The Green Heart of Poringland


Important Message - posted 30 March 2020

Please note that all the events listed on this page have been suspended for the foreseeable future.  Further updates will follow in due course.

AGM Date Announced – posted 6 January 2020

The 2020 PCFLA annual general meeting will take place at Poringland Community Centre on Sunday 23 February commencing at 10am.

All supporters, volunteers and season ticket holders are invited to attend.

Bank Stabilisation - posted 11 November 2019

On Wednesday (13 November 2019) contractors will start work on stabilising the bank between the lakes and Potters Way.  This will involve the use of earth moving equipment and other heavy plant.

Norfolk Homes will secure the area and there will be no access to the Mound while the work is in progress.  However the fishing lakes will remain open.

Unfortunately the stablisation work will require the removal of much of the existing gorse and bankside vegetation and the loss of a semi-mature oak tree which is danger of falling onto the carriageway.

In order to properly profile the bank to prevent further erosion, it may be necessary to widen the existing pathway to retain access for the public, in particular dog walkers.

Once the works have been completed, the area will be replanted.

It is not known how long the works will take so we apologise to visitors for any inconvenience and thank them for their understanding during this period.

Tree Work Planned

Work is expected to start this week (Monday 2 September) cutting back the some of the lakes' mature oaks abutting the new housing development in Potters Way.  The canopies are spreading across much of the new carriageway, so developers Norfolk Homes have offered to reduce the width before the new houses are occupied.

Soon a 1.8 metre wire mesh fence will be erected along the entire lakes’ boundary with Potters Way, so restricting access and improving site security.

Lakes Welcome Octagon Wives

On a glorious summer afternoon, the lakes welcomed Poringland Octagon Wives Group who enjoyed a guided walk around the conservation area.

Surprisingly, many of the 20 plus group had never visited to site before, one lady in particular declaring that she had lived in the village for over 40 years and had never known the place existed.

Everyone seemed duly impressed and enjoyed the occasion, so much so that the Wives Group kindly made a generous donation to the Association at the end of their visit.

It was particularly appropriate that the visit included representatives of Poringland Fuel Allotment charity who had kindly made a £5,000 grant available to the Association to help fund the £12,500 otter fencing project – and could see, first hand,  the fruits of their investment.

The Octagon Wives meet on the third Wednesday of each month, usually at 2pm in the Octagon Room adjoining All Saints Church. Visiting speakers and outings are regularly arranged, such as the visit to Poringland Lakes.

New members of the group can always be assured a warm welcome.  For more information, please contact Carol Fawkes on 01508 493559 for details.

Christmas Celebrated in Style 

A small but select band of Lakes’ supporters celebrated Christmas in style at the Old Feathers restaurant in Framingham Pigot. 

Despite numbers being slightly down on last year, everyone had a good time as they tucked into some delicious food and the odd glass of wine. 

Among those present were PCFLA president Dave Gudgeon, vice-president Mick Waller, chairman John Overton and founding trustee Ray Noble. 

“It was an excellent evening” said John Overton. “It was good to catch up with everyone as well as meeting a few people I have not met before.

You never know who you may bump into at Poringland Lakes Christmas dinner!!!

Lakes Showcase at Village Fete

Poringland Lakes’ stand at today’s village fete proved to be a popular attraction. 

Several visitors commented on the professional and informative display which chartered the lakes history as well as its various conservation and fishing initiatives including Family Fishing Days and the ever popular Kingfisher Club. 

So impressed were some visitors that they immediately signed up as a Friend of the lakes while others took away flyers advertising family fishing activities. 

Principal organiser and lakes’ trustee Ryan Westgarth was delighted. 

“There was a steady stream of local people visiting the stand throughout the day, taking a great deal of interest” explained Ryan. 

“My thanks for everyone for helping out, especially Daniel Morley who provided all the transport and Mark Casto for producing the exhibition display” he added. 

Christmas Celebrations 

The first ever PCFLA Christmas dinner proved a great success.

25 supporters and guests attended the celebratory social event at the Old Feathers, Framingham Pigot last night, enjoying a first class meal expertly crafted by head chef Steven Clarke and his staff

Speaking at the end of the evening, chairman of the trustees John Overton thanked everyone for their support, singling out individuals who had made a special contribution.

He said there was much to look forward in the year ahead including Norfolk Homes commitment to restore the two conservation ponds and fence the Potter Way boundary, the tree planting programme and the launch of the newly formed Kingfisher Club for youngsters which is particularly exciting.

Many of the guests enjoyed the evening so much that they suggested the Association should hold a few more social events.  A garden party at the lakes on a Summer evening was even suggested.  Watch this space!

Nature Day a Resounding Success  

Today’s nature study and fishing taster session has been widely applauded as a resounding success.  Eleven youngsters between the ages of seven and twelve from Wheatfen Forest School attended the bespoke session, combining nature study and fishing.  

The youngsters were split into two groups, each spending an hour studying the local flora and fauna followed by an hour long introduction to fishing.  Happily everyone managed to catch at least one fish, some even landing carp of up to four pounds.

The sessions were supervised by personnel from the school supported by Poringland Lakes’ own fishing champions.  Conservation experts Liz Dack and Peter Aspinall were on hand, conducting pond dipping, a nature ramble and answering questions.

Angling Trust level two coach Mark Casto who co-ordinated the visit, was thrilled with the event.

“Fishing and conservation has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, so being able to pass this knowledge on to the children today was fantastic” said Mark.  

“Not only that but combining the angling coaching with a nature session, pond dipping and learning all about the beautiful wildlife flowers and fauna at Poringland Lakes was a wonderful way to help these youngsters appreciate and learn about the diversity of nature” he added. 

Wheatfen Forest School spokesperson Rose Robin was gracious in her praise for the people and the day.

“It was a fabulous day, we all absolutely loved it!  You guys are unbelievably generous and made us feel so welcome” said Rose. 

Liz Dack, who is a well known volunteer with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and regularly helps out at the Trust's education and family events, was delighted with the day.

“I think the day went very well and everyone had a good time” said Liz.

“It was a pleasure to teach children who are really interested and attentive.  They were so interested in everything I told them and asked good constructive questions. 

“They all enjoyed hearing how to tell the difference between a male and female kingfisher.  Even the adults said they would remember it and would now know ‘the lady wears lipstick!” smiled Liz. 

A selection of Liz’s superb photos from the day can be viewed on


Nature Study and Fishing Taster Day Planned 

Poringland Lakes is to hold a special conservation and fishing day for a local school.

Following an approach from Wheatfen Forest School in Surlingham, the trustees have agreed to host a Saturday morning nature study and fishing taster session for youngsters between the ages of 7 and 12 on 1 October between 10am and 12noon.    

The group of 12 students will be split into two groups of six.  Each group will spend an hour studying the local flora and fauna followed by an hour long introduction to fishing and vice versa.  

The session will be supervised by personnel from the school supported by Poringland Lakes’ own fishing champions.  Conservation experts Liz Dack and Peter Aspinall will also be on hand to answer any questions on nature and conservation.  

Wheatfen Forest School provides a wide range of nature-based outdoor learning for children and young people, working with schools to create bespoke session plans ranging from one day to a whole term activities.  

“Linking with schools has always been one of the Association’s main priorities, so we are delighted that this request has been received” said Lakes’ president Dave Gudgeon.  

“We hope the event will be a huge success and result in similar requests from other schools” he added.   

AGM Date Set - Sunday 21 February 2016

The annual general meeting of the Poringland Conservation and Fishing Lakes Association (PCFLA) will take place at Poringland Community Centre on Sunday 21 February between 10am and 12 noon. 

As well as the usual administrative business, Poringland tree warden Henry Gowman will be outlining his proposals for a tree planting programme.  Local developer Mike Sadd will also be present to explain how the lakes will benefit from an environmentally friendly and sustainable water source linked to the neighbouring Mill Close development. 

Anglers should find the meeting particularly interesting.  Neil Edwards, who is studying for a degree in fishery management and aquaculture at Suffolk’s Otley College, will be leading a discussion on a number of fishing related topics including stocking and recruitment and balancing predation with conservation. 

The meeting will conclude with a question and answer session. 

All friends, supporters and season ticket holders are invited to attend but are asked to let the secretary know  by 19 February at the latest, so seating and administrative arrangements can be made ahead of the meeting.  The secretary can be contacted on 01508 493353 or via email at secretary@poringlandlakes.co.uk. 

A formal agenda will be circulated to attendees in advance.               

Should a ballot be required, only committee members are allowed to vote.  However input from guests is very welcome. 

Celebration Pleasure 

With the dust now settled on the celebration opening, many people have emailed or phoned to say what an enjoyable afternoon it was and how good it is to see the conservation area greening up again and looking so splendid. 

Perhaps the mood was best summed up by conservationist Peter Aspinall. 

“I just wanted to say how well the opening went” he said. 

“It was an absolute pleasure being there, hearing the speeches and meeting up with so many people.  Everyone I talked to was keen to see the lakes and conservation area maintained and improved.  It is so encouraging. 

“Poringland Lakes is fairly unique – a wildlife oasis in a desert of housing development.   The years ahead will bring pressure, literally on all sides, but the Trustees have an excellent relationship with neighbouring developers which can only be good for the future. 

“So this really will be an ongoing project but what has been achieved so far is truly remarkable.  It’s a fine balance, one that’s not easy to achieve. 

“Best of all, there is no ‘them and us’ barrier between the anglers and the conservationists, in fact quite the opposite.  The fishermen are constantly observing the wildlife around them, often feeding back valuable information about what they‘ve seen and heard.                 

“They’ll even have me casting a line soon” joked Peter who is also the warden at Flordon Common. 

Restoration Celebration Proves a Resounding Success 

On a glorious summer afternoon, over 50 friends and supporters attended the grand re-opening of Poringland Lakes. 

The event celebrated the restoration of the lakes by developers Norfolk Homes.  The company’s managing director Philip Makepeace planted an oak and unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. 

Special guest, angling celebrity John Bailey, spoke passionately about the importance of community lakes like Poringland and the need to encourage more youngsters to take up the sport. 

John recounted his balmy childhood days and how important fishing has been to him throughout his life.  It was this enthusiasm for angling that shone through in his acclaimed television series ‘In the Footsteps of Mr Crabtree’. 

Lakes President Dave Gudgeon told of his pride in what had been achieved at the lakes while District Councillor John Overton acknowledged the part played by volunteers and Norfolk Homes to ensure that the lakes truly are the ‘Gem of Poringland’. 

Special praise was given to Norfolk Homes groundwork team, Adrian Pegg and Mick Wright, for all their expertise and hard work over many months in lining the lakes. 

Other invited guests included District Councillor Lisa Neal, Norfolk County Council’s hydrogeologist, Charlie Wright, Poringland parish clerk Catherine Moore and lakes’ solicitor David Clark. 

A special presentation was made to head bailiff Ray Noble for his commitment and dedication to the lakes. 

The afternoon concluded with a guided tour by resident warden Peter Aspinall. 

“It was a brilliant afternoon” said Association president Dave Gudgeon. 

“Our thanks to everyone who attended, especially John Bailey and Philip Makepeace, and to Simply Donuts, Jeanne, Karen and Peter for providing the catering.” 

Final Touches Completed 

Final preparations for Friday’s grand opening were completed earlier today when a dozen volunteers made the most of the weather to tidy of the site ready for the big day. 

Thanks to their efforts, the grassed areas look superb, the gorse has been trimmed back, several years of accumulated brash was successfully moved and burned, a mountain of weed was removed from the conservation pond – and the dipping platform was successfully split and removed to a new location. 

Special thanks to Sue and Karen for providing the impromptu teas and hot sausage rolls which proved very popular.

Volunteers relax and enjoy a well deserved cuppa. 

Preparations Step Up a Gear 

While many of us were enjoying the Sunday summer sunshine, one man was out early this morning preparing for Friday’s celebration opening. 

Lakes’ vice-president Mick Waller, who has been instrumental in saving the lakes from disaster, was out with his digger filling in the holes in the car park in readiness for the influx of visitors expected on Friday. 

*i am really looking forward to the event” said Mick.  “Fingers crossed for good weather.”         

The celebration opening begins at 3pm.  Special guests include Philip Makepeace, managing director of Norfolk Homes and well-known angling celebratory John Bailey. 

Celebrity Angler to Attend Celebration

One of angling’s best known celebrities will attend the celebration opening of Poringland Lakes on Friday 12 June. 

John Bailey is a highly respected fishing author having published over 50 books on angling.  He is a weekly columnist for the Angler’s Mail and the Eastern Daily Press and writes frequently for The Field as well as many other coarse and fly-fishing magazines both at home and abroad including the prestigious Fly-fishers’ Journal in the United States. John also contributes regularly to the national press, notably the Daily Express and the Mirror and occasionally The Independent and The Times. 

However John is probably more famous for presenting the highly acclaimed television series ‘Fishing in the Footsteps of Mr Crabtree’ shown on Sky Sports. 

The programme, skilfully presented by John, recreates the original ‘Mr Crabtree goes Fishing’ comic strip story of a father who takes his son Peter on a series of angling adventures over the course of a year, fishing for a variety of species along the rivers and lakes of Britain. 

No stranger to the small screen, John has made nearly a hundred appearances on both satellite and terrestrial television. For many years he was a presenter on BBC2s Countryside Hour and A Week in the Country. Since then his remarkable On the Fly series has won awards and has been shown in many countries continually on Discovery and Sky. 

John has also been an adviser for Channel 4’s Screaming Reels team, and Radio 5's Dirty Tackle. His book The Fishing Detective was the inspiration behind the BBC series Tales from the Riverbank which was broadcast in 1997, and for which John was the presenter and consultant. 

Speaking on behalf of the Association, President Dave Gudgeon was thrilled at the news. 

“It’s really great that despite his numerous broadcasting, coaching and writing commitments that John has given up his valuable time to join us at the restoration celebration” said Dave excitedly. 

“John’s attendance will certainly give the day a huge boast” he added.

Celebration Opening – Friday 12 June 

During the past 18 months, Poringland Lakes has undergone a remarkable transformation. 

Following the dramatic water loss, developers Norfolk Homes carried out an ambitious and costly restoration project which saw the fishing lakes fully restored and the conservation ponds remodelled to allow better public access. 

To celebrate this extraordinary transformation, the Association is hosting a ‘re-opening’ ceremony at 3pm on Friday 12 June when the  managing director of Norfolk Homes will be planting an oak tree and plaque marking the occasion. 

It is hoped that the event will be attended by members of the Parish Council as well as our local patrons, friends, supporters and the media. 

If you would like to attend the celebration on 12 June, please would you let the secretary know by 1 June by emailing secretary@poringlandlakes.co.uk or ringing 01508 493353 so arrangements can be made for teas, coffees and light refreshments etc. 

Unfortunately parking will be at a premium, so visitors are strongly encouraged to walk or cycle to the lakes if possible. 

We’ll bring you more news of the opening soon.  In the meantime we hope as many readers as possible will be able join us. 

Show Stoppers 

A steady stream of visitors stopped by at the Poringland Lakes’ stand at today’s Silver Sunday, a nationwide programme to encourage the over-60s to become involved in community activities. 

The Lakes exhibition, featuring an impressive stand bedecked with posters, photos and a collection of exhibits, was one of the most popular stands at the event held at Poringland Community Centre. 

As well as featuring the good work of the Association, the PCFLA formally launched the Friends of Poringland Lakes, sponsored by Drayton Insurance Services, an exciting new initiative aimed at getting more local people involved in the Association’s activities. 

The day proved a resounding success with many visitors showing a keen interest in the lakes restoration project, some signing on the dotted line to become a Friend.

 The Lakes’ four trustees – Ray Noble, Richard Gooderham, George Shearer and Dave Gudgeon – pictured at this afternoon’s event.

Friends in the Community

 Poringland Lakes will be well represented at Silver Sunday, a nationwide programme to encourage the over-60s to become involved in community activities. 

As well as having a stand depicting the good work of the Association, the PCFLA will be formally launching the Friends of Poringland Lakes, an exciting new initiative aimed at getting more local people involved in the Association’s activities.  The Friends launch is backed by Drayton Insurance Services. 

Silver Sunday will take place at Poringland Community Centre on Sunday 5 October between 2pm and 4pm.  Admission is free as is the tea, coffee and cake! 

For further information, click on


Another Busy Day

The second in a series of working parties took place today with the priority on clearing some of the scrub from to copse and back of lake two and collecting and depositing horse manure into the Glen Duffield memorial lake.

Working Party – Friday 19 September 

With the weather forecast looking good later in the week, friends, season ticket holders and supporters are invited to another working party on Friday 19 September between 9am and 1pm. 

The priority on Friday will be 

•        thinning out the copse and the wooded area behind lake two (the GlenDuffield memorial lake), transporting the branches and scrub to an openarea and burning the brash.

•        cutting back and strimming the pathway leading up to the mount

•        collecting and bagging manure and depositing it into lake two

•        using the boat to cap the vent pipe in lake four. 

If you could spare a couple of hours to help out and bring along a rake and a stout pair of gloves, that would be really appreciated. 

AGM Date Announced

All Friends, supporters and season ticket holders are invited to attend the Association’s annual general meeting which will take place at the Dove public house on Monday 22 September at 2pm. 

This is a good opportunity to hear about the restoration programme and the Association’s plans for the future.  Friends will also have the opportunity to feed in their thoughts and views on the lakes future. 

Hope to see you there! 

Rain Fails to Dampen Volunteers Enthusiasm

The rather disappointing weather forecast didn't deter a dozen volunteers from attending today's working party. Everyone came well prepared and readily got stuck in to the hard work needed to improve certain areas of the site. 

For some it was carting loads of topsoil round to the far side of Lake Three so that the water level isn't higher than the path.

Others laboriously pruned out 'scores' of sallow and birch saplings from a small wooded area in the hope that the extra light will encourage the flora to grow.

One team assisted with the felling and clearing of an area near to Lake Four where a couple of mature sallows had become very dominant and was adversely affecting the under-storey of ferns, foxgloves and brambles. 

It is hoped this will be the start of a series of similar work parties which will benefit the flora and fauna – and keep the hardy band of volunteers fit and healthy! 

Working Party – Monday 1 September

The first in a series of working parties has been arranged for the afternoon of Monday 1 September starting at 1pm, subject to the contractors having left the site. 

The work programme includes coppicing the wooded area, removing cut branches to the bonfire, reed and rush planting, strimming grassed areas, installing the lifebuoy station and much more. 

“If any readers could spare a couple of hours to help, that would be very welcome” said chairman Dave Gudgeon. 

Further working parties will be arranged throughout the Autumn.  Please keep clicking on www.poringlandlakes.co.uk for further information. 

Nature Walk Heralded a Great Success

About 20 people, including those associated with this site over the long and short term, turned out on a beautiful sunny morning for an informal talk. 

A table of natural history exhibits was erected to show just some of the fauna that can be expected to be seen within the lakes area. From deer antlers to water beetles, everyone was able to enjoy close up views of many items which are not readily available to examine. A male Common Blue butterfly was temporarily caught so that the group could see the intricate markings on the underside of the wings.

Throughout the meeting there were enthusiastic discussions about the future management of the site so as to maintain and improve the habitat and its wildlife. As the party dispersed to various points around the site, several of whom watched a female Emperor dragonfly laying her eggs with Common Blue Damselflies and a Pond Skater in attendance. Typically, Red-eyed Damselflies were seen on the floating leaves of the Fringed Water-lilies.

Even with so many people about, a mature Grass Snake (pictured above)swam across lake three. Out on the bramble patch surrounding the car park there were good numbers of Gatekeeper butterflies, again showing what an excellent addition to the habitat th is plant is even though it is disliked by so many. 

Tentative plans have been proposed for another such event next Spring when the flowers will be at their peak.

Special Nature Talk at the Lakes

On Sunday 3 August, our resident naturalist Nick Elsey will be giving a special talk explaining the flora and fauna which can be found at Poringland Lakes.  Nick has a wealth of knowledge on the subject, so the “walk and talk” promises to be both interesting and informative. 

All members, patrons and friends are invited to attend the event which gets underway at 10.30am. 

Other website readers are also welcome to attend but please would you ring the Association secretary on 01508 493353, so we can make the necessary arrangements.