Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A once special place

Talk of special places in my last post brought back memories of somewhere very dear to me, this is taken from a diary piece I wrote in February 2010

Paradise lost

I fished this old estate lake several years ago and had the chance to take up a ticket again this season, there's not a great deal left in there size wise nowadays to be honest, I've had some lovely fish in years gone by but between my periods of membership some were sold it seems, not that there was ever a great head of carp anyway. You will have to excuse the quality of some of these old pictures, they preceed digital and I've taken digital pictures of the stills to upload them

The view from the dam wall
 God was it a stunning place, totally private down a meandering valley and you hardly ever saw a soul, very few anglers and no general public allowed at all. At the top of the lake lies a stately home just visible through the trees and beside it sits a church dating back to the 1650's, the public roam that area and that tiny glimpse of the real world so near yet so far away just emphasised even more how lucky I was to be all alone in such a wonderful spot.

Looking across to the wood bank

A few fish from years gone by
 Twice last year I saw deer within 30 yards at the most from me, once along the path from the bivvy and once even closer whilst I was out wading, truly magical. It was incredibly overgrown, I spent time down there with petrol hedgecutters and a brushcutter just making small pathways and room for a bivvy while being so careful not to destroy what its all about.

Could you wish for anything more?

Tucked away
I only caught two carp during a few visits in the summer and size was insignificant, an ancient looking old mirror that seemed to fit in well with its surroundings and a common of around the same size, it didn't matter much, the fish were almost a side line

An old warrior
I found myself with a few hours spare on Sunday afternoon so thought i'd grab a bit of piking, i'd heard it had done a fair few lately.

Imagine my feelings to be greeted by this.

Words cannot describe it, I'm just devastated, I lasted about an hour and had to leave, my heart wasn't in it. Apparently the owner has been given a grant to turn it into parkland as it was many years ago, a bit ironic seeing as he also owns a sawmill i'm sure there was plenty of profit heading that way as it is. I can't say any more I am truly lost for words I feel like crying.

I feel that i've lost an old friend

That was two years ago, looking back at it now has brought back a lot of memories and a lot of sadness, needless to say I didn't renew my membership. We do still visit the public side of the estate now and then but I tend to avoid looking across at the lake, they said that time would heal it well and that it would once again become a lovely lake, maybe they are right but it will never return to what it was to me, it took many years to create such a place but just a few weeks to destroy it


  1. Rob,

    that is a truly a stunning looking place to have had an opportunity to fish, it looks so full of character and very Crabtree esque and so very intimate, it looks a Redmire in its own right.

    Then to read further down and see the pictures of what has been done to it, I can understand why you would feel so much disheartenment, I would too and have done on stillwaters I have fished in years gone by, where people have gone free for all across every single tree or bush and not leaving nothing but a path of destruction and dismemberment.

    It looks like you had some real nice looking fish and fond memories of this water. hopefully time might heal the unecessary scars of the over zealous chainsaw.

    Kind Regards

  2. Hello Mark

    My time on the estate actually goes back further than this lake, this one is the second of two along the valley, the first is right next to that church you can see on one of the pictures, still a stunning place in its own right with the house and church right next to it but a very different lake. That one started to suffer when all of the bankside bushes were cut down one year, the lake was silting up badly and choked with weed to the extent of being virtually unfishable most summers. Then the house, which at the time was a Leonard Cheshire hospice, was sold and bought by a member of the family that originally owned it and the top lake was lost to angling.

  3. I think it was Walker that made the comment 'never go back to those special places'. It's true that nearly always the memory is better than the new reality!

  4. Very true, and Tref said to me make the most of what you've got in this game because nothing lasts forever, he aint wrong.

    Fact is if I saw it for the first time now I'd probably think it was wonderful

  5. Man thats so sad to see, What a great place it was and some wonderful fish you had caught, it looked so tranquil at first then the lordy gets a grant, Time will heal it but its going to be a long long time before it will get back to what it was and then only if they let it, I have seen this before over the last 50+ years and its not about making it useable or park land its always about the money, Dont get your hopes up of ever seeing it as you remember it, Just remember it as only you can, Its a crying shame Rob,
    Heres to the memories,

  6. Hi, found your blog and followed. JGR

  7. this is a truly great blog and its hopefully inspiring me to get the gear out of the loft,once in 10 years! child and family and music, football, scooters,sidelines etc got in the way! but alas no more of that match fishing anymore! myself and my buddies would do some serious miles to lincolnshire and nottinghamshire to fish rivers and lakes,no more of that! 30 lakes within a 20 mile radius of home and the river don on the way to work!! keep up the good work!

  8. Pete thats very kind of you mate, I don't know about great but if it gives you the kick you need to get back out there then I'd take that as a great compliment, go get em ;)!

  9. Rob.

    Great blog. Those wonderful common carp, they seem to look better from old estate lakes. It's as if the fish know how to look in such places full of history and grandure.

    best regards.

  10. Thanks Richard

    Your right estate lakes were made for commons weren't they


  11. Rob, pardon me for asking but is this the lake on Staunton Harold estate, the house is sort of ringing a bell??

  12. Hello Dave
    Yes it is mate, thats the lower of the two lakes the Serpentine, the one next to the church is the Home lake

  13. That's proper fishing! Nice blog Rob :)

  14. Shocking Rob , its one of those cases were going back to an old haunt aint a good idea , they never seem to be the same and rarely have they changed for the better . :(