Birth of a Fishery... the 'Saga' continues
by Dave Mason

When we last visited Pete Thexton at his Aldecar Lane fishery, the diggers had really only just moved in. Three months on, the lakes had begun to take on their characteristic shapes. Footings went in for the clubhouse and thoughts had turned to planting and stocking.

With weather that seemed to be a permanent feature of these past years, a problem of immense proportion and not inconsiderable irony had arisen: WATER!

Even when your end result is a lake, land still needs to be fairly dry for diggers to operate, and with the amount of rain over the previous months, dry land has been a precious commodity. So precious in fact, that the project became nearly 6 weeks behind schedule!

When Pete originally dug the borehole to judge the level of the water table, he was delighted that it filled within 24 hours... “no shortage of water here!” was his 'Battle Cry'. It became more a case of “water, water, everywhere” while trying to keep man and machine moving round it. To this end, several pumps were kept constantly running to keep the lakes under construction dry, and allow the diggers to continue their task. It’s a never ending job which proved on a particular occasion, futile as one of the smaller diggers simply couldn’t cope with the mud, and slid unceremoniously, into a ditch! Luckily the driver was able to extract himself from what could have otherwise become a very muddy long term residence! A larger machine was able to pull his smaller relative from the 'gooey' mess later!

The Clubhouse promised to be one of the most luxurious of any fishery, if the plans were anything to go by. The footings were complete and concrete was on order for the foundations... no wooden shed or Portakabin here. It would be a proper brick built affair, with toilets, meeting room, as well as planning permission for a kitchen... to serve those all important pre-match breakfasts.

The first lake that had been started (Lake 1) had now come to a bit of a standstill, as extra earth was required to build up the banks. This lake was actually on an incline, and as you may appreciate, there’s no such thing as a lake running up a hill. Instead, work had been switched and was now gathering pace on Lake 2, the furthest from the car park and clubhouse end of the development.

In our final instalment, you'll see the profile of this lake beginning to take shape. Today, it’s starting to fill with water, meaning the basic lake itself, is done! There’s still plenty of work to be completed on the banks, but that wet bit in the middle is finished!!!

The pumps that were running overtime, were all pumping water into this lake, and away from Lake 1, which although nowhere near ready, would naturally fill with water, along with other parts of the complex. With this in mind, water plants had been prepared, reeds carefully removed from the boggy part of the site and other plants, like lilies placed on order. It wouldn’t be long before the first lake to be finished, Lake 2, paradoxically, was ready for planting, with stocking following soon after.

Lake 3, identical to 2, was well on its way, but had the same problem as 1... too much water! Again, this was being pumped into Lake 2, not only to enable work to continue, but also to accelerate the filling of that lake.

Lake 4 was still in its infancy with just the top soil removed, ready for storage and use elsewhere on the complex, prior to the commencement of its proper excavation.

The worst of the rain finally abated and work continued to gather momentum on the complex before it undoubtedly returned!

With the land being so very wet and the water table consequently so high, thousands of plastic walkway boards have been ordered to create footpaths around the lakes. These were like giant doormats, about a metre by half a metre in area, a couple of inches deep and made up of a grid of very strong, hard plastic. These would be laid all round each lake, along the walkways from the car park to the lakes. As the area gradually matured, grass would grow through the lattice of each mat making them virtually invisible. The beauty of this is that it would create a safe and stable path to walk on and look perfectly natural. Maintenance would need no more than the occasional mowing... perfect!

We’ll return shortly to see how things have progressed.


Eds Note: Our apologises for the delay in getting part 2 ready. Part 3 will be available at the end of this month and will show the advances that Pete has made with the complex... as well as some welcoming results!