Leybourne Lakes Country Park

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Leybourne Lakes Country Park
Leybourne Lakes - geograph.org.uk - 258.jpg
Leybourne Lakes
Leybourne Lakes Country Park is located in Kent
Leybourne Lakes Country Park
Leybourne Lakes shown within Kent
OS grid TQ695603
Coordinates 51°18′59″N 0°26′00″E / 51.3163°N 0.4334°E / 51.3163; 0.4334Coordinates: 51°18′59″N 0°26′00″E / 51.3163°N 0.4334°E / 51.3163; 0.4334
Area 93 hectares (230 acres)
Created 2004 (2004)
Operated by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
Open 7 days a week, dawn until dusk
Parking Paid parking
Website Leybourne Lakes Country Park - Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

Leybourne Lakes Country Park is near Snodland, in Kent, England. The park, which opened in 2004, was created from disused gravel pits that have been flooded and landscaped to make fishing and wildlife lakes.

History[edit]

In the 1930s a river fed from Leybourne, led past the small hamlet of Lunsford (part of Larkfield) and then past Ham Hill (part of Snodland) to feed into the River Medway.

Snodland was once a centre of industry along the river, with papermaking and chalk quarries being the main employers in the town. One of the former chalk pits located near to the River Medway, became Brookland Lake.[1] A public footpath leads from Snodland, past Brookland Lake into Leybourne Lakes.[2]

The village of Larkfield (to the south of the lakes) has expanded rapidly since the M20 motorway was constructed in the 1970s and it continues to grow, with new housing developments being built. Mineral extraction also ceased in the 1970s. The gravel pits and surrounding area were designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI). The site was identified in the 'Tonbridge and Malling Local Plan' for development into a country park, with the partnership of Berkeley Homes.[3]

Entrance to Leybourne Lakes near the Berkeley Homes estate

The housing development of 'The Lakes in Leybourne' by Berkeley Homes [4][5] (seen in the photos), was created beside one of the disused gravel pits that had been turned into man-made lakes. The decision to build on this area was unpopular with some Larkfield residents, but the remaining lakes were turned into a country park and nature reserve to offset the impact of this new housing. The lakes and reserve were later handed over to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council in 2004.[3] They are the current owners and maintain the lakes and paths.

Facilities[edit]

Leybourne Lakes Sunset

The 93 hectares (230 acres) [6] of lakes now provide a peaceful location for wildlife and birdwatching,[4] whilst also allowing watersports enthusiasts the opportunity to windsurf, canoe and kayak in the man-made lakes.[7][8] Diving also takes place in one of the lakes.[9] Around the lakes are a series of woods and gentle trails, popular with dogwalkers and recreational walkers.

A small charge is payable for use of car parking, situated close to the visitor centre. Mobile caterers provide refreshments during the summer.

The nearby lakes (to the west and north of the park) are mainly used for private angling.[10]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brookland Lake". Kent.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  2. ^ "Snodland Community Trail Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  3. ^ a b "LeybourneReport". Kentos.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  4. ^ a b "Home of the Mortar Industry Association". Mortar.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  5. ^ "Leybourne lakes - Trovit Homes". Homes.trovit.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  6. ^ http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/GreenFlag/GreenFlagAwardSites/SouthEast/Default.aspx?parkID=245
  7. ^ Paul Monck. "Welcome to Leybourne Lake Water Sports 2010". Leybournelakewatersports.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  8. ^ "Team Outrageous". Team Outrageous. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  9. ^ "Scuba Solutions". Scuba Solutions. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  10. ^ "Larkfield Mid Kent Fish". Midkentfisheries.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-16.