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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

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RESERVOIR (XIX - 1890 AD to 1898 AD)

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, Water and Sewage Step 3 Assessment (Report - non-specific). SDV288012.

Burrator Reservoir, formed in 1893-98 for Plymouth Corporatio, by two DAMS, The Burrator and the Sheepstor.

Histrically and technological important as 3rd British masonry dam, 1 of only 8 between 1890 and 1904. By Edward Sandman. Group value with Drake's Leat, which it replaced and the remains of which start below Burrator dam; and with the Devonport leat, which now acts as a feeder to the reservoir.

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. Water and Sewage Step 3 Assessment. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Step 3 Report. WIM.I. A4 Unbound.
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)
MDV48966Related to: Boundary stone at Burrator Reservoir (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)
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)
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:Mar 22 2019 12:13PM