Published: 31 January 2017
Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust are delighted to confirm that Cockington’s popular Lakes and surrounding area are set to reopen next month. The latest stage of extensive restoration work will be completed by the end of January.
The reopening of the paths around the Lakes follows many months of hard work which has seen the transformation of this area of the Country Park, as part of the 5 year Cockington Green Heart Project.
The tough job of desilting the three ponds was completed before Christmas; thick layers of silt had built up over many years and this needed removing to create a healthier environment for the flora and fauna in the ponds. Since the start of the New Year contractors have been busy repairing and restoring footpaths around the ponds, ensuring closer and safer access to the waters’ edge.
Other work undertaken over the last few months has included repairing the cascades that flow from one pond to another, repairing the dams and other stonework and clearing ditches and channels.
Areas of vegetation around the lakes have also been cleared or cut back, letting light through for other plants to grow. This has opened up views across the Lakes that would originally have been enjoyed by visitors, as well as uncovered some of the historic planting in this area. There is still some work to do and volunteers continue to help with practical task days in the Park, clearing overgrown areas covered in scrub and brambles and pruning back shrubs and plants.
Benches that had been removed and stored safely for the duration of the works, will be returned to their places around the lakes and footpaths for visitors to sit and enjoy the newly opened up views of the water and surrounding slopes of this sheltered valley.
There has been a settlement at Cockington since Saxon times, with the earliest record being from 1086 in the Domesday Book. The ponds may have originally been built by order of the Abbey at Torre, in the twelfth century, to provide trout and carp for the ecclesiastical community at Torre. The present-day carp were re-homed before the work commenced, with a local angling association providing them with a spacious new home in the group’s managed ponds just outside Newton Abbot but the ponds are still home to plenty of ducks and other water birds.
If you are planning a visit to feed the ducks then please consider taking frozen peas/sweetcorn, grapes, mealworms or birdseed instead of bread, as they are much healthier foods for them.
Much of this work and fundraising for the Green Heart Project has been undertaken by the Trust’s wonderful volunteers. Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust are keen to hear from anyone who would like to get involved in the Green Heart Project at Cockington. If you would like to be part of a team that will offer a warm welcome to the many people who visit Cockington each year, then you might like to join our volunteers who will be based at the new visitor centre in the heart of the village.
The Trust are also looking for people who would like to become volunteer tour guides, help at events or lend a hand with practical tasks around the park. If you are interested please email Hannah Worthington, Green Heart Access Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01803 696 247.