The Green Heart of Poringland


Poringland Lakes is a truly important local open space.

Surrounded by housing development, it provides a vital and varied habitat for animals and flora.

The centre-piece is its three lakes and two conservation ponds which are rich in invertebrates and fish.  Created by the extraction of sand and gravel, the lakes attract a great variety of birdlife and are colonized by wetland plants. Dragonflies and other aquatic insects are common.


White water-lilies (photograph - Nick Elsey)

The lakes have a very rich flora comprising rooted, surface-floating and planktonic plant life supporting an abundant animal population.

White and fringed water-lilies are common.  There are patches of marginal vegetation, largely composed of lesser reedmace and common reed.  These areas are very important for breeding dragon and damselflies. 

The edges of the lake have open areas interspersed with willow scrub. 

The lakes are attractive and are the main focus for visitors. 

Temporary Wetland 

This area is quite extensive and is potentially the most important for wildlife on the whole site. 

It is dominated by water purslane, soft rush, sharp-flowered rush, lesser spearwort and gipsywort.  

A woodland bank borders this area and the footpath causeway is surrounded by willow, birch and gorse scrub.

This is the first area to dry out and usually remains this way throughout the summer.



Grassland is scattered throughout the site but the largest and most important piece lies just through the access gate (pictured above).  The gravelly acid grassland is heavily rabbit grazed and has a nice open sward with moss patches of bank haircap moss) and broom moss.  Sheep’s sorrel, bird’s foot, procumbent pearlwort and common storksbill occur here.  Of the grasses, sheeps fescue, red fescue and the interesting squirrel tail fescue predominate. 

This area of open low grassland attracts quite different insects to the lush tall grassland of the site and the grassy paths.  This area is covered by a very gelatinous unusual alga.  It is a good area for ants and solitary bees.  The grassland also provides a home for many insects including moths. 


The site contains some limited areas of woodland.  There are a few oak and sycamore trees together with some hawthorn.  Largely confined to the steep slopes, the woodland provides ideal nesting sites for many birds as it remains undisturbed and is difficult to access. 


The site contains two distinct types of scrub, gorse and birch on the higher ground and willow scrub in the damper areas.  This habitat provides food, nesting sites and song posts for a number of breeding birds. 


Poringland Lakes is a haven for a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and  insects including kingfishers, roe deer, lizards and dragonflies.  The wonderful array of species include: 

Bats (Common pipistrelle, Noctule (UK’s biggest bat)

The University of East Anglia regularly conducts a bat survey at the lakes.

Birds (All common garden birds plus Blackcap, Grey Heron, Jay, Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Tawny Owl - and even the occasional Buzzard.

We hope to bring you more information about the lake's birdlife in the near future.

Butterflies and Moths

Red Admiral (Photograph - Nick Elsey)

Damselflies and Dragonflies (Four-spotted chaser, Emperor, Norfolk Darter)

Essex Skipper on Ragworth


Deer (Muntjac, Roe), Fox, Grey Squirrel, Rabbit

This remarkable photo by Steve Wakefield shows a hungry rat tackling a grass snake at Poringland Lakes.

Reptile and Amphibians

Common lizard, Common newt, Common toad, Grass snake, Slow Worms


Hoverfly (Eristalis pertinax) on Ragwort in August (photograph - Nick Elsey)

Flora and Fauna 

An independent environmental audit revealed the wonderful variety of plants growing at the Lakes.  These include:

Acer pseudoplatanus - Sycamore
Achillea millefolium - Yarrow
Agrostis capillaris- Common Bent
Agrostis stolonifera – Creeping Bent
Alisma plantago-aquatica – Water-plantain
Anchusa arvensis - Bugloss
Apium nodiflorum - Fool’s Watercress
Arrhenatherum elatius - False Oat-grass
Artemisia vulgaris - Mugwort
Ballota nigra - Black Horehound
Betula pendula – Silver Birch
Bromus hordeaceus – Soft Brome
Bromus sterilis - Sterile Brome
Calystegia sepium – Hedge Bindweed
Callitriche stagnalis – Common Water Starwort
Cerastium fontanum – Common Mouse-ear
Centaurium erythraea - Common Centuary
Chamerion angustifolium - Rosebay 
Cirsium arvense – Creeping Thistle
Coronopus didymus – Lesser Swine-cress
Crassula tillaea - Mossy Stonecrop
Crepis capillaris - Smooth Hawksbeard
Cytisus scoparius - Broom
Dactylis glomerata - Cocksfoot 
Elodea canadensis - Canadian Waterweed
Epilobium hirsutum - Great Willowherb
Epilobium montanum – Broad-leaved Willowherb
Epilobium palustre - Marsh Willowherb
Equisetum arvense – Field Horsetail
Equisetum fluviatile - Water Horsetail
Erodium cicutarium - Common Storksbill
Eupatorium cannabinum – Hemp Agrimony
Euphorbia helioscoipa – Sun Spurge
Euphorbia peplus – Petty Spurge
Festuca ovina – Sheep’s Fescue
Festuca rubra- Red Fescue
Geranium molle - Dovesfoot Cranesbill
Geranium dissectum – Cut-leaved Cranesbill
Glechoma hederacea – Ground Ivy
Hottonia palustris – Water Violet
Hypericum perforatum – Perforate St John’s Wort
Hypochaeris radicata - Catsear
Juncus acutiflorus – Sharp-flowered Rush
Juncus articulatus - Jointed Rush
Juncus bufonius - Toad Rush
Juncus effusus - Soft Rush
Lamium album - White Dead-nettle
Lamium purpureum - Red Dead-nettle
Leontodon hispidus - Rough Hawkbit
Leucanthemum vulgare – Ox-eye Daisy
Lotus corniculatus - Birdsfoot Trefoil
Lycopus eoropaeus – Gipsywort
Lythrum portula - Water Purslane
Medicago  lupulina – Black Medick
Mercurialis annua - Annual Mercury
Mimulus guttatus - Monkeyflower
Myosotis laxa – Tufted Forgetmenot
Myosotis arvensis - Field Forgetmenot
Myosotis scorpioides - Water Forgetmenot
Nymphaea alba - White Water-lily
Nymphoides peltatus - Fringed Water-lily
Ornithopus perpusillus - Birdsfoot
Papaver rhoeas - Common Poppy
Persicaria maculosa - Redleg
Phragmites australis - Common Reed
Plantago coronopus - Buckshorn Plantain
Plantago lanceolata - Ribwort Plantain
Plantago media – Hoary Plantain
Poa annua - Annual Meadow-grass
Potamogeton natans – Broad-leaved Pondweed
Pulicaria dysenterica – Common Fleabane
Quercus robur – Pendunculate Oak
Ranunculus acris - Meadow Buttercup
Ranunculus flammula – Lesser Spearwort
Ranunculus repens - Creeping Buttercup
Rosa canina - Dog Rose
Rubus fruticosus agg. - Bramble
Rumex acetosa – Common Sorrel
Rumex acetosella - Sheep’s Sorrel
Rumex obtusifolius – Broad-leaved Dock
Sagina apetala - Annual Pearlwort
Sagina procumbens - Procumbent Pearlwort
Salix alba - White Willow
Salix caprea - Goat Willow
Salix cinerea - Grey Willow
Senecio jacobaea – Common Ragwort
Senecio squalidus  - Oxford Ragwort
Silene dioica - Red Campion
Silene latifolia - White Campion
Silene vulgaris - Bladder Campion
Spergularia rubra – Sand Spurrey
Sonchus asper - Rough Sow-thistle
Stachys sylvatica - Hedge Woundwort
Stellaria graminea – Lesser Stitchwort
Stellaria media – Common Chickweed
Taraxacum officinale  - Dandelion sp
Torilis japonica - Hedge Parsley
Trifolium dubium - Lesser Trefoil
Trifolium repens - White Clover
Typha latifolia - Bulrush
Urtica dioica - Stinging Nettle
Veronica beccabunga - Brooklime
Veronica chamaedrys - Germander Speedwell
Veronica officinalis - Heath Speedwell
Veronica serpyllifolia – Thyme-leaved Speedwell
Vulpia bromoides – Squirrel-tail Fescue
Vicia sepium - Bush Vetch


Family Fortunes 

A family of ducks has returned to Poringland Lakes. 

Earlier in the year a duck and drake were resident at the lakes but recently disappeared, raising concerns about their safety and whereabouts.

Happily today, the mother duck returned with her brood of eight fully fledged youngsters.  The new residents looked perfectly at home in their new abode, digging for food around the lake edges.