Newent Lake and Park
Set in the grounds of the former Newent Court, Newent Lake is a haven for wildlife, home for a wide variety of freshwater fish and Newent Lake Newent Lake considered one of the most beautiful public spaces in the area.
A major fire destroyed a large portion of the original building in 1942, leaving only a few smaller buildings, which were used by Ribston Hall School. The house was eventually demolished and the land developed for housing (Lakeside) along with Court Road.
Some of the original Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal can be seen at the far end of the lake and the ‘Daffodil’ railway line used to follow the path of what is now the Newent Bypass. An area known as Toby’s Hole, a small natural amphitheatre was the site of an annual jamboree held by Newent Scouts, led at the time by Colonel Parker. In severe winters the lake would freeze providing extra fun for locals who loved to skate.
With the building of the Newent Bypass the West Gatehouse, Newent Court Lodge (diagonally across from the Newent Community Centre), was removed and exported, however the East Gatehouse still survives on Gloucester Street (as the road levels out leaving the town). The lake and remaining land were eventually given over to Newent Town Council and the area is now managed as a public amenity.
The area between the car park and the balustrade was landscaped in 1998 and the lake dredged, restocked with fish and the pathways constructed. More recently a flat stage area has been added in front of the balustrade for community events and summer brass band concerts.[/fusion_tagline_box]
Mallard ducks, coots, moorhens and kingfishers are the most easily spotted wildlife on the water, nesting around the lake and on the island to your left. Occasionally a lone heron can be seen perched on a semi-sunken log by the wooded area to the east end of the lake.
The surrounding trees and shrubs attract many wild birds, which include common species such as blackbirds, song thrush and robins, as well as nuthatch, great spotted woodpeckers and tree creepers. Nest boxes for birds have been erected and there is a good population of blue, great and coal tits using them.
The lake is stocked with a variety of fish including carp, roach, bream, rudd, perch and a small number of eels. The fish have very few predators apart from the
occasional mink, heron or cormorant. Managed by Newent Angling Club the lake is open to fishing by local residents and members of the club only. The fishing season runs from 16 June through to 15 March.
Trees growing around the lake include alders, oak, beech and sycamore. However in the fenced off section, furthest away from this sign, cherry, common limes, field maple, horse chestnut and ash can be found. Hazel shrubs and dogwood have also been planted there over the years. The tall trees around Toby’s Hole offer a safe nesting habitat for rooks and crows, and birds of prey include sparrowhawks, kestrels and buzzards.
The lake is a favourite feeding area for bats including common and soprano pipistrelle, daubenton’s, noctule and brown, long eared bats.
1. From the car park walk towards the right hand side of the balustrade and continue anti-clockwise, keeping the lake to your left. The island on your left is used annually by swans and ducks for nesting. Next you will pass the millennium fountain, which is not only an attractive feature, but also helps aerate the water.
2. To your right, on the grass you will see a ‘willow boat’, which has proved to be a popular area for children to play. Peacocks Brook follows the edge of the lake on your right. This brook originates towards May Hill and passes under the town.
3. Along this stretch, which runs parallel to CourtRoad, you will pass a number of piers used byanglers during the season for coarse fishing.
4. At the second bridge to your right you can leave the lakeside and travel a short distance to a clearing featuring a bridge over the brook. This end of the lake is excellent to see fish in the shallows in the late afternoon. It is also the favourite spot to see herons perched on the driftwood by the opposite bank.
5. Between the lake and the Newent bypass are two wooded areas. Part of the disused original Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal can be seen.
6. After leaving the wooded area you enter Jubilee Walk – constructed and planted with 60 Oak trees to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee 2012. A pleasant walk of some 900 metres maintained by Newent Town Council and accessed via the Lake paths and Court Road. It is a lasting memorial which had considerable input from children of Glebe and Picklenash Schools.
7. Next you will approach a grove of Western Red Cedars and a Giant Wellingtonia. A very large tree of this species was hit by lightning in the 1990s causing it to explode. Parts of the tree were found in nearby roads.
8. Returning to the stone balustrade the path widens onto what was the east drive to the house. This route originally led up Court Road to the East Gatehouse on Gloucester Street.
The walk includes a number of benches en route. Feel free to enjoy a picnic while you relax but please do not to feed the ducks with bread as it affects the ecology of the lake and the health of the birds, and please remember to dispose of litter in a responsible manner.
DOGS MUST BE KEPT ON A LEAD
The path around Newent Lake has been subject to a DDA assessment and has been approved for disabled and wheelchair users. [/fusion_tagline_box]