IT'S RARE THAT SOMETHING "DIFFERENT" APPEARS in the world of diving, but as of Easter you may wish to consider a visit to Longsdon, near Leek. Situated in rural Staffordshire, the Rez is a novel facility that provides suitably qualified groups of divers with the opportunity of an underground diving experience in an old water reservoir.
The Rez project was initiated about three years ago by Martin & Beverley Spooner, and they have invested a lot of time and effort in converting it into a pleasant site for divers.
The Rez is set in the bottom of a valley, next to a large country park between two canals. It is invisible from a distance, and at first glance the only indication of anything unusual is a set of Victorian buildings and a flat area of lawn fitted with small breather vents.
Set behind an isolated building at the far end of the lawn is a 1m-deep entrance pool. Next to it is a fountain-shaped structure set in a 2m-deep water tank, intended for buoyancy checks.
To reach the main facility, you climb down a short rigid ladder into the water. In the shallow pool, a submerged, neatly rounded hole about a metre in diameter leads through the wall of the concrete enclosure into a dimly illuminated interim chamber, where you can stand in chest-deep water and take stock.
Then you pass through a second hobbit-sized hole into the Rez itself.
The Rez measures 40m by 20m, a substantial area which, in total darkness, feels an awful lot bigger than it is! Three baffled walls subdivide the 2m-deep water space into four sections, each of which is set out with structural roof-support pillars. You move from one section to the next through a submerged circular hole at one end of the wall and, at the other extremity, an open doorway. For safety, there is a small airspace throughout the dive area.
The intention is to add problem-solving features and change them periodically. There will be a "pitch black" facility, of interest to cave divers, and subdued lighting and other effects will also be provided to offer additional scope.
If the project is successful, it is hoped that the Rez will become a centre for novices, and it would make for an interesting night dive. There is to be a cafe, picnic areas and basic campsite facilities on site. Contact Martin Spooner on email@example.com
It's single file getting through this Rez exit
the way in is via this ladder and into the shallow entrance pool
the main area, divided by baffled walls
the hole in the wall that leads into the chamber