Temporary closure of Conningbrook’s main lake
Following expert advice from the Environment Agency regarding the presence of blue-green algae, Ashford Leisure Trust has taken the decision to temporarily close the main lake at Conningbrook Lakes Country Park.
The Country Park itself remains open and users of the lake (designated sports clubs) have been notified. While members of the public are already instructed via signage to not go in the water and to keep dogs on leads, strict, precautionary advice is being issued to those walking around the park:
- Do not go in or take part in any activity on the lake
- Do not let your children go in the water
- Keep dogs on a lead and do not let them go in the water
The algae blooms are a naturally occurring phenomenon that can be triggered by a range of factors. Though they will clear up naturally, the advice from the Environment Agency is to advise members of the public.
It is best for humans to avoid contact with the water, as it can cause a skin rash, and it should not be ingested, though large quantities of it must be swallowed before a person would feel unwell. However, it is harmful to animals, so they must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to swim in the water.
The water will continue to be tested and sports clubs will be advised as soon as the lake is safe to use again. The public are advised to adhere to the above advice and signs on site and check this page or our social media channels for updates.
Conningbrook’s unique setting presents an opportunity to boost the borough’s leisure, recreation and countryside conservation offer by providing a gateway for walkers and cyclists to explore the Stour Valley, and to extend and enhance riverside wildlife habitats.
Conningbrook Lakes Country Park is a project to gradually transform the former quarry site next to the Julie Rose Stadium into a family orientated country park around the existing lakes, offering a variety of leisure and water-based activities for residents and visitors.
While the public can walk freely around the park, participation in all water-based activities are organised through specialist clubs and associations.
The long term public facilities are being funded by the building of homes to create a lakeside village alongside the country park. Brett is in active negotiations to deliver the housing element and is working closely with Ashford Borough Council.
The country park opened on Monday 25 May 2015 and makes the most of a beautiful environment that has been created by Brett through sensitive restoration of former gravel workings. The park is managed by a partnership involving the council, Ashford Leisure Trust, Kent Wildlife Trust and Mid Kent Fisheries.
With a beautiful lakeside setting, views to the North Downs and access to a network of country trails, Conningbrook Lakes Country Park is a family-friendly facility for visitors to explore and enjoy. This park is another stunning attraction for Ashford, and reinforces the borough’s reputation as a great place to live, work and relax.
The Country Park is open the whole year, but accessibility will vary according to the seasons, and certain areas may be off limits at times due to ongoing development work.
Conningbrook Lakes Country Park is open seven days a week, from early morning to early evening. For opening times please visit Ashford Leisure Trust - Julie Rose Stadium page
Although basic infrastructure is now in place to allow visitors to walk around parts of the lake on informal and unsurfaced paths, visitors should be aware that all parts of the site, including the main access track, can become extremely muddy or flooded during the winter and in periods of high rainfall.
There are plans to re-surface the main access track in the near future.
There is currently no circular walk around the main lake as part of the site is still a working quarry, so for the time being visitors must retrace their footsteps.
Please note: members of the public are reminded to obey the signage and keep dogs on leads and not let them go in the water at any time.
If you require more information on opening times or to find out about accessing the park for swimming, sailing or other water sports, please contact Ashford Leisure Trust on 01233 613131.
Subject to weather conditions, vehicular access via the Julie Rose Stadium is available for registered blue badge holders ONLY, and there are two lakeside disability parking spaces (please contact the stadium reception for the gate to be opened).
During the summer months it may be possible for disability scooters to use the unsurfaced tracks, but these are not suitable for use during the winter and early spring.
The boat launch area includes a wheelchair accessible ramp and disability hoist, which are for use under the supervision of accredited clubs and associations.
As the country park develops there will be further improvements to disability access and more opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in water sports.
There are also plans to introduce off-road mobility scooters for hire.
Don't just take our word for it, here's what some of our residents have been saying on social media...
@markgosy Thanks @AshfordCouncil for Conningbrook Lakes Country Park, an amazing leisure area just 3 mins walk from home.
Kate Agrell-Doldan Thank you! We're all very excited about the new space. It's going to be great!
Sarah Douglas I will be checking this out asap, would be a good place to do some running (if I felt that way inclined) or a nice walk for Dog.
Andy Curry Went today absolutely fantastic, great views, no problems with access and the kids biked safely all the way around. This is a lovely area and makes a fantastic picnic spot!
Conningbrook Lakes Country Park is provided by Ashford Borough Council and Brett and operated in partnership with Ashford Leisure Trust, Kent Wildlife Trust and Mid Kent Fisheries.
Ashford Leisure Trust will manage access to the country park via the Julie Rose Stadium and co-ordinate all the water-based activities through the local clubs and associations. To find out more call 01233 613131.
Kent Wildlife Trust will manage the areas designated for nature conservation. They will be running tasks and events to highlight and improve the wildlife across the country park. To find out more call 01622 662012.
Mid Kent Fisheries will continue to be responsible for managing fishing on the lake.
To find out more call 01233 730668.