Edgbaston Reservoir

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Edgbaston Reservoir
Edgbaston Reservoir.jpg
The Reservoir in August 2014
Edgbaston Reservoir is located in West Midlands county
Edgbaston Reservoir
Edgbaston Reservoir
LocationLadywood, Birmingham, England
Coordinates52°28′47.13″N 1°56′13.54″W / 52.4797583°N 1.9370944°W / 52.4797583; -1.9370944Coordinates: 52°28′47.13″N 1°56′13.54″W / 52.4797583°N 1.9370944°W / 52.4797583; -1.9370944
Basin countriesUnited Kingdom
Max. length800 metres (2,600 ft)
Max. width550 metres (1,800 ft)
Surface area58 acres (230,000 m2)
Average depth5.90 metres (19.4 ft)
Max. depth40 feet (12 m)
Water volume1,463,800 cubic metres (322,000,000 imp gal)
Shore length12.5 kilometres (1.6 mi)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Edgbaston Reservoir, originally known as Rotton Park Reservoir and referred to in some early maps as Rock Pool Reservoir,[1] is a canal feeder reservoir in Birmingham, England. [1] [2] [3]. It is situated close to Birmingham City Centre and is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.[2]


The gatehouse at the entrance to the reservoir
Boat house and Birmingham Level sluice gear on the dam

Originally a small pool named Roach Pool[3] in Rotton Park, it was extensively enlarged by Thomas Telford between 1824-1829 to supply water to the Birmingham and Wolverhampton Levels of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) canal system via Icknield Port Loop at the foot of the dam. It was excavated to a depth of 40 feet (12 metres) and covers an area of 58 acres (230,000 m2), holding 300,000,000 imperial gallons (1,400,000 m3) of water, and was the largest expanse of water in Birmingham at the time. It is supplied by small streams and a feeder from Titford Reservoir (Titford Pools) in Oldbury. It was formed by damming a small stream. The dam is a 330-metre-long earth embankment with a height of 10 metres near the centre.[4]

The reservoir and gatehouse were designed by Thomas Telford and the latter is a listed building in corporate BCN octagonal style. In 1873, it was crossed by Charles Blondin, on a tightrope. His feat is marked by a 1992 statue on the nearby Ladywood Middleway ring road.[5]


The reservoir is surrounded by woodland and grassland. The total area of the site is 70 acres (280,000 m2). It supports a variety of birds, in addition to newts and bats.[2]


Sculpture of Charles Blondin

In addition to supplying water to the canals, the reservoir is used for leisure activities including angling, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking and rowing.

Edgbaston Reservoir is home to three rowing clubs, Birmingham Rowing Club, Birmingham City University Rowing Club and the University of Birmingham Boat Club. All are housed within the same boathouse. The site has also been chosen to house a new Birmingham Schools rowing initiative, with the three aforementioned clubs assisting in the running of the scheme. Birmingham Canoe Club also shares the space during the summer months (June to September), paddling on the reservoir.[6]

The Midland Sailing Club is also based at Edgbaston Reservoir,[7] and often race sailing boats around a marked course. Windsurfers also use the reservoir. Further to this, TS Vernon Sea Cadets use the reservoir as a base.[8]

Until 2017 the Reservoir was home to Edgbaston Watersports, which provided water and land activities for school, college and youth groups from their base on the Icknield Port Road side of the reservoir. Since 2019 such water sports activities are provided by SailBirmingham.

The Reservoir perimeter provides a pleasant route for joggers, with a gravel and tarmac path throughout its 1.75 mile (2.8 km) circumference.[2]

The fishing season runs from 16 June to 14 March. Licences are available from the Environment Agency.[2]

As of April 2019 the car park is closed to vehicles after complaints of antisocial behaviour.[9]

Man standing on the frozen Reservoir in January 2010


The reservoir usually has a gentle breeze across it due to the lack of large buildings or objects surrounding it, which makes it ideal for sailing.

Sailors on the Reservoir

During winter there can be strong, icy, northerly winds blowing over the city, which can freeze the reservoir over due to its exposed northern side (where the dam is situated). In recent years, the reservoir has frozen over - in both January 2009 and 2010 to the extent that it could be walked upon, although this is strongly discouraged.

In the summer the reservoir is often extremely busy with members of the public coming for picnics and walks around the reservoir's perimeter path.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1831 Archived 24 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine Map of Birmingham
  2. ^ a b c d Birmingham City Council.
  3. ^ Yates, George (1830). An Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Birmingham. Beilby, Knott, and Beilby. p. 214.
  4. ^ Tedd, Paul (2000). Dams. Thomas Telford. ISBN 0-7277-2870-9.
  5. ^ Noszlopy, George Thomas; Beach, Jeremy (1998). Public Sculpture of Birmingham: Including Sutton Coldfield. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-692-5.
  6. ^ Birmingham Canoe Club
  7. ^ Midlands Sailing Club
  8. ^ "Birmingham Vernon". The Sea Cadets. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008.
  9. ^ Ladywood Police on Twitter

External links[edit]