Meet the local vicar who saved the town of Whaley Bridge from a bursting dam

In episode four of the podcast, we head to the town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire to hear from the local vicar who first spotted the danger of the overloaded reservoir and raised the alarm – saving the community from tragedy.

Dam and countryside town

In early August, storms and exceptionally heavy rain overloaded a reservoir about the town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire – but it was the local vicar Father Jamie Macleod who first spotted the danger, raised the alarm and led the community response. He talks to our own Andrew Griffiths about these few summer days of epic drama.


Listen to season three, episode four of the BBC Countryfile Magazine podcast

What happened at Whaley Bridge?

Following heavy rainfall which caused the partial collapse of the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir, in Derbyshire in August 2019, approximately 1,500 residents of the town’s 6,500 population were forced to leave their homes as the town was at risk of flooding. Engineers managed to successfully pump enough water from the reservoir to reduce the water level, although repairs to the dam are expected to take three years to complete.


An urgent independent review has been requested by the government to access the safely of all of the UK’s dams and reservoirs.