The future of Cannop Ponds

A drone image taken above Cannop Ponds

The Future of Cannop Ponds

Cannop Ponds are two reservoirs within the Forest of Dean. The reservoirs were created in the 1820s through the construction of two dams across Cannop Brook. Both dams have had a long history of repairs to stop leaks and fill holes to prevent failure. 

The dams don’t meet modern requirements and so we are legally required to address the problems to ensure future safety.  

The more we looked at what we would have to do to fix the issues, the more we could see opportunities to improve the whole site for the future; for flood risk; for wildlife and for the community. 

Cannop Ponds will continue to be a special haven where wildlife is given space to thrive, and people are welcomed to connect with nature.  

A different approach is being taken at Upper and Lower Cannop, to reflect the opportunities that each Pond presents. The two will work together to bring benefits to the wider forest environment.    

For flood risk 

Lower Cannop will remain a large body of water in the heart of the Forest of Dean.  

Engineering works will be carried out to build a new, larger spillway and make the existing dam watertight. This work will be as sympathetic as possible, and meet modern engineering standards.  

It will increase resilience to extreme rainfall, by reducing the risk of failure, and make the Pond better at holding back storm water. This will better protect local communities downstream.  

For wildlife  

A more natural approach will be taken at Upper Cannop, to minimise the extensive engineering works that would be required.  

A mixture of open water, marsh and reedbeds will be created, to create a haven for wildlife to flourish. This mixture of habitats will attract more native wildlife to the area:  

  • Marshes and shallow water environments will help boost numbers of invertebrate and plant species; 

  • This will help support more wintering birds; 

  • There will be more foraging space for mammals like bats and otters; 

  • Amphibians and dragonflies will have more areas to breed. 

For community 

Cannop Ponds will still be an important place for people to visit. Fishing will continue at Lower Cannop and accessibility will be improved at both Ponds.  

The plan is to create a space that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or ability. This could include upgrading the walking trails, providing areas for pond-dipping and paddling, or better viewing platforms.  

We will make sure Cannop Ponds remains a place for everyone, both now and in the future, and we will be asking the public what you would like to see improved at the site. 

What happens next? 

The next stage of the project will be to carry out more detailed design work.  

Once this is complete, we will invite the public to give us your comments and shape elements of the final design for Cannop Ponds. Whether you want a place to walk the dog, spend time with family, or space for your physical and mental wellbeing, you will have the chance to have your say on what could be offered.  

A planning application will then be submitted based on this feedback.  

Have a question? 

We will keep this page up to date with information as the project progresses, or you can follow us on Facebook for more news.  

Or you can email the project team:   

A wooden boardwalk stretches over the water at Cannop Ponds. Blue sky with white fluffy clouds.

Useful links

Aerial view of pond next to a road

Cannop Ponds are classed as reservoirs under the Reservoirs Act 1975. Water leakage through the Lower Cannop dam has been an on-going issue for many decades, creating holes, or...

Aerial photo of spillway at Cannop Ponds

Throughout the course of the Cannop Ponds project, we have been committed to sharing information as often as we can. We want to keep you up to date with our work, and so every...

Tree roots exposed alongside water
Got a question?

Find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions relating to the future of Cannop Ponds.

A wooden boardwalk stretches over the water at Cannop Ponds. Blue sky with white fluffy clouds.

Cannop Ponds are two reservoirs within the Forest of Dean, originally created in 1820s to supply a waterwheel at Parkend Ironworks.

Today, they are used for fishing by the Yorkley...