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The reservoir was constructed in 1796 in order to feed the Charnwood Forest Canal, which has long since vanished. The first dam constructed was an earthworks one, and this failed on 20 February 1799. In eleven minutes the reservoir was empty and as a result local farmland was ruined, sheep were drowned, and much of Shepshed and nearby Loughborough were affected by flood waters. The dam was repaired in 1801, but the canal was no longer commercially viable.
The present gravity dam was constructed in 1906 and was officially opened by the first Mayor of Loughborough Joseph Griggs. In 1957 the dam felt the effects of a magnitude 5.3 earthquake. The tremors caused heavy coping stones to shift and cracks appeared in the faces of the dam.
The reservoir has a plant community on its margins which is unique in the Midlands and only found in a few northern sites. Its unusual mix of flora includes Juncus filiformis at its most southern locations, and the lake itself has native white-clawed crayfish, where it is isolated from the invasive American signal crayfish.
One Barrow Lane crosses the eastern end of the reservoir.
- "Designated Sites View: Blackbrook Reservoir". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
- "Map of Blackbrook Reservoir". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
- "Blackbrook Reservoir citation". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
- In Search of the Lost Canal - by S N Badcock
- A circular walk to Bardon Hill - Includes photographs of the reservoir
- Leicestershire Climbs - Blackbrook Reservoir
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