The Green Heart of Poringland


Secure Container Delivered 

Earlier today Poringland Lakes took delivery of a new storage container. 

Costing £2,200, it marks the lakes’ biggest investment since the site was purchased in 2005.  The cost was offset by a generous grant from Saffron Community Trust who kindly contributed £1,200 to the acquisition.  The remaining money was raised by PCFLA, mainly through its popular Patrons and Friends schemes. 

Installing the 20 foot container proved to be a challenge for Anglo Scottish driver Andy.  Despite restricted access and ground softened by the early morning rain, he skilfully manoeuvred the unit into position before carefully lowering onto four sturdy railway sleepers. 

Delegates from Saffron Community Trust will formally ‘open’ the unit at 11am on Friday 13 November when the grant cheque will be presented to the Trustees. 

We hope to bring you more details of the event in due course. 

Container Groundworks Completed 

Work was completed over the weekend to prepare the ground in readiness for delivery of a secure storage unit. 

Local contractor Mick Waller spent a couple of hours levelling out the site and tidying up the brash before head bailiff Ray Noble marked out the area. 

“Hopefully the container will be delivered in the next couple of weeks” said Ray. 

The 20ft by 8ft storage unit, sympathetically finished in conservation green, will be discreetly and sensitively housed just inside the gate.  The unit was purchased thanks to a generous £1,200 grant from Saffron Community Foundation. 

Lakes “Highly Commended” at Prestigious Award Ceremony

Poringland Conservation and Fishing Lakes have finished runners-up in a top countywide environment award. 

Organised by the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership (NBP), the awards celebrate the achievements of individuals and groups who have gone the extra mile within their community to make a difference for wildlife and people. 

The association was “highly commended” in the Best Group category, narrowly losing out to the winners, Shotesham Conservation Group. 

The judging panel was particularly impressed by the lakes and “their community effort over a short timescale to save the conservation ponds at Poringland and the diversity of wildlife there.” 

The Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership Awards, now in their twelfth year, recognise the county’s most inspiring environmental and conservation projects. 

The awards were presented at a special ceremony at the Abbey Conference centre last evening. 

Receiving the award on behalf of the Association, trustee and founder member Ray Noble said “This is public recognition for our wonderful group of volunteers, sponsors and friends who have all pulled together to save and enhance this gem at the heart of the village.” 

The Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership (NBP) was established in 1996 and is a partnership of 23 partner organisations including The Conservation Volunteers, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Norwich City Council, RSPB, district councils and Norfolk County Council. 

Arrangements are being made to display the certificate in Poringland Community Centre.

Patron Presents Spade

One of the lakes most enthusiastic patrons, Mike Sadd of Mirador Developments, has kindly donated a ceremonial spade to lakes.

The generous gift was immediately put to good use at the celebration day when it was used to plant a commemorative oak to mark completion of the restoration project. 

“Mike is one of our staunchest supporters” said Association chairman Rod Witham.  “It was a very kind gesture to present the spade which is much appreciated.”

Water Quality Gets Thumbs Up

Monitoring water quality in fishing lakes is important to ensure the fish have the right conditions to stay healthy. Pathogens (disease causing organisms) are commonly found in the water or even on the fish themselves but are controlled by their immune system. An imbalanced environment can put stress on the fish and this weakens their immune system leaving them at risk from potential disease or infections. 

Using a water test kit purchased by the lakes, aquaculture student Neil Edwards was able to test the levels of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and broad PH level and was pleased to see the results for each show suitable levels for our fish species. 

“The water quality is really good” assured Neil.  “There are some other areas of water quality that I hope to be able to monitor over spring/summer to ensure the water is in the best shape it can be but so far so good!” he added.

Lakes Feature in National Magazine 

Poriingland Lakes features in this week’s edition of Angler’s Mail (5 to 11 May 2015). 

Eastern region columnist Tom Legge has penned an excellent piece about the lakes in his weekly “Where to Fish” page describing Poringland Lakes as “A community managed venue with a perfect balance of wildlife, fishing and conservation lakes.” 

The article is accompanied by a photograph of one well known local angler proudly cradling a big carp he caught only last week.         

If you want to know what was published and who our mystery angler is, pop down to your nearest W H Smith or newsagent.  It will be £1.90 well spent! 

Visitor Numbers Soar

The recent publicity campaign has certainly seen a marked increase in visitors to Poringland Lakes. 

Now more people are aware of the village’s hidden treasure, they are targeting the lakes as a destination for a walk, especially in the warmer evenings and at weekends.       

“We love coming up here” said one couple.  “It is so quiet and peaceful.  We sit on the logs, watch the wildlife and just enjoy the solitude.  We have lived in the village for over 20 years and never knew this wonderful place existed” they added.

 Viewing Platform Discussed

The trustees are considering a proposal to construct a viewing platform overlooking the lakes. 

At 70 metres above sea level, the conservation area is one of the highest points locally and commands stunning views over the lakes and distant countryside. 

Although only at the discussion stage, several local people are in favour of the idea including countryside access specialist Raz Woollacott who visited the site recently and was certainly impressed with what he saw. 

“The site is a real gem” said Raz.  “It’s heartening to know that you guys and others are doing such a good job looking after its welfare.” 

After giving the idea the thumbs up, Raz added “I think you should seriously consider doing the steps.  I wish you luck in getting funding and hands-on help in doing the physical.” 

Although at the embryo stage, the committee gave the proposal a warm reception. 

“We would have to carefully consider the safety issues and consult with our neighbours before making any firm decisions” said head bailiff Ray Noble.                

“Judging by our meeting with Raz Woollacott, it appears the project is certainly ‘do-able’ although we would have to find the money and manpower to carry out the work” added Ray.    

Lakes Fully Stocked 

The final piece in the restoration programme was slotted into place earlier today when close on 2,000 fish were introduced into the lakes.

The re-stocking centred mainly on lakes Noble and Duffield where a mixture of quality carp, tench and roach were released. 

Under the watchful eye of Framlingham Fisheries’ consultant Chris Vickers and Poringland Lakes’ Neil Edwards (pictured above), the fish, some weighing up to six pounds, were carefully selected and graded before being set free.        

Fishing in the Glen Duffield Memorial Lake will be suspended until 25 December 2014 to allow the fish time to acclimatise to their new environment.  In the meantime, fishing in lakes Gudgeon and Noble promises to be better than ever! 

Publicity Campaign Launched


Poringland Lakes biggest ever publicity campaign has been launched. 

During the next few days, over 3,250 lakes leaflets will be distributed with the Five Plus community magazine to businesses and homes in Bixley, Caistor St Edmund, the Framinghams, Stoke Holy Cross and Poringland. 

Not only will the special drop heighten public awareness but it is hoped some readers will become Friends of the Lakes and volunteer to join working parties. 

The leaflets have been funded by Drayton Insurance Services who have recently opened a local office in The Street, Poringland. 

Association chairman Dave Gudgeon was quick to acknowledge the company’s involvement. 

“We are indebted to Drayton Insurance Services for their generous support” said Dave.  “Not only have they funded the leaflets but for the next twelve months, the company will make a £5 donation for every new policy taken out on production of the leaflet.” 

A former editor of the Five Plus himself, Dave also credited the part played by current editor David Hewer and his willing distributors. 

“Without David Hewer’s support, we wouldn’t have been able to distribute the leaflets so widely” added Dave.

Lake Remedials Completed Ahead of Restocking 

Over half a ton of Bentonite granules have been sprinkled into the Glenn Duffield Memorial Lake in an effort to reduce water seepage.

Despite the recent wet weather, water levels have slowly declined.  Following advice from specialist contractor Mick Waller Engineering Services, the committee agreed to carry out the work ahead of the restocking programme planned for early December.  Bentonite is a natural clay substance that will not affect fish or pondlife.

 It is hoped that when the sodium bentonite makes contact with the water, it will swell and seal any small fissures

Re-stocking Planned for December 

Despite falling water levels in Lake Duffield, the management committee has agreed to press ahead with the re-stocking programme as planned. 

It is expected that close on 2,000 carp, tench and roach of various sizes, including carp to six pounds, will be introduced to the lakes in early December at cost of £2,500.  The expenditure will be met from season and day ticket sales and a generous anonymous donation of £1,000. 

It was decided that each lake should continue to be a mixed fishery, although Lake Duffield will be developed into the ‘specimen’ lake. 

The re-stocking is provisionally scheduled for Thursday 4 December. 

Plugging the Gap

Plans are in hand to deposit over half a ton of Bentonite chippings into the Glenn Duffield Memorial Lake in an attempt to stem water loss.

After carefully monitoring falling water levels for the past three weeks, the management committee has endorsed a recommendation from engineering specialist, Mick Waller Pumps, to plug what could be a gap in the recently installed geo-textile lining. 

It is hoped that by sprinkling granular Bentonite on the water surface, particles will sink to the bottom of the lake and be drawn into porous areas where they will swell and reduce the seepage. 

The work is expected to begin shortly.

Concern at Falling Water Levels 

A check on the three vent pipes at Poringland Lakes confirmed the system is working correctly despite the loss of water in the Glenn Duffield Memorial Lake. 

Head bailiff Ray Noble confirmed that the water level in the black pipe was some eight feet below the lake water level which indicates that the pipe is working correctly.  Concerns have been raised after fears that the lake was slowly losing water. 

“We will continue to monitor the situation” said Ray.  “It may be that the lake bed is still settling down and absorbing water.  Alternatively there may be a problem with the lining.  We will have to see how things pan out” explained Ray.  “We have a management committee meeting on Thursday when water levels will be high on the agenda.”

Volunteers also took the opportunity to extend the black vent pipe on lake three where, accordingly to the bailiff, water levels are holding up remarkably well, indeed following the recent wet spell, water is slowly dripping into the overflow system. 

Lakes Named and Re-Numbered

Following completion of the lakes restoration programme and comments expressed at the annual general meeting, the management committee has agreed to re-number and name the lakes after three of the Association’s founder members.

Running from right to left as you enter the site, in future the lakes will be known as lake one (Glenn Duffield Memorial Lake), lake two (Dave Gudgeon Lake) and lake three (Ray Noble Lake).

The remaining ‘pits’ will be termed ‘ponds’ and called the large conservation pond and the small conservation pond.

In due course the site maps on the website and noticeboard will be updated and consideration will be given for some additional signage.

Benefactor’s Grand Gesture 

A mysterious benefactor has gifted £1,000 to the PCFLA “to continue the wonderful work being done at Poringland Lakes.” 

The surprise announcement was made at the Association’s annual general meeting held at the Dove pub. 

Association chairman Dave Gudgeon called it a “wonderful gesture” and said “We cannot thank this person enough for their generosity and support.” 

Parking Review

A review of car parking arrangements at the lakes will begin shortly following a debate at the annual meeting. 

Until now, season ticket holders have been allowed to park on the bankside, close to their pegs, but following observations from neighbours and concerns expressed by some trustees about the impact of parking on the environment, the management committee will review arrangements. 

Among proposals is a complete ban on parking, other than blue badge holders, which would require the existing car park to be extended.  Another suggestion is to restrict parking to the left hand side of grassed area inside the access gate. 

The management committee is expected to review options at its next meeting. 

Founders Honoured

The management committee have been asked to consider renumbering and re-naming the lakes to make identification easier – and in doing so recognise the enormous contribution made by two of its founders. 

Following the untimely death of Glenn Duffield, one of the lakes has already been renamed the Glenn Duffield Memorial Lake.  Now under emerging proposals, it is planned to name the remaining lakes in honour of stalwarts Dave Gudgeon and Ray Noble. 

The committee is expected to ratify the proposal at its next meeting. 

Angler Hooked 

A red faced angler had to pay an emergency visit to the doctor’s surgery earlier today after literally getting hooked on fishing. 

The hapless fisherman who we won’t name to save his blushes but for the sake of this article we’ll call Terry, got a baiting needle hooked into his forearm.  In a desperate effort to remove the needle, Terry called on the services of two other anglers but still they failed to dislodge the embedded tool. 

Finally Terry had no option but to pay a visit to the local surgery where a doctor duly extracted the needle – much to the doctor’s amusement and Terry’s blushes!!! 

Lifebuoy Installed

Association treasurer George Shearer (left) pictured with South Norfolk Councillor John Overton 

A vital piece of equipment, a lifebuoy complete with throwing rope and housing, has been installed at Poringland Lakes.

“With more and more people visiting the lakes, it was essential that we provided a lifebuoy” said Association treasurer George Shearer.

“We are indebted to Councillor John Overton who has been instrumental in providing this life saving aid” added George.

The safety unit was funded by a grant by South Norfolk Council.

Brydon Masterclass

True to his word, star angler Daniel Brydon, returned to Poringland Lakes, less than 48 hours after making his first ever visit.  Rather than fishing himself, Daniel focused on his other passion, showing novices how to catch fish.

Following a brief introduction from the master, it wasn't long before his pupil, fittingly another Daniel, was soon amongst the action, landing a good sized bream and a pristine carp within minutes under Brydon's experienced tuition.

"I've driven through Poringland literally hundreds of times but never knew this place existed" said a surprised Brydon.  "It really is lovely spot and will be great when all construction work is finished” added Daniel. 

Despite his hectic schedule, Daniel promised to return in the Spring, once the remodelled and restocked lakes have stabilised, to run a series of coaching sessions for local youngsters.

"This is wonderful news" said bailiff Ray Noble."It has always been my dream to hold some basic tuition courses for local school kids.  Now with Daniel’s help and guidance, that dream could become a reality next year” said Ray excitedly. 

Star Angler Visits Lakes 

 One of the country’s top anglers made a surprise visit to Poringland Lakes yesterday. 

Norfolk-based fisherman Daniel Brydon (pictured centre above) who only last week starred in the live Sky televised Fish O’Mania XXI, popped into the lakes to look at how the project was progressing – and by all accounts was very impressed with what he saw. 

Brydon, who was edged out of first place in Fish O-Mania, had the consolation of picking up the £5,000 runner-up prize and pocketed a further £1,000 for landing the biggest fish, an 11 lb common carp. 

So taken was he by the Poringland transformation, that Daniel hoped to return soon to wet a line - and try to catch an even bigger specimen!

Willow Crashes into Lake

Volunteers were hard at work this morning, removing a large willow tree that had been blown down by high winds and was partially submerged in lake three.

Smartphone Version Unveiled 

A special iPhone version of the Poringland Lakes website is now available for Smartphone users.  Just click on www.poringlandlakes.co.uk and the Smartphone version will load automatically.  The desktop edition can still be viewed as usual.

Riot of Colour

The apron of lake threeo is a now a riot of colour as wildflowers blanket the lake’s perimeter.  It really is a magnificent sight. 

Sand and Gravel Boost 

The Poringland Lakes restoration programme has received a welcome boost with the news that Poringland Sand and Gravel Allotment has awarded a grant of £150 towards the project. 

The news was welcomed by Association treasurer Dr George Shearer who said “In the past few months, we have spent over three thousand pounds safeguarding the future of Poringland Lakes.  Our  reserves are now running perilously low, so we are delighted that the Sand and Gravel Charity has offered to assist us in maintaining and enhancing this wonderful site.” 

Operation Clean-Up

Another piece in the restoration programme will be slotted in place on Saturday 21 June when Association members and local volunteers will spend ‘the longest day’ clearing up over half a century’s rubbish.

Already a pile of rubbish including old washing machines, bike frames, car tyres and abandoned wheelbarrows has been stacked ready to be transferred to skips and moved off site but still a lot has to be done, dragging out rubbish from the lakes edges including retrieving a huge tractor tyre.  It is also hoped to do some scrub clearance to encourage more growth, particularly in the wooded areas. 

Work is scheduled to start at 9am and is expected to continue well into the afternoon – so if you could spare a couple of hours on Saturday 21 June, every pair of hands would be welcome! 

 Fish Transfer Success 

For the past two weekends, volunteers have been pumping lake one in readiness for it to be lined. 

Masterminded by specialist contractor Mick Waller Engineering Services, the operation enabled water levels to be sufficiently lowered to allow the few remaining fish to be netted and safely transferred to other lakes.

Despite the lengthy operation which virtually saw the lake reduced to a puddle (see pic above), the following morning levels had returned as the spring-fed lake quickly regenerated to a depth of twelve inches, still some six feet below the ‘normal’ water level (see pic below).