A bridleway over an old reservoir could be closed for up to six months because it is feared the dam it crosses may burst.

Hampshire County Council has served a temporary closure notice on Wyndham’s Pool Dam in Yateley as a result of heavy rainfall which has made the site potentially dangerous.

The route is currently set to be closed to the public for three weeks, but permission to close the bridleway for six months is being sought.

The dam, just off Cricket Hill Lane, was built more than 100 years ago in order to create Wyndham’s Pool.

It holds back a large amount of water, but work needs to be carried out to drain it in order to dramatically reduce excess pressure on the dam.

The drainage operation should make the dam safe until proper repairs can be made, but the county council feels it would not be sensible for people to walk along the dam until those repairs have been completed.

Councillor Adrian Collett, town, district and county memberfor Yateley, said: “We have been aware for a while that the dam would need improving at some point so the county council has been keeping an eye out.

“Because of the heavy rainfall, the dam has experienced even more wear and tear than normal.

“I believe the inside of the dam was built from sand and concrete. I don’t know how it has lasted this long to be honest.

“These are obviously sensible moves both for the safety of walkers and to prevent a large volume of water cascading down the hill.

“I am not sure where that water would end up, but it’s clearly better not to find out.”

As a result of the closure, walkers will have to use a public footpath around the dam instead of going over it – meaning they will have to go three times as far.

The reservoir was used as an outdoor swimming pool in the 1960s before it became a fishery in the 80s.

The artificial lake holds some large carp and is also populated with other coarse fish such as perch, roach, tench and pike.

Yateley Common Country Park manages the fishing at Wyndham’s Pool and it is leased by Hartley Wintney Angling Society, which is responsible for the day to day running of the ponds and fishing.

A spokesman for the country park said: “Wyndham’s Pool Dam has been temporarily closed as a precaution due to the extremely high water levels caused by the recent severe weather, as a result a temporary closure order is being put in place on the bridleway crossing the dam.

“Senior managers are currently looking at options to ensure the dam is reopened as soon as possible, in the meantime we apologise for the inconvenience.”