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Set in the grounds of the former Newent Court, Newent Lake is a haven for wildlife, home for a wide variety of freshwater fish; it is considered one of the most beautiful public spaces in the area.
Nature and Wildlife
Trees growing around the lake include alders, oak, beech and sycamore. However in the fenced off section, cherry, common limes, field maple, horse chestnut and ash can be found. Hazel shrubs and dogwood have also been planted there over the years. The tall trees around Toby’s Hole offer a safe nesting habitat for rooks and crows, and birds of prey include sparrowhawks, kestrels and buzzards.
Mallard ducks, coots, moorhens and kingfishers are the most easily spotted wildlife on the water, nesting around the lake and on the island. Occasionally a lone heron can be seen perched on a semi-sunken log by the wooded area to the east end of the lake.
The surrounding trees and shrubs attract many wild birds, which include common species such as blackbirds, song thrush and robins, as well as nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers and tree creepers. Nest boxes for birds have been erected and there is a good population of blue, great and coal tits using them.
The lake is stocked with a variety of fish including carp, roach, bream, rudd, perch and a small number of eels. The fish have very few predators apart from the occasional mink, heron or cormorant.
The lake is a favourite feeding area for bats including common and soprano pipistrelle, daubenton’s, noctule and brown, long eared bats.
A leftover from the fish ponds of medieval monks, Newent Lake became part of the former Newent Court (c.1810), which used to occupy the land on the rise to the north of the lake. The last resident of the large manor house was Colonel Parkinson who employed a number of house staff plus four gardeners to maintain the estate.
A major fire destroyed a large portion of the original building in 1942, leaving only a few smaller buildings, which were used by Ribston Hall School. The house was eventually demolished and the land developed for housing (Lakeside) along with Court Road.
Some of the original Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal can be seen at the far end of the lake and the ‘Daffodil’ railway line used to follow the path of what is now the Newent Bypass. An area known as Toby’s Hole, a small natural amphitheatre was the site of an annual jamboree held by Newent Scouts, led at the time by Colonel Parker. In severe winters the lake would freeze providing extra fun for locals who loved to skate.
With the building of the Newent Bypass the West Gatehouse, Newent Court Lodge (diagonally across from the Newent Community Centre), was removed and exported, however the East Gatehouse still survives on Gloucester Street (as the road levels out leaving the town). The lake and remaining land were eventually given over to Newent Town Council and the area is now managed as a public amenity.
The area between the car park and the balustrade was landscaped in 1998 and the lake dredged, restocked with fish and the pathways constructed. More recently a flat stage area has been added in front of the balustrade for community events and summer brass band concerts.
Managed by Newent Town Council, the lake is open to fishing by permanent residents of the parish and members of Newent Angling Club only. The fishing season runs from June to March.
Some of the images on this page are credited to Robin Lister CPAGB who retains the copyright.
- Picnic site
- Children welcome
- Dogs Accepted