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HER Number:MDV103325
Name:Burrator Reservoir


Burrator Reservoir was constructed in the late 19th century as a storage reservoir for the Plymouth Leat, to regulate the quality and consistency of the leated water-supply to Plymouth. Designed by Edward Sandeman, Plymouth’s Water Engineer, it was enlarged between 1923-1928. It includes two dams; Sheepstor and Burrator Dams.


Grid Reference:SX 553 685
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMeavy
Civil ParishSheepstor
Civil ParishWalkhampton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishMEAVY
Ecclesiastical ParishSHEEPSTOR
Ecclesiastical ParishWALKHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX56NE386
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1463474
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GAUGE HOUSE (XIX - 1893 AD (Between) to 1898 AD (Between))
  • RESERVOIR (XIX - 1893 AD (Between) to 1898 AD (Between))
  • SPILLWAY (XIX - 1893 AD (Between) to 1898 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Burrator Reservoir, constructed in the late 19th century is depicted on the historic map.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 115-116 (Monograph). SDV249702.

Burrator Reservoir was constructed between 1891-1898 to capture the waters of Newleycombe Lake and Narrator Brook. Designed as a storage reservoir for the Plymouth Leat, to regulate the quality and consistency of the leated water-supply to Plymouth.

Trueman, M., 2000, The Water and Sewage Industry Step 3 Assessment, Monument Protection Programme, Devon 3c (Report - non-specific). SDV288012.

An impounding reservoir formed 1893-98 for Plymouth Corporation by two dams, the Burrator and the Sheepstor, designed by the City Engineer, Edward Sandeman. The Burrator Dam was the third British masonry dam to be built, one of eight built between 1890 and 1904. Sheepstor Dam was an earth dam. A new pipeline, to replace the Plymouth Leat, was built as part of the works. Both dams were heightened by ten feet in 1928. Associated structures include a gauge house and valve tower. Construction of the Burrator Dam was in the form of concrete 'plums' set in concrete, with granite facing. The central integral spillway is under a 5-arch road bridge. At the base of the spillway is a gauge house alongside. Sheepstor Dam involved digging a cut-off trench to a depth of 105 feet, although the final dam was only 23 feet high. Burrator Lodge, the superintendent's house, was built on the West bank of the reservoir and is in Gothic Revival Style.

Moseley, B., 2011, Plymouth Data; The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History, Accessed 2014 (Website). SDV347358.

Burrator Reservoir was proposed by Edward Sandeman (1862-1959) Plymouth’s Water Engineer to provide a direct pipeline from there into the Town. The scheme was adopted on March 30th 1892 and work began in 1893, including work on the two dams. The Burrator Dam is built across the river Meavy at the Burrator Gorge. It is constructed of concrete faced with dressed granite. The smaller one at Sheepstor is built on a dividing ridge between the Meavy and Sheepstor Brook and is formed by an earth embankment with a core wall of puddled clay above the original ground level and a concrete section below ground.
Burrator Reservoir was officially opened on Wednesday September 21st 1898 and cost £178,000 of which the two Dams cost £102,000 and £24,000 respectively. Work started on raising both the Burrator and Sheepstor Dams by 10 feet in December 1923. This would enlarge the capacity from 668 million gallons to 1,026 million. The work was financed by the Government as part of an unemployment relief programme. A suspension bridge was erected by Messrs Orr, Watt & Company, of Motherwell ion Scotland, near Burrator Dam to carry traffic while the work proceeded. The enlarged reservoir was opened on Wednesday September 12th 1928.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 115-116.
SDV288012Report - non-specific: Trueman, M.. 2000. The Water and Sewage Industry Step 3 Assessment, Monument Protection Programme. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Step 3 Report. WIM.I. A4 Comb Bound. Devon 3c.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV347358Website: Moseley, B.. 2011. Plymouth Data; The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History. Plymouthdata.info. Website. Accessed 2014.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #62794 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV62584Parent of: Burrator Dam, Meavy (Monument)
MDV62511Parent of: Sheepstor Dam (Monument)
MDV20605Related to: Blocked adit 100 metres north of Burrator Dam (Monument)
MDV3378Related to: Blowing mill at Longstone, Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV48971Related to: Boathouse west of Burrator Reservoir, Meavy (Building)
MDV131662Related to: Boundary stone 80m north-west of The Lodge, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV131663Related to: Boundary stone 90m north-west of The Lodge, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV48966Related to: Boundary stone at Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV116677Related to: Boundary stone at South Hessary Tor (Monument)
MDV112640Related to: Boundary stone at The Lodge, Princetown (Monument)
MDV112641Related to: Boundary stone on Walkhampton Common (Monument)
MDV15305Related to: Boundary stone on Walkhampton Common (Monument)
MDV131657Related to: Boundary stone south-east of The Lodge, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV131665Related to: Boundary stone to the rear of Station Cottages, Princetown (Monument)
MDV45598Related to: Bridge - location incorrect? (Monument)
MDV62583Related to: Burrator Lodge, Meavy (Building)
MDV3973Related to: Cheesepress at Longstone Manor, Burrator (Monument)
MDV3974Related to: Cider Mill at Longstone Farm (Monument)
MDV62637Related to: Corn mill at Longstone Manor (Monument)
MDV20625Related to: Essworthy Farmstead, now flooded by Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV3384Related to: Findspot in Plymouth Leat, Meavy (Find Spot)
MDV3508Related to: Flint flake found at Burrator Reservoir (Find Spot)
MDV31042Related to: Flint flake found near Lonstone Mill, Burrator Reservoir (Find Spot)
MDV3971Related to: Gatepost at Longstone, Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV20629Related to: Headweir Cottage, Burrator Reservoir (Building)
MDV3970Related to: Longstone, Burrator Reservoir (Building)
MDV30848Related to: Medieval pottery found at Burrator Reservoir (Find Spot)
MDV20622Related to: Mullacroft Farmstead, west of Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV19108Related to: Plymouth Leat (Dartmoor section) (Monument)
MDV48961Related to: Quarry south of Sheepstor Dam, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV48972Related to: Quarry west of Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV20601Related to: Redstone Farm, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV30832Related to: Roof tiles from Longstone Manor, Burrator Reservoir (Find Spot)
MDV20822Related to: Site of blowing house at Longstone, Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV20627Related to: Site of Sheepstor Bridge, Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV102926Related to: Site of Weir at Burrator (Monument)
MDV131670Related to: Stone north-east of Cramber Tor, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV15304Related to: Stone north-east of South Hessary Tor (Monument)
MDV131671Related to: Stone south of South Hessary Tor, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV131669Related to: Stone south-south-east of South Hessary Tor (Monument)
MDV30919Related to: Stone, from Longstone Mill, Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV3975Related to: Threshing floor in Longstone Plantation, Burrator (Monument)
MDV30925Related to: Tin slag found at Longstone Mill, Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV31041Related to: Tin slag found at Longstone Mill, Burrator Reservoir (Monument)
MDV131664Related to: Two boundary stones north of The Lodge, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV102878Related to: Weir north of Burrator (Monument)
MDV102879Related to: Weir north of Burrator (Monument)
MDV99718Related to: Yelverton Reservoir, Meavy (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 13 2021 2:51PM