Reservoir shuts after spike in drinking, littering and swimming

View of Cheddar reservoir from Wavering Down.

View of Cheddar reservoir from Wavering Down. - Credit: Archant

A village reservoir will shut to visitors due to a spike in antisocial behaviour today (Friday).

Sailing on Cheddar Reservoir.

Sailing on Cheddar Reservoir. - Credit: Archant

Bristol Water has made the decision to close the area in Cheddar following a rise in people swimming, drinking, littering and gathering at the lake.

The company says the rise in such incidents has been ‘unlike any other year’, and says it ‘cannot risk anyone losing their life’ as a result of drowning.

Cheddar Parish Council announced that Bristol Water will close the village reservoir to visitors when the temperature rises to more than 23 degrees last month.

Bristol Water says it had spoken to people about not following its safety rules, which were subsequently imposed in July, which lead to more than 300 points of contact in four hours.

The company says many of the actions had resumed after talks, and stressed it is not a ‘sustainable approach’ to tackle the behaviour.

Steve Smith, head of recreations at Bristol Water, said: “I’m a huge advocate of walking in nature for our wellbeing, so this is not a decision taken lightly.

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“We’re sorry that the actions of a small minority are ruining it for the majority, but we cannot risk anyone losing their life.

“It might look inviting, especially at a time when holidays have been cancelled, but it’s never safe to swim in reservoirs.”

Bristol Water also added that the reservoir may need to close again on Saturday and Sunday, depending on the weather forecast.

Steve added: “We’d also like to say thank you – everyone was very respectful of the closure on Friday and we’re already seeing a reduction in antisocial behaviour on days outside of the closures.”

During periods where temperatures reach more than 23 degrees, the Cheddar Reservoir path, car parks leading to the lake and gates will be locked. They will be reopened again after spells of hot weather. The company will have both security and a group of Bristol Water volunteers present during closures.

Cheddar Reservoir closures will be published on the Bristol Water website at least 24 hours in advance, as well as on its social media channels. Signs will also be in place locally.

The company wants to thank everyone who enjoys the reservoir safely and says is sorry that it has had to resort to the closures.