The bid to restore Fairhaven Lake to its former glory

Fairhaven Lake by Robert J Duck

Fairhaven Lake by Robert J Duck - Credit: Archant

A succesful application could see the restoration of the Japanese Gardens and the creation of a water sports centre.

Coun. Cheryl Little with Julie Vale and Alan Pedder (Chairman of The Friends of Fairhaven Lake) at t

Coun. Cheryl Little with Julie Vale and Alan Pedder (Chairman of The Friends of Fairhaven Lake) at the site of the Fairhaven Lake restoration work - Credit: John Cocks

Fairhaven Lake is going back to the future. If a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is successful, the popular tourist destination will be transformed over the next three years.

The application for the second batch of funding for the project was due to be submitted at the end of August, with an answer expected early in December. If the HLF say yes, work should begin in earnest next year on restoring Japanese Gardens, creating a water sports centre and improving play areas, picnic sites and sporting facilities.

Fylde Council’s activity development officer Julie Vale said: ‘The work falls into four categories: we want to improve the water quality of the lake, restore the buildings and create a new visitor centre, develop a programme of activities, and improve the parkland and restore features of the landscape.’

The grounds around the lake were designed by Thomas Mawson in the mid-1920s but many of his features have been lost or re-modelled over the years.

The renovation project would also see a Treasure Island forest school created on the lake’s larger island, although it would not include the working cannons that were included in Thomas Mawson’s original plans

His designs for the lake – created on the former site of Fairhaven Golf Club – included a Japanese Garden which was covered over in the early 1980s. A community archaeological dig in spring discovered the garden is largely intact and while most of the trenches dug that week were re-filled, a flight of steps uncovered then has been left open. ‘We have lost quite a lot of features of the site over the years,’ Julie added. ‘The dig was to do some test digs, to open them up and have a look to inform the design work because the Japanese Gardens are so beautifully preserved we couldn’t face covering the steps.

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‘We had a lot of volunteers helping during the dig and we have a lot of momentum at the moment and we need to keep that enthusiasm.’

The Friends of Fairhaven Lake group are particularly enthusiastic. They are working with the council on the plans and are hosting a series of events at the lake.

Chairman Alan Pedder is originally from east Lancashire and used to holiday near the lake as a child. He said: ‘We set up as a group with an interest in the lake, its heritage, its history and its potential and our formation happened to coincide with the lottery bid and that’s how we got together with the council.

‘We feel the lake has been in a state of general decline for too long and part of our remit is to act as a group to encourage wider use.

‘We are interested in the restoration of water sports. In the 1920s there were 90 boats available on the lake and they have all gone, apart from the motor boats. We want to bring back kayaks, dinghies and paddle boards.’

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