Improvements at The Aquadrome
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The Aquadrome Local Nature Reserve is a 41 hectare site situated at the northern end of the Colne Valley Regional Park. The Local Nature Reserve you see today is the result of gravel extraction which left behind large “holes” in the valley floor that now form Batchworth and Bury Lakes. The lakes naturally filled with water when extraction ceased in the 1920s, aided by natural springs.
Take a quick tour of the Aquadrome Local Nature Reserve.
Summary of Works at the Aquadrome LNR
The toilet facilities and warden's accommodation were completed at the beginning of 2009.
The new Cafe in the Park is proving a very popular place, with indoor and outdoor seating, and a mouth watering menu.
These buildings are both sensitively designed and greener than the old facilities, which now have a sustainable heating system operating. Water pipes were buried three metres below the ground where there is a heat level of 11 - 12 degrees Celsius. At this depth, the soil stays at a relatively constant temperature, compared to the much wider variations in the air of between minus 10 and plus 40 degrees C depending on the season. Because the ground is warmer than the air in winter and cooler than the air in summer, the single pumping system can help provide both heating and cooling at different times of the year.
The re-profiled lake banks were planted with a mix of native flowers and aquatic plants.
Work in addition to that funded by the ALSF, included the replacement of the sluice in Bury Lake and the replacement of the scaffold bridge at the Glade. In addition to this work new dog waste bins and extra benches were installed along with unblocking of ditches, new fingerpost signage and new interpretation panels.
In 2009, the main car park was resurfaced and now includes designated bays for disabled drivers.
The network of paths were also improved and wheelchair users will find access much better.
Work was completed on some of the trees around Batchworth and Bury Lake during 2008. This involved pollarding, or removing the top quarter on some of the larger trees. This is a traditional management technique that will prolong the life of the tree as they will put out fresh shoots in the spring.
Why we did it?
This project is in response to a number of factors that affect the Aquadrome LNR.
Bank erosion has become a problem over the past few years, with sections of bank on Batchworth and Bury Lake so badly eroded that it was starting to affect the footpaths.
On both lakes there are limited amounts of emergent vegetation. This has resulted in reduced opportunities for nesting birds and spawning fish also invertebrates such as dragonflies and damselflies rely on lakeside vegetation to complete their life cycle.
The project aimed to readdress these problems. The establishment of native plants along the lake edges will help reduce the effects of erosion by dissipating the wave action. The plants will also provide a habitat for a wealth of wildlife.
Who funded the work?
This project was funded by Natural England through DEFRA’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
Aggregates Levy Sustainability Funding at the Aquadrome LNR for 2009
Following the successful application for £126,000 to Natural England for a second Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund it is intended to complete the following elements during 2009 as part of this project:
- Hedge restoration – identify and restore sections of hedge through laying, coppicing and re-planting in gaps.
- Tree Surgery – Continue the management and creation of pollards. Complete tree work along the entrance road.
- Ditch restoration – identify historic ditches and bring them back into appropriate management through silt removal and vegetation clearance.
Erosion Control Project
The Council will be undertaking a project at the Aquadrome which aims to solve the erosion problems which currently exist on Batchworth Lake. Over the years the banks of Batchworth Lake have become eroded due to the high use of the site. As a consequence the banks are now in need of work to mitigate the current problem and prevent further erosion.
The scheme to reconstruct the banks involves a range of measures which includes the use of stone filled boxes to create public viewing areas and fishing platforms as well as logs to help protect the banks.
The contractor started work on 6 February 2012. The project should be completed by the end of April 2012.
Don't forget you can get involved with what's happening at the Aquadrome Local Nature Reserve by becoming a Friend.
If you would like more information about the Friends of the Aquadrome LNR then please get in touch with Kay FitzGerald at email@example.com or call 01923 776611.
AquadromeImprovements at the Aquadrome