Cheddar Reservoir

STRAWBERRY LINE TIMES: The Res – the mirror to the sky – why the near circular Cheddar Reservoir in Somerset photographs so beautifully (especially at sunrise and sunset) although including the swans and geese in the picture is rather more tricky

Cheddar Reservoir photographed in the afternoon last month

Some notes on photographing Cheddar Reservoir

People often say to me how beautiful my photographs of Cheddar Reservoir are but the truth is you can’t really go wrong with the mirror to the sky as I call it. Anyone can take a ‘wow’ photo of the Res – especially at sunset or sunrise as it lends itself to photography.

All of my pictures are taken with a basic Samsung phone and apart from capturing the moment on my daily jog around its two and a quarter mile circumference I simply aim to get the composition based on thirds (although this rule can be broken) right, plus a level horizon and to capture the colours and the light as the waters reflect the heavens above. Sometimes swans, boats, sheep and people can also help to make the image seem more interesting – but so far those geese have evaded me.

Dawn this month – looking west and a full moon – the Res keeps on giving even in the dark

Built in the 1930s to help create employment and to service the growing population of the area Cheddar Reservoir is a near circular shallow body of water located betwixt Cheddar and Axbridge.

Construction under way – you can see how shallow the mirror like Res was going to be

The reason for its photo-friendly properties is its construction. Since the reservoir is largely scooped out of the ground with the spoil from the excavation banked up around it the reality is the water is raised up several feet above the surrounding land level.

This image shows how the Res was simply scooped out of the ground and the spoil banked up along with stone and clay to make the sides, plus the concrete slabs which contain the waters

It’s location in the Somerset Levels betwixt the Mendips and the Isle of Wedmore also means it has no overhanging land such as cliffs or hills so it has maximum light all day long.

Sunrise this month – and thank to the swans who helped with this one (they can be very difficult sometimes and refuse to get into the shot – but I guess they are free spirits)

I’ve often claimed as a joke it is the only reservoir in the shape of a strawberry that can be seen from space – and I’m sure after a glass of cider all astronauts will agree this is true.

So if you find yourself at the Res at dusk – do what I and many others do and take a quick snap and post it on social media. The vast waters and the sky above captured in reds, oranges and yellows really do lift the spirits – especially in these social distancing times.

Sun down in April – looking west – you really can’t go wrong with the Res

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Sunrise at Cheddar Reservoir on Sunday 22 March 2020 – the trick is to keep a level horizon


Dusk at the Res on Saturday 18th January 2020

Some photos taken on my mobile phone when out for early morning jogs in April and May 2019, around Cheddar Reservoir.