New Lakes opening Monday 17th April
13 April 2023

Well, it’s been 8 years since it was mentioned to me that ‘eventually’ the DDAS leased lake on the Silverlake Estate (formerly Warmwell Quarry) would be converted into a wildlife marsh & that DDAS would need to move out… where too? I asked, not sure yet was the reply but rest assured you will have a new lake on the estate ‘somewhere’.

2 years later I was asked to ‘select’ an area at the northern end of the estate which would be suitable for a new lake. Immediately I selected the top corner of what looked like an area of the moon, but being forward thinking I thought it would be fine eventually and it was very close to the entrance to the estate for the building contractors. Anyway, a survey was carried out in the area & it was found to be a bit unstable in that corner due to the extensive quarrying carried out over 40 years.  It would need to be moved away a couple of hundred meters, not a problem, only a third of the distance that the walk to Heath lake was… therefore, location agreed, now to the size/design.  I was given the same acreage as Heath lake to work with, so my first question was ‘can we have 2 lakes next to each other’? Answer, Yes…result!  Still shaking with excitement, I started to sketch a few ideas, most of them looked awful but liked the idea of a Boomerang shaped lake & a kidney shaped one sat within the arc of the boomerang, both with an island or 2.  

I sketched it out & immediately thought, that looks ok. A few minor amends made (thinking distance to the islands for pole fishing & chucking a waggler), depths noted on the scrappy bit of paper, taking into account not to have undercut banks & ensuring there were shallower sections for reed planting & fish spawning areas. I also needed to take into account that the lakes were sooo far down from the original ground level (30 feet or so) & that we would actually be in the water table.  This meant that the lake levels will fluctuate in depth during the seasons at times, in excess of 4 or 5 ft (especially during long hot summers), therefore, the winter depths of the lakes (down the tracks) were designed to hold 8ft of water!  So, during a long hot summer, they could be as low as 3/4ft.  For this reason we have built (and continue to build) stepped pegs on the main coarse lake, which has been named after a WW2 Aircraft that was based exactly where the lake is situated, the site was known as RAF Warmwell.

The aircraft was the Westland ‘Lysander’, hence ‘Lysander Lake’. It is approximately 3 acres in size.  The adjacent smaller lake, at 1.1 acres has been designed in the same way as Lysander, with a single island at the fatter end on the lake. This lake is specifically ‘Carp’ only.  We are purposely not calling it a specimen lake because there will be various sizes of common & mirror carp ranging from 4lb to (eventually) 30lb!  At the moment, there are only 42 fast growing carp in there, at various sizes between 4lb & 16lb when stocked (12 months ago).  They have been fed on a regular basis during this time so we expect to see a couple of fish on the bank at around 20lb during the summer.  We have plans to purchase a few more ‘bigger’ fish at the end of 2023, depending on membership numbers & funds available. This lake has been named in recognition of the DDAS committee member who actually got DDAS on the estate in the first place at a very small lake close to West Knighton.  It wasn’t given a name so was known as West Knighton Lake (inventive I know)! We rented that lake from the Quarry Company; they then moved us to Heath Lake in 2009 .. taking the very few fish that was in there with us.  His name was Bill Lucy.  Bill sadly passed away a few years ago so we thought it would be very fitting to name the lake in his memory ‘Lucy’s Pool’. His legacy lives on!

Therefore, the scrappy little sketch of paper that I handed over to the manager of the land restoration company  (Kelson Sparks) who use diggers & dumpers that have wheels taller than me to redevelop sites like that.. well, they started digging 18 months later & within 4 months they had created ‘exactly’ what was on that scrap bit of paper.  They basically just overlaid my sketch on a map, scanned it, did some GPS jiggery pokery & cracked on! Wow.. easy innit.. not! It was really exciting to see it come to life over those few months & then nature did its bit (water table & lots of rain) for 12 months. During this time the banks were top soiled & an acid seed mix was spread all around it (wild grasses etc).

Once all that started to grow & the land settled down, we started marking out & eventually created a selection of pegs/swims around the lakes.  There will eventually be 35 around Lysander & just the 4 around Lucy’s (with specifically marked fishing areas for each peg (see the maps).  You will be able to fish beyond these marked areas if no one is fishing that marked area but, if someone turns up to fish, you will be required to retrieve that line and only fish within your boundary from then on.

DDAS will have ‘almost’ exclusive rights to the lakes, the only exception to this is that we are required to provide 4 ‘Silverlake Guest’ passes per day for Lysander Lake & 1 only for Lucy’s. Believe me, they will be used very little, if at all. If you see someone who isn’t sure what they are doing please ask to see their Guest Card & Rules & Regulations (of which they will have signed out). If they don’t have one, politely ask them to go and get one from the Silverlake Estate Office before fishing.  It is a serious issue.. if they do fish without it, they would not be covered by our insurance & we don’t want that.  You cannot ask to see their Rod Licence but you can check there and then that they know they need to have one & how simple it is to acquire one online.

Anyway.. having written  all that & I imagine you have skipped most of it just to get to the bit about when they open to the general membership, well, as long as the new electric gates that would prevent you going too far up the site road are operational, it will be 0730 on Monday 17th April.

If by any chance the gates are not operational by then, you will need to be off site by 1630 otherwise you will be locked in for the night. If this is the case (hopefully not) there will be a sign on the gate at the car park.

All we, the committee ask, is that you read the rules & regulations that are specific to these lakes, which can be found here on the Silverlake Tab on the website & look after them like they are your own… actually, they are yours!!!

It’s still a bit messy down there at the moment & after all this rain & the amount of digger work that has gone in to get them open now.  Please bear with us.. it is work in progress & we will still ask for your assistance now and again, during the dryer months ahead hopefully.

It is a ‘stroll’ to the lakes from the car park (230mtrs) so don’t go overloaded with tackle, take only what you need, take in the beautiful surroundings & take your time!

For those ‘precious’ few that have helped out over the past few months, I thank you so much for your help & hard work (& putting up with me).  Couldn’t have done it without you.. enjoy your time on the lakes this weekend (before everyone else) if you get the chance. I’ll see you there hopefully.

It has been a journey I have loved, I just hope you reap the benefits.

Tight lines one & all.

Steve Sudworth (retired Silverlake Estate Manager) & DDAS Club Captain
& all members of the DDAS Committee.




Click here to read other articles in our archive
Friends and Affiliates

Responsible Angling

We are members of:

Copyright © 2024 Dorchester & District Angling Society (D&DAS)