity of 1,026
million gallons. The reservoir is fed by the River
Meavy, Newleycombe Lake, the Narrator
Brook and the excess water from Devonport Leat (which supplies the
Dousland water treatment works). The reservoir is now managed by the South
West Lakes Trust.