Northampton

Wicksteed Park lake £3m revamp completed

Wicksteed Park lake in the 1920s and today Image copyright Wicksteed Park
Image caption Wicksteed Park's lake has been an attraction since the 1920s, but it became largely redundant in recent years due to sediment build-up

The lake at the heart of Wicksteed Park in Kettering, which became largely redundant due to a build-up of weeds, has been restored at a cost of £3m.

Algae and blanket weed meant people struggled to use rowing boats and large steam boat rides had to be stopped.

But over the past year it was drained, dredged and deepened and now includes wildlife habitats and a shingle beach.

Boat rides are due to return, along with a new drop-slide and a sand and water play area.

The lake was one of the park's major attractions when it was formally opened in 1921 by founder Charles Wicksteed.

Image copyright Wicksteed Park
Image caption A new children's paddling area has been created at the lake
Image copyright Wicksteed Park
Image caption A 90m pontoon has also been built across the water

Its water is supplied by the River Ise, but over the years large amounts of sediment collected, reducing the lake's depth to less than half a metre (20in).

Image copyright Wicksteed Park
Image caption A new fountain has also been installed

Its restoration was given the go-ahead after the park secured a £1m Heritage Lottery grant and donations from Northamptonshire County Council and Kettering Borough Council.

The charitable trust that runs the park paid for the remainder of the work.

A new walk-through aviary is also part of the latest development, along with paths around the entirety of the lake for the first time.

There are also plans to create a children's play island in the middle of the lake. A statue depicting children's play will also be unveiled when the park reopens in the New Year.

Managing director Alasdair McNee said: "The scale of the project is indicated by the fact we had to dredge 50,000 cubic metres of silt from the lake, and during the project we also discovered that two of the bridges which serve the Wicksteed Park railway had to be replaced.

"But the lake is now returned to former glories and work has been done to preserve it for future generations."

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