VIDEO: Wicksteed Park lake restoration is ‘nearing completion’

Wicksteed Park says £2m of work on restoring its lake, which began in September, is nearing completion.

The project, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, includes the installation of new walkways, improved ecology in the lake and features including an amphitheatre and new beaches.

Work on the lake at Wicksteed Park, pictured in February

Work on the lake at Wicksteed Park, pictured in February

The Kettering park says the wet winter weather has had an impact on the project, meaning the new walking routes around the lake are set to open in late April.

But organisers of the annual Crazy Hats walk at Wicksteed Park have been told the event will still be able to go ahead.

About 50,000 cubic metres (11 million gallons) of lake silt has been moved, with half being dried elsewhere in the park and the remainder used to create reed beds around the edge of the lake and the islands.

The removal of the silt also means the lake is much deeper, with some parts more than 2.5 metres (8 ft) deep.

Work on the lake at Wicksteed Park, pictured in February

Work on the lake at Wicksteed Park, pictured in February

Wicksteed Park says the reed beds – which will take some time to establish themselves – will help restore the lake’s ecology by extracting waterborne nutrients and creating habitats for fish, insects and birds.

Water levels in the lake will now be automatically controlled by pressure sensors which will operate gates at either end.

A new lakeside path is currently being created that will take visitors around the lake’s edge with an option to walk into the arboretum across a new footbridge.

At its southern edge visitors will be able to walk on a raised boardwalk then cross the lake via a pontoon to reach the eastern shore.

A new horseshoe-shaped weir has also been built, and park bosses hopes visitors will notice the restored long views of the lake from all parts of the park.

The original roundhouse, close to the lake’s edge, is being renovated by an in-house team so it can be used as an activity centre.

Nearby there will be a paddling area for young children on a newly-created beach.

Behind the roundhouse there will be a grass amphitheatre that will hold more than 250 people and which will feature a hard standing performance space at the front.

However, the amphitheatre will not be available until the grass has taken root.

The new path will take visitors from this area southwards and they will pass another shingle beach on the other side of the historic model boating lake.

A Wicksteed Park spokesman said the project would not have taken place without the huge support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Wicksteed Charitable Trust, and added that Kettering Council and Northamptonshire County Council had also been generous in their assistance.