Tortworth Lake

Tortworth Lake is open to the public on the first Sunday of each month, February to October. This is when local Schools and charities can raise funds selling Teas from the Boat House.

History
The Boat House which was part of Tortworth Court is Victorian, built in 1849-1853 (Designed by Mr S S Teulon - Architect) which was commissioned by 2nd Earl of Ducie - Henry George Francis Reynolds-Moreton he died aged 51 in 1851 and did not see Tortworth Court finished. The 3rd Earl of Ducie - Henry John Reynolds-Moreton planted the wonderful gardens and arboretum at Tortworth Court, he died in 1921 aged 94.

The valley was dammed to the north of Tortworth Court to produce the lake and the slopes around the lake planted with trees. It was believed to be constructed in 1853 and is formed by a homogeneous earthen embankment with a crest (wall) length of 105m.

Tortworth Court was the Moreton family seat until 1939, on 3rd September 1940 the mansion was requisitioned as a Training School for the Navy (Coding and Signals). On 24th September 1941 Her Majesty Queen Mary inspected the School. Grounds adjoining the mansion had buildings erected in 1942 for USA hospital accommodation and after the was Her Majesty Prison Commission took over the premises on 15th July 1946. In 1951 Tortworth Court use was transferred to an Officers Training School, which continued until sold in 1986 to Mr P Stubbs. After a fire in 1991 the house was in ruins until sold to the Four Pillars Hotel group in 2000.

Tortworth Lake was used during the winter/spring of 1943/44 as a test site for amphibious vehicles to be used in the 'D' day invasions. Lorries arrived at Tortworth Lake to test vehicles for water tightness - the ramp still exists. It included jeeps, small lorries and even converted Sherman Tanks with their famous rubber skirts.

Tortworth Lake reservoir was originally created to provide water for the surrounding farms and Tortworth Court. Drinking water was pumped using a water wheel from a spring up to Tortworth Court. In 1973 the lake provided water for two farms and seven houses and provided fire fighting water resources and spring water for Tortworth Court.

We found a letter in our archives indicating the spring water was safe to drink in February 1951.

The Lake was drained in 1973 to enable repairs to sluice structure and dam wall to take place, when 18,000 fish were removed and a 21 1/2lb Pike. In 1974 after the lake was refilled rainbow and brown trout were introduced this was the start of trout fishing at the lake. Also in July 2000 the lake level was lowered to allow a leak to be repaired in the tunnel under the wall.

In 1954 the Water Company installed a water main from Wickwar to Falfield which would supply Cromhall, Tortworth and surround areas. Mr William Blair was Estate Agent for Tortworth Estate in 1954 and he negotiated the wayleave. The water main scheme was completed in 1961. The Water Company purchased an area of land from Tortworth Estate by Tafarn Bach, Charfield for £125 in 1955 to provide a water reservoir for Charfield.

BoatHouse