The new Conningbrook Lakes Country Park
Ashford gets new Park adjoining Julie Rose StadiumFor years, the three Lakes behind the Julie Rose Athletics Stadium have been redundant to public access, the main reason being some Quarry work being done and the uncertainty of new Homes being built.
At long last Brett Homes in conjunction with the Borough Council, Kent Wildlife Trust and Mid Kent Fisheries have finally completed their talks and preparation bringing about the first phase opening in late May 2015.
The Eco Lake, at present, left untouched
There are three lakes; a huge one which will be the focus of more family day outs, a middle sized 'Eco' lake plus one smaller one slightly to the North.
All in all, the length of these in total is around a mile and a half.
The plan for walking the Lakes is quite shrude and for me, extremely good - you can not walk around the whole Park in a circle. This means that people, especially families with youngsters, will be more attracted to the main Lake leaving those who prefer a quieter wildlife environment can enjoy the other two.
Being in it's first stage, the family side of things is more or less non existent. Plans are for the usual Playground area, boating activities and other adventurous pursuits.
The Great Stour running along most of the eastern side of the Lakes
Good or bad, the perception of Country Parks nowadays is 'Fun Fair with trees around it'. Let's hope this doesn't happen.
Another worry is Cyclists taking it over. The area is quite flat and off piste along the footpaths would provide good Mountain Bike challenges disturbing the wildlife and general flora.
For Birders, Winter I'm sure will bring in many migrating wetland and woodland birds. At present (in July) Wagtails, Martins and Swans are the main population.
Invertebrate wise, Butterflies, Dragons and Damsels are everywhere to be seen especially alongside the Great Stour which meanders it's way along the eastern side of the Lakes.
To walk the three Lakes and back with a couple of stops will take a minimum of an hour and a half.
The final fear is the impact building new Houses (Brett Homes) will have; will it destroy the natural view from the public? will it bring about noise? and most of all, will it rid the Lakes of so many Birds and other creatures who visit.
Let's hope not and for now put a trust in those who make the decision and monitor it.