Land & Sea brings first dredge of Blenheim’s Queen Pool in over 100 years to a close

The company announced it has completed works as part of the largest restoration project to take place at World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace.

The team dredged 300,000 cubic metres from Queen Pool to safeguard ‘England’s Finest View’ after 70 percent of the lake became less than 30 centimeters deep. The lake has now been restored to its original depth of approximately two meters.

The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is often relied on for food by a variety of wildlife. Subsequently, the works undertaken ensured the depth of the lake was increased while the eco-system was improved for the local flora and fauna. The dredged material has been relocated to Great Park where a landform has been constructed and trees have been planted to offset the carbon emissions generated.

During the project, Land & Water specifically commissioned several pieces of equipment, which were aptly given names by the public including Clementine and Mallard. Its plant hire division is well known for its use of long-reach excavators. However, the team at Blenheim took a different approach and commissioned three semi long reach machines and oversized dredging buckets to enable higher production in the shallower water. A GPS dig system was also used in order to give accurate dig control on the excavator and monitor the working position and progress. All Land & Water machines have been operated on bio-oil to ensure the environmental safety of the lake.

Hope for the future

Charlie Oakes, Project Manager said, “The dredge at Blenheim Palace is one of the most ambitious projects undertaken at the site over the last 300 years and one of the largest ever inland dredging contracts completed in the UK.

“Despite some of the delays caused by the winter weather and archaeological findings of a Saxon mill, we are extremely pleased with how the dredge has gone and to have played our part in such a historic project.

“The methods undertaken were strategically designed to minimise the impact on the Estate as well as the environment and will help ensure that Queen Pool is future proofed to support the rich biodiversity that surrounds the lake as well as mitigating the risk of environmental damage.”

Over the next year, the team will be monitoring the landform to establish when it will be reinstated.