The DW&LCT Volunteer Pen Stock (Sluice Gate) Team is made up of Wardens, who are responsible for ensuring that the leat system is working correctly as it flows through the town. The sluices at Weirhead need to be free from debris obstruction and be properly set to allow the correct amount of water into the leat. The leat itself needs to be free of obstructions, litter etc.
Pen Stock Wardens each have a Pen Stock key and are responsible for ensuring that the sluices and leat are inspected daily to check that everything is in order. Inspections are generally done by one person, but any work in the leat or at the pen stocks will always done with two people present, for health and safety reasons.
The leat system is surprisingly complex. The effects of the sluices on water flow in the leat are sometimes counter-intuitive (for example the level of the leat can sometimes go up when the level of the river falls). As well as checking on leat levels, the teams monitor the fish and other wildlife, all of whom are dependent on the leat flowing correctly. Proper management of the Pen Stocks has led to increased numbers of fish and eels being seen in the leat. This has led to regular spotting on otters in the leat (see ‘News’ page for more information).
Wardens have an immense amount of local knowledge about the leat and how it works, many of them having lived beside it for years. In addition each Warden will, before they take up their duties, have been certified as having received the proper training from the Environment Agency.
Although the leat was built purely as a source of power, it has over the years, become a wildlife resource in its own right. We regularly see ducks, kingfishers, salmon, trout, eels, various small fish …. and most recently otters.
We are currently looking for additional Wardens. By joining us, in return for a few hours work a week, you can contribute to a worthwhile, interesting and practical project in the community, and enjoy working as part of a constructive and energetic local team.
If you would like to get involved please contact Philip Hull (our Operations Lead Trustee): firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Sluice Gate Wardens (in alphabetical order)
A keen fisherman, Ian has fished the Rivers Barle and Exe for 40 years. He now lives opposite the weir at Weirhead, in Dulverton.
Philip is also a Trustee of DW&LCT, his biography can be found on the Trustees page. He has lived at Weirhead for 36 years.
Peter is also a Trustee of DW&LCT, his biography can be found on the Trustees page. He has lived at Weirhead for 11 years.
Our Assistant Sluice Gate Wardens (in alphabetical order)
Derrick has lived next to the leat for 32 years. He sees it every day; either when he is working in his garden or when walking into town.
A long term Dulverton resident, Chris has lived at Weirhead for 34 years, he was formerly Mayor of Dulverton. The Nelder family have lived in Dulverton for several generations.