AN ACT of God could save a 300-year-old mill pool which could be drained and lead to the death of local wildlife.
A flood caused by a burst water pipe has shown that Oulton Mill Pool in Cotebrook poses no flooding threat to a series of new homes close by.
The latest development comes just weeks after The Chronicle told how villagers are battling to save the pool from being drained.
Engineers working for Cheshire County Council fear the pool can burst at any moment, due to a fragile sluice-gate, and flood several new homes.
However, a burst water main last weekend showed how the pool - owned by Oulton Estate - poses no threat.
In a letter to The Chronicle, Anne Hales, of Parklands, Oulton, says: 'On Saturday, July 26, a main water pipe burst in Cotebrook, sending gallons of water swiftly moving to Oulton Mill Pool.
'The meadows flooded and the cattle were moved to higher ground. The water rushed into the pool. At the same time water was cascading out of the other end of the pool - through a tunnel under the road down into the deep brook where it raced on its way to more meadows.
'No harm came to the houses. Maybe now, sense will prevail and the pool will be left alone. The cattle will continue to stand under the trees keeping cool enjoying the water, the wild pondlife will thrive and the mud wallow we were promised will be forgotten.'
The latest news will be welcomed by villagers who have stepped up their fight to save the pool and the wildlife within.
Angler Neil Boaz has been working with the Environment Agency to save fish within the mill pool.
Mr Boaz, a member of Tarporley Fishing Club, says it will be an 'environmental disaster' if the historic pool is drained for safety reasons.
However, parishioners hope to come up with an idea or money to repair the sluice-gate which would prevent the historic waterway from being drained.
Mr Boaz, of Spurstow, says 600lbs of fish have already been relocated into other waterways and says the work will continue in case the pool is drained suddenly.
The pool is well known in Cheshire for its natural beauty and because it contains a range of good fish including carp, bream, tench and pike.
Mr Boaz said: 'Work to carry out repairs to the sluice will be expensive but a lot of people in the village are currently looking for a solution.'
Repairs to a nearby wall would also have to be done to satisfy engineers that the pool does not pose a risk to neighbouring properties.
'People have been asking why we have been moving fish from the pool,' said Mr Boaz.
'We are removing them because if the pool was suddenly drained we would not be able to cope and remove all the fish at once.'
Cheshire County Council is responsible for the safety of reservoirs under the 1975 Reservoir Act and regular inspections are required by law.
A spokeswoman for the authority said: 'An inspection was carried out at Oulton Mill Pool in August 2000 which recommended, on safety grounds, measures that included the lowering of water levels by 0.4 metres. Because this work has not been carried out we have a legal duty to begin enforcement action.'