Enthusiasts turn ‘hole in the ground’ into fishing lake and wildlife haven

Enthusiasts turn ‘hole in the ground’ into fishing lake and wildlife haven

AN ambitious leisure project in Heckmondwike, that looked like becoming an expensive hole in the ground for Kirklees Council, has been salvaged by a group of angling enthusiasts.

Under the auspices of the ill-fated Able Project, which set out to create a fishing and leisure facility and collapsed in questionable circumstances, as much as £1.2m was frittered away on reclaimed land between the Spen Valley Greenway and Ponderosa Therapeutic Centre.

But now two angling enthusiasts have taken on a 10-year lease and next week will launch a new angling club dedicated to young people across the district.

Keith Ward and Trevor Facer, with the assistance of fellow anglers and volunteers, have turned the barren site – which is reached via Spen Vale Street, off Station Road – into a wildlife haven and fishing lake.

Next Sunday (May 29, 9am), Keith, Trevor and their friends, who include angling coaches Faye and Brian Kellett, are holding an open day for their new Dewsbury & District Junior Angling Club to attract young enthusiasts.

Said businessman and former Huddersfield University lecturer Keith, from Bywell Road in Dewsbury: “Most angling clubs are aimed at adults, with young people only allowed to fish if accompanied.

“This is the complete antithesis of that. Adults are welcome, but only if they accompany a junior angler.”

The group is busy putting the finishing touches to a clubhouse/classroom and will provide all the equipment necessary for youngsters interested in trying the sport. Young members will be trained towards achieving the Kingfisher Awards.

The men have created 18 fishing bays, or ‘pegs’, including ones suitable for either disabled enthusiasts or family groups. The lake is well-stocked with tench, roach, bream and crucian carp.

After repeated incidents of vandalism, the group also spent £10,000 on security fencing, just the latest of its many investments.

Added Keith: “We’ve put in a huge number of aquatic plants and planted hundreds of trees. We have Canada geese on the lake, a sparrowhawk nesting nearby, and see lots of rabbits and foxes, and even a deer recently.

“We’ve installed a composting toilet, have plans to turn some of the land into vegetable patches and ideally would like to install a wind turbine too.”

Already an island has been created on part of the lake, with plans for a floating platform.

Keith appealed for more volunteers to come forward. “It’s really rewarding, seeing these things come to life,” he said, “but we can always use more help. If any people have skills – for instance in putting in bids for grant aid and funding – that would be appreciated.”

The site can be accessed on foot or cycle from the Greenway, or by a gated entrance on the left at the end of Spen Vale Street.

Keith Ward can be contacted on 07918 665981.

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