Tilgate Lake

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Tilgate Lake is the biggest of three lakes at Tilgate Park, and remains a popular water activity centre and tourist attraction in Crawley, West Sussex.Tilgate Lake has a wide variety of outdoor activities open to the general public, such as archery, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, raft building, rowing, running, sailing, standup paddleboarding, swimming, team building, navigational challenges, tree climbing and zip trekking.

Tilgate lake on 6 April 2007 - Attribution: Elliott Simpson

Tilgate Lake Dam Project 2011[edit]

As part of the Upper Mole Flood Alleviation Scheme, the raising of the dam at Tilgate Lake was completed in 2011,[1] to provide additional flood storage, protecting hundreds of homes vulnerable to flooding in Furnace Green, Pound Hill, Three Bridges, Tinsley Green and Horley.[2][3]

Tilgate Park Watersports Centre[edit]

Crawley Borough Council have created a water sports activity centre in Tilgate Park as a central feature of Crawley .[4]

Boating and sailing[edit]

Available to hire are rowing boats, Laser Pico's, Toppers, Optimists and a Wayfarer for holders of a RYA level 2 or above qualification.[5] Also available for hire (Nov 2013) are rowing boats, kayaks, canoes and mountain bikes.[6] The latest up and coming sport is standup paddleboarding which is starting to catch on (to 2017).[7] The boat house was subject to deliberate Arson on September 24, 2013 and a number of kayaks were destroyed in the fire.[8]

Mountain biking[edit]

A variety of forest trails have been established for both beginners and experienced riders through Tilgate Forest, under the banner of the British Schools Cycling Assosciation (BSCA).[9]

Go Ape[edit]

Go Ape is tree climbing and zip trekking adventure park constructed in the tree tops of Tilgate Park. The course is constructed of rope ladders, zip-lines, rope bridges, trapezes and swings and is located above the lake near to the former "Inn on the park" (Now Smith & Western).[10]

The Inn in the Park, Tilgate Park, Crawley (1986) - Attribution: Barry Shimmon

Park Run[edit]

A 5K (five kilometre) park run takes place every week in which part of the course circumnavigates the whole of Tilgate lake.[11] Up to 300 runners take part in the run and the event has been in progress since 9 June 2013. The quickest times run by a male have been Neil Boniface in 15 minutes 39 seconds on 21 Sept 2013, Nick Duggan 15 minutes 38 seconds on 26 July 2014.[12] Neil Boniface again in 15 minutes 32 seconds on 21 June 2014,[13] and the best ever time (to 2017) was recorded by James Westlake of 15 minutes and 31 seconds on 15 July 2017.[14]

In the ladies, Fiona Clark set the pace with 18 minutes 14 seconds on 16 June 2012,[15] which was beaten by Hannah Brooks setting the best ever time (to 2017) of 17 minutes 50 seconds on 29 September 2012.[16] This time was run close twice by Julie Briggs on 1 June 2013 and 21 June 2014 recording 18 minutes and 6 seconds on both occasions.[17]


This is a day ticket water with tickets available form Crawley Borough Council with many fish species available to be caught at Tilgate lake, including carp, pike to over 30 lb,[18] tench and bronze bream to 7 lb, perch, crucian carp, roach and rudd.[19] The largest known carp successfully landed at Tilgate was 34lb 8oz caught by Clive Sharpe in 2006.[20][21] The largest known pike ever captured from Tilgate was 32lb 8oz caught by C.Voss in 1986.[20][21] The largest known tench on record is a fine 6lb 8oz specimen landed by Nick Ardley in 2006.[22][23]


Tilgate lake was formerly a NOWCA venue in 2016, for free open water swimming over a 400-metre distance, however, this is no longer the case (2018).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Local procurement on the Upper Mole (Page 18)" (PDF). Environment Agency. 2012.
  2. ^ "Gatwick Stream Dams Flood Risk Assessment" (PDF). Environment Agency. Jan 2011.
  3. ^ "Upper Mole Flood Alleviation Scheme". Crawley Borough Council. 2013.
  4. ^ "Tilgate Lake water sports". tilgateparkwatersports.co.uk. 2018.
  5. ^ "Sailing at Tilgate Park". dynamicadventures.co.uk. 2017.
  6. ^ "Tilgate Lake equipment for hire". Dynamic adventures. 2013.
  7. ^ "Stand up Paddleboarding". Dynamic adventures. 2016.
  8. ^ "Arsonists destroy Tilgate Lake canoes and kayaks". Crawley News. 24 Sep 2013.
  9. ^ "Mountain Biking at Tilgate Park". Dynamic adventures. 2017.
  10. ^ "Tilgate Park Go Ape Ecological Appraisal" (PDF). Crawley.gov.uk. Nov 2012.
  11. ^ "Tilgate park run course". Parkrun.org.uk. 2013.
  12. ^ "Nick Duggan - 15 runs at Tilgate". Parkrun.org.uk. 2017.
  13. ^ "Neil Robert Boniface - 86 runs at Tilgate". Parkrun.org.uk. 2017.
  14. ^ "James Westlake - 94 runs at Tilgate". Parkrun.org.uk. 2017.
  15. ^ "Fiona Clark - 4 runs at Tilgate". Parkrun.org.uk. 2017.
  16. ^ "Hannah Brooks - 15 runs at Tilgate". Parkrun.org.uk. 2017.
  17. ^ "Julie Briggs - 66 runs at Tilgate". Parkrun.org.uk. 2017.
  18. ^ "waters: Cambells Lake". Crawley Angling Society. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
  19. ^ "Update on Tilgate lake". Crawley Observer. 16 Aug 2011.
  20. ^ a b "Crawley Angling Society Grantham trophy history". spjones45.plus.com. 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Crawley Angling Society Grantham trophy history (Archived by WebCite®)". spjones45.plus.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Crawley Angling Society Specimen trophy history". spjones45.plus.com. 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Crawley Angling Society Specimen trophy history (Archived by WebCite®)". spjones45.plus.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°05′42″N 0°10′30″W / 51.095°N 0.175°W / 51.095; -0.175