Visitors to a reservoir are being warned to stick to footpaths after multiple reports of people and a dog getting stuck in sludge.

Two fire crews were called to Aldenham Reservoir earlier this month after a person was reported to be stuck in mud "up to their knees".

Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue added the emergency caller said the person was "holding onto branches to keep themselves upright".

Fortunately, the person was freed before firefighters from Borehamwood and Garston arrived.

There have been similar reports too on social media of people getting stuck in sinking mud around the reservoir, as well as a dog.

The incidents have occurred because one metre of reservoir water has been drained over recent months by the private owners of Aldenham Reservoir, Liberty Lake Leisure Limited.

As a result of a sluice being opened, Aldenham Reservoir looks very different and a mini-beach has appeared around the whole of the reservoir - where water used to be.

Watford Observer:

This entire area of land pictured was covered by water earlier this year

Watford Observer:

This had led to people are walking or playing around or even picnicking in this newly created land area close to the water.

There are signposts dotted around the reservoir urge people to stick to the footpaths while other signs say 'Danger. Deep Slurry' and 'Danger. Loose rocks, Stay away'.

Watford Observer:

This sign says 'Danger. Stay Away'

Watford Observer:

But Liberty has said more signs are going up this week - and added that it will be temporarily increasing the amount of water in the reservoir so the sludge gets covered in water again.

Liberty says it has been draining water based on advice it has received from an inspector who carried out an inspection on a dam wall.

Click here to read more about why the reservoir is being drained

The water in the reservoir will be reduced again when fencing is put up around the entire reservoir.

Watford Observer:

Temporary fencing has been put up by the dam wall

Watford Observer:

A view from the dam wall over the reservoir. There used to be water right up to the dam wall

Liberty wants to put in a fence for health and safety reasons and co-director Mahesh Gosrani says this work will begin in June.

The fence, which will be two metres high, is considered by Liberty to be necessary because "walkers often go off the public footpath close to the edge of the water, and if someone slips and gets hurt or drowns then it’s a huge liability” and so to “keep the insurance premium at an affordable level, Liberty need to mitigate the risks”.

Mr Gosrani has confirmed the fence will restrict both views and walks on the footpath, and added if this plan goes ahead, certain parts of the footpath will be closed off, preventing people walking around the whole of the reservoir.

Watford Observer:

A view of the reservoir from the Elstree Road side

Mr Gosrani has also confirmed Liberty will not be submitting any revised proposals to generate revenue for the upkeep of the "beautiful" Aldenham Reservoir while a tree preservation order put on the reservoir site by Hertsmere Borough Council remains in place.

Liberty withdrew a planning application earlier this year for dozens of holiday pods on greenbelt land on the eastern bank of the reservoir.

This planning application had implications for Aldenham Sailing Club, which has a lease with Liberty to use the reservoir for sailing, because the club would have lost boat storage and space to enter the water.

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But the reduction in the amount of water in the reservoir has caused sailing to cease completely.

Liberty has also appealed to the public to not throw their rubbish away into bushes or into the water - because the owners are concerned about the impact rubbish is having on wildlife and fish.