The History of Lymm Dam
The creation and development of one of Lymm's most well-known beauty spots
In the early part of the 19th Century a road was constructed by the Turnpike Trust between Warrington and Stockport. The Trust had been granted the right to charge a toll fare on this road which is now the present day A56. It seems that even back then there was concern over traffic congestion as local opposition prevented the road from coming through the centre of the village. A toll bar was placed on the road of the Church slope which is still sometimes referred to as 'Penny Hill' today. The only way of crossing the valley below the Church was via a path leading to a footbridge over what was then 'a pool and stream'. They therefore began to construct an earth dam across the valley in 1824 and as a consequence the lake known today as Lymm Dam was created.
At the time of Lymm Dam's creation, the area it was constructed on was part of the Lymm Hall Estate which owned much of the village. The estate was split into sections in 1848 and several were sold off including what is now Lymm Dam, Lymm Rugby Club and the area of land between. The section of the estate which comprised Lymm Dam was bought by a local solicitor named Thomas Ridgeway. Ridgeway built 'a large opulent manor house' at the site which is now Lymm Rugby Club on Crouchley Lane. He lived here in the house and the estate which were known as 'Beechwood' for 20 years before he sold the estate to a Cotton Trader from Manchester called George Dewhurst. Dewhurst had a considerable level of influence in Lymm and figured prominently in the Victorian village for many years at the time. He and his family lived on the Beechwood estate until the close of the 19th Century. By this time they had largely withdrawn from life in the village.
The house was eventually demolished in the 1930s but some of aspects of the estate still remain today. What are today Lymm Rugby Club's changing rooms were once the old stable block, and the wall which runs alongside the pitch was part of the horses' exercise paddock. The stone archway which featured as the entrance to the Beechwood estate can still be found along Crouchley Lane. Furthermore, the Wishing Bridge round Lymm Dam and the small boat house are also legacies of the Dewhurst era.
The land was then owned by a man called William Lever who intended to make considerable changes to the area. It was he who constructed the large concrete bridge at the southern end of Lymm Dam known as the Crosfield Bridge. He was also accountable for the avenues which border Lymm Dam, these currently being Lakeside Road, The Avenue and the bridleway running along the eastern boundary of Lymm Dam. The avenues were planted with alternating Lombardy poplar and English elm trees. Lever had planned to use these avenues as part of a residential development to house his workers however, for reasons unknown, the houses were never built.
Lymm Urban District Council and Warrington Borough Council
Shortly after the Second World War the estate and the area immediately surrounding the lake became the property of Lymm Urban District Council, a local authority. It was eventually inherited by Warrington Borough Council with the local government reorganisation of 1974.
The Crosfield Bridge and the rows of trees which lead up to it stand as a legacy of a period of Lymm Dam's history and serve as a reminder of how different the site could have looked today. Unfortunately the elm trees died due to Dutch elm disease in the 1980s, however the poplars remain and have become one of Lymm Dam's most recognisable features clearly visible from a distance. More information is available on Wildlife around Lymm Dam.
Other Landmarks in Lymm
View details on history in Lymm.