Ancient Lake Restoration Information Day

Monday 6th March 2017

Hedgecourt Lake open dayHedgecourt Lake - T. Anderson

Plans to improve historic Hedgecourt Lake for people and wildlife will be on show at a special family open day hosted by Surrey Wildlife Trust later this month.

The lake near East Grinstead is the most important wetland site remaining in East Surrey. Situated in the Upper Eden Brook Valley it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) but it has suffered over the years from nutrient-rich silt flowing in from Felbridge Water, which feeds the Hedgecourt reserve. 

Surrey Wildlife Trust is leading a partnership including the Environment Agency and Natural England to investigate the problems and find solutions to help prevent further deterioration and improve water quality and habitat.

"We know the lake and surrounding area are in an unfavourable condition due to silt and phosphate deposits over the years,” said Jim Jones, Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Living Landscapes Manager. 

“This badly affects the water quality and depth of the lake, which has a negative impact on wildlife diversity. So we’re now working together with local landowners, councils, water companies and volunteers to come up with a plan that will ensure the future of this wonderful freshwater lake for wildlife and for generations to come.”

The drop-in day on Sunday March 19th will include information displays, children’s wildlife activities and refreshments – and a chance to ask the experts about the future of Hedgecourt.

The lake is an ancient mill pond created from the damming of the upper Eden Brook. At around half a mile long, it’s the largest body of semi-natural open water in east Surrey and a vital wetland site for wildlife. 

Twelve species of dragonfly are found here and it’s a haven for breeding birds such as kingfishers, woodcocks, sedge warblers and tufted ducks. The area boasts a wide variety of wetland plants including meadow thistle, bog bean and touch-me-not balsam - found nowhere else in Surrey!

The lake is a popular leisure spot owned by The Crawley Mariners and fished by the East Grinstead Angling Club. It’s also well used by dog walkers and wildlife lovers. 

“We have identified many of the problems now and the solutions will probably include creating habitat, such as reed beds or woodland buffers, to help filter out the silt and possibly removing existing silt from the lake,” added Jim. “We also need to work with local landowners and septic tank owners to try to stop phosphates leaking into the water courses.

“But we would love local people to get involved and to hear their ideas and ours – so please drop in and talk to our experts, have a look at our plans and spend some time with your family in this special place.”

The Hedgecourt Lake project drop-in day is on Sunday March 19th from 11am-3pm on the reserve, which is north of East Grinstead, off the A264. Why not get involved in the conservation of your local waterway by volunteering with our RiverSearch team – find out more here: >> 

Tagged with: Events & Shows, Living Landscapes, Species, Volunteering