Colourful words

The cement is drying around the new mural today – after work began on installation during last week’s lake drain.

The mural adds another splash of colour to the lake surrounds – and together with the beautiful words, paints a wonderful picture of life at the lake following its renovation in 2015.  You can read all about it here.

Every cloud…

During this week’s drain down, with the help of Marlens’ volunteers, a wedding ring was successfully retrieved, which had been lost by Chris Badley (pictured) in the lake on 20th May 2020.  Chris had a rough idea where it came off, so the drain down provided the perfect opportunity to search for it on the lakebed.  Despite the grey skies, the sun was definitely shining on Chris today!  He has also signed up as part of the Love The Lake team of volunteers.

Come rain or shine, the Love The Lake team keeps things ship shape year round, for all to enjoy.  Clevedon Marine Lake is run by the community for the community – and new volunteers are always welcome to help litter pick and clear seaweed and debris, especially after overtopping tides.  Get in touch to find out more about this and other voluntary roles.  volunteer@clevedonmarinelake.co.uk

What’s Up

Things are hotting up at the lake – quite literally – with the easing of lockdown and some spectacular weather…

Stepping up to the mark

With crowds literally flooding the lake over half-term week, not only have the bins been overflowing, but the amount of rubbish left around the lake has been shameful.  Thanks to volunteers like Gill (pictured above) and many others, including a growing number of new helpers and hands-on locals, the lake has been looking spick and span every morning before 9am!  What a great job Marlens’ volunteers do.  THANK YOU.

Don’t overstep the mark – Stay 2m apart.

The lake has remained open as a place for individual exercise during lockdown – conditional on social distancing.  It has been extraordinarily busy over half-term and social distancing is not being observed.  Towards the end of the week, volunteers sprayed 123 yellow lines, 2m apart on the lower promenade to help people manage their space.  With spray can supplies replenished, more will appear this week!

Water quality testing

The first sample taken on Thursday 28th May recorded a result of POOR water quality in the lake.  The water quality in Clevedon Marine Lake will be sampled before and after each series of overtopping tides (approximately those over 12.5m), during the warm summer months when the lake is heavily used.  The testing schedule is below.

  1. 4th – 8th June
  2. 21st – 24th July
  3. 18th – 23rd August
  4. 16th – 22nd September

There are marginal overtops 5th – 6th July and 4th – 5th August.  These will only be tested if there is an indication of water quality problems.

Two red flags have been put up, one at either end of the lake, adjacent to the information boards with an explanatory notice.  A red flag means the water quality in Clevedon Marine Lake is currently POOR.  The latest test results and alerts are shared on social media, via our BLOG and lakeside to explain the situation and actions being taken.  Information is shared to allow lake users to make an informed decision about entering the water.

If the water quality in the lake is tested as POOR, it is recommended that the public do not swim in the lake until the water has refreshed, especially if unwell or with low immunity.  Anyone choosing to swim is advised to wear ear plugs and goggles to protect against infection.  All visitors having contact with the lake water are advised to wash or cleanse hands before eating.

Repairs

Following the 14m high tides around April’s Full Moon on 8th, there was a rockslide along the entry ramp leading to the pump house.  Contractors were on site w/c 18/5/20 making good the area, with a rather splendid retaining wall!

 

Getting the message across

If you are in or around the lake over the coming weeks, we are asking everyone to help spread these messages:

  • Help us Help the Lake. Marlens’ charity and a team of volunteers, run the lake, not North Somerset Council.
  • It costs £20,000 p.a. to keep Clevedon Marine Lake open to the public.
  • The lake is a semi-natural environment like a beach or river. Users enter at their own risk. Be safety aware.
    • Cold water – Know your limits.
    • Shallow perimeter – No diving or jumping in.
    • Uneven lakebed – Look at the lake map to understand where it is deep and shallow.
    • Underwater hazards like rocks – Risk of cuts and grazes, minimise contact with lakebed.
    • Overtopping tidesCheck tide times & heights before each visit; don’t enter the lake when it’s overtopping.
  • Respect the lake and its inhabitants. Bag and bin any litter – or even better, take it home.  Leave crabs as happy as you found them – and no bait scraps or fish hooks.

Friends of Clevedon Marine Lake

If you’re a Friend of Clevedon Marine Lake, why not become a friend for life?  We kindly ask Friends to consider setting up a standing order for £50 a year to become a perennial Friend, to continue supporting the lake, at less than £1 a week.  This can be done via on-line banking ‘Payments & Transfers’, set up as an annual transaction using the following details  * Account name:  MARLENS * Sort code:  20-94-74 * Account number:  13465160 * Reference:  Perennial Friend.

Sign up to Marlens’ Lottery

Alternatively, if you fancy a punt on Clevedon Marine Lake, with better odds of winning than the National Lottery, you can now sign up to Marlens’ Lottery on-line.  Marlens’ Lottery was launched in August 2015 to create a steady income to help run Clevedon Marine Lake throughout the year, following its renovation.

Lost and Found

Lost property is regularly picked up by MARLENS’ volunteers from around the lake and stored in the boathouse. For items left behind, contact 07867 336480.

The lake will be CLOSED on 3rd and 4th June, reopening on 5th from 9am

Clevedon Marine Lake will be closed all day Wednesday and Thursday this week, as well as early Friday morning, to drain and refresh the water following high usage during the half-term heatwave.

The lake will fully refill during Friday’s high spring tide at 7.20am – and will be accessible to the public from 9am on 5th June.  The water quality will be tested on Tuesday 9th June after the series of overtopping tides.

Visitors should check the times and heights of high tides before coming to the lake.  The sea overtops the outer wall of Clevedon Marine Lake at the top of high spring tides of 12.6m or more – refreshing the water in the lake.  The lake becomes part of the Severn Estuary and the seawall is no longer visible.  In addition, the lower promenade can completely disappear underwater during overtops.

Visitors should not enter the lake during overtops, and allow at least one hour either side of these times before entering the lake:

OVERTOPS

First high tide

Second high tide

Friday 5th June

7.20am

7.47pm

Saturday 6th June

8.08am

8.33pm

Sunday 7th June

8.54am

9.17pm

Monday 8th June

9.37am

10.00pm

Visitors are asked to use the lake and surrounds respectfully:

  1. Take all rubbish home.
  2. Use the public toilets behind the arcade.
  3. Barbecue on the beach not by the lake.
  4. Respect social distancing on the promenade using the yellow spray lines to stay 2m apart.
  5. Stay off the pontoon (blue island in the middle of the lake) as it is too small to support social distancing.

Polar Bears go the distance – once again!

Clevedon Marine Lake is run by Marlens’ charity and its team of volunteers, who work hard year-round to maintain and develop this amazing space.

It costs £20,000 per annum to keep Clevedon Marine Lake open to the public.

£5,000 alone is required each year to dredge hundreds of tonnes of mud out of the lake, as part of a 10-year programme to remove 5,000 tonnes of mud from the lakebed.  The mud is two feet deep in some areas having accumulated over the years, brought in by the overtopping tides from the Severn Estuary.

The initial application to remove mud from the lake cost £10,000.  Marlens has secured permission from Marine Management Organisation to dredge the lake twice a year, in the autumn and spring, over the next decade – which began last year.

The lake was dredged in October 2019 where 400 tonnes of silt and mud was removed, and again in March 2020 with an estimated 750 tonnes of silt and mud removed from the bed of the lake.  Until then, the last time any mud was removed from Clevedon Marine Lake was in the summer of 2015 as part of a major refurbishment.

It is important to ‘keep on top of the mud’ from now on – and with each dredge costing around £2,500, the entire project requires in excess of £60,000.

There are many ways in which you can Help us Help the Lake.  Simply click on the link and explore how you can make a difference.  And if you fancy something more immersive…

A great fundraising scheme which has been running for 3 years at Clevedon Marine Lake is the Polar Bear Challenge, thanks to organisers Hilary Jenkins-Spangler (pictured) and Gavin Price, members of Clevedon Lake & Sea Swimmers.

Every year during the winter months, November to March, lots of brave swimmers challenge themselves to swim regularly in the cold waters of Clevedon Marine Lake, incentivised by the Polar Bear Challenge.  The challenge requires participants to swim a minimum of 100m twice a month.  One way to rack up the required distance is a 100m circuit around the lake’s much-loved pontoon.

This season 2019-20, the Polar Bear Challenge raised close to £800 to support Marlens.  Well done and thank you Clevedon Polar Bears for enjoying the cold water and making a difference!

 

Fishhooks are a hazard to lake users

Fishing tackle especially hooks should not to be left in or around the lake, likewise bait.

A fishhook is a curved, sharp instrument designed to keep the catch on the hook with a barb near the tip. It will cause injury to a person if stepped on or handled inappropriately.

If you’re visiting to fish, be it in the lake or over the wall in the estuary, please be mindful of other lake users.

Please read our guide to Happy Crabbing.

Stay out of the lake when the tide is over the seawall

A male swimmer was rescued by RNLI helicopter and HM Coastguard this morning after swimming over the seawall into the estuary during the overtopping tide; he was subsequently dragged by the rip and pulled downstream in the ebb, 40 minutes after high tide, which was at 7.43am.  Fortunately, he is reported to be fine.

It is dangerous to access the lake to swim during overtopping tides.  A strong rip is created on the estuary side of the seawall, which can quickly sweep swimmers away from the lake and into the tidal flow.

Clevedon Marine Lake in nestled in the Severn Estuary, which has the third largest tidal range in the world.  This means that the sea at Clevedon has an extremely strong tidal pull.

The sea overtops the outer wall of Clevedon Marine Lake at the top of high spring tides of 12.6m or more – refreshing the water in the lake.  The lake becomes part of the Severn Estuary and the seawall is no longer visible.  In addition, the lower promenade can completely disappear underwater during overtops.

Clevedon Marine Lake overtops approximately every two weeks during spring tides.  Spring tides have the greatest tidal range and occur during the full moon and the new moon phases, twice each lunar month all year long without regard to the season.  In rougher conditions, fresh seawater will spill into the lake before a high tide of 12.6m is reached.

  • Always check tide times and heights when planning your lake visit.  A series of overtops at high tide can last a full week.
  • Know which way the tide is flowing (in or out) when you arrive at the lake.
  • Do NOT enter the lake around high tide when 12.6m or higher tides are expected.

As we approach the peak months for usage of Clevedon Marine Lake – coinciding with the expected easing of lockdown, Marlens, the charity behind the lake, urges people to heed all the advice on site and on the lake website.

During lockdown, Clevedon Marine Lake has remained open for individual exercise, with visitors reminded to maintain a distance of at least 2m from each other.  Users have been requested to access the lake grounds responsibly, in line with Government guidelines and to avoid unnecessary travel.

 

What’s Up

Despite currently being a quiet corner of Clevedon, Marine Lake has just officially celebrated its 91st birthday!  Why not take a stroll through history and appreciate its colourful journey.

To keep things vibrant, a fourth mural, pictured above, is to be installed at the lake this summer.  You can read all about it here, noting the actual timing of installation is understandably unsure right now.

On March 15th, MARLENS’ AGM opened its doors to the lake community and was well attended under the circumstances.  Amongst helpful discussions around shared use and maintenance, Trustees expressed thanks to several people and groups for their invaluable support for Clevedon Marine Lake:

  • Viv, Marlens’ bookkeeper for keeping the finances in great order.
  • Linda Knott, who is retiring as a Marlens’ Trustee, following 17 years of bringing life to the Marine Lake.
  • Marlens’ Saturday Cleaning group for a phenomenal job keeping the lake ship shape.
  • The Community for its enthusiasm and engagement with the lake – without whom it couldn’t survive.

The dredging programme in March was very successful, increasing the lake depth to 3ft around the promenade perimeter.  It was the second dig of Marlens’ bi-annual mud clearance programme which began in October 2019.

Six new concrete benches were installed whilst the lake was empty in March.  Two are pictured here, overlooking the model boat lake, creating more seating around this amazing space.

North Somerset Council is obtaining a quote from Dyer and Butler to replace the broken, small penstock.  It’ll be great to get this fixed during the next drain down, scheduled for October 2020, to ensure the lake empties smoothly in future.

The 14m+ high tides carrying substantial flotsam took their toll on the slipway railing after the lake refill in March, pictured below.  Repairs will be undertaken as soon as feasibly possible.

On 30th January, Marlens hosted a User Forum at Clevedon Sailing Club, bringing together lake users to share ideas about how to raise and spend money at the lake in the future.  It was a very constructive evening, attended by swimmers, sailors, canoeists, paddleboarders and volunteers.  A whole range of fundraising ideas and amenity improvements were discussed, providing invaluable input for a 5-year plan for Clevedon Marine Lake, which Trustees are currently working on.

A number of Marlens’ events are scheduled this year but remain unconfirmed due to uncertainty around future restrictions (Bristol Old Vic tour – 2nd April; Lake Day – 9th May; Arnos Vale morbid curiosity tour – 10th June; Marlens’ Musical Extravaganza – 2nd October; Light up The Lake – 5th December).

We look forward to welcoming life back to the lake this summer, but there will be some changes – for safety’s sake.                                                A rope will be used to cordon off a safe area for all other lake users during Clevedon Sailing Club sessions.  More information can be found here.

In addition, we plan to fly a red flag during the warm summer months, when the lake is heavily used, to indicate when there is a bacterial water quality issue.  Two flags will be displayed, one at either end of the lake, adjacent to the information boards containing an explanatory notice.  A red flag means that water quality in the lake is currently poor.  Alerts will also be shared on social media and via our BLOG to explain the situation and actions being taken.  Information is shared to allow lake users to make an informed decision about entering the water.

If you fancy a punt on Clevedon Marine Lake, with better odds of winning than the National Lottery, you can now sign up to Marlens’ Lottery on-line.  Marlens Lottery was launched in August 2015 to create a steady income to help run Clevedon Marine Lake throughout the year, following its renovation.

Lost property is regularly picked up by MARLENS’ volunteers from around the lake and stored in the boathouse. For items left behind, contact 07867 336480.

Lake usage during Covid-19

  • The lake will remain open as a place for individual exercise.
  • Visitors to the lake are reminded to maintain a distance of at least 2m from each other.
  • MARLENS continues to look after cleaning and maintenance at the lake but in a limited way, without the usual working parties.

We respectfully ask that people access the lake grounds responsibly, in line with Government guidelines and avoid unnecessary travel.

 

 

More than 91 years of Clevedon Marine Lake

Clevedon Marine Lake was officially opened in 1929, following over a century’s tradition of sea bathing in Clevedon.

The original idea for enclosing part of Salthouse Bay was first documented in meeting records in 1896, but unanimously rejected as somewhat ‘pie in the sky’.

But thanks to Councillor Frederick Robert Nutting, who believed that a sea lake would be a great asset to Clevedon, on March 30th, 1929, the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor W H Eyles officially opened Clevedon Marine Lake and the recreation ground on Salthouse Fields. Councillor Nutting was the architect, figuratively speaking.

In October 1926, Councillor Nutting persuaded the Council to revisit the idea of enclosed swimming baths in Salthouse Bay. Mr Gower Pimm was appointed the consultant engineer, suggesting the lake would need a wall 10ft high, costing £5,440. The greenlight for the project was given by the Ministry of Health in July 1927, and approval for the scheme gained by Mr Gower Pimm from the Mercantile Board of Trade. Councillor Nutting purchased land on the foreshore, with his own money, some of which he gifted to the town. The Crown sold the rights to the foreshore to the town for £150. Councillor Nutting sold Salthouse woods to the Council at cost, to enable access to Poet’s Walk, and Sir Ambrose Elton generously ceded his right to the paths.

In September 1927, tenders were put out for the scheme. The building contract specified that 90% of the labour was to be undertaken by local, unemployed people, to aid community revitalisation post-WWI. Seventeen tenders were considered, but the contract was awarded to Messrs J Moore & Co. of Nailsea for £5,195 and 6d. Work began after March 1928, on a slightly reduced plan, enclosing an area of three and a half acres and incorporating an 875ft promenade.

The lake was in use for boating and bathing in August 1928 and run by the Council for the first year.

Before WWI, Clevedon Aquatic Sports was responsible for running regattas off The Beach. With bathing’s popularity rising alongside the development of Clevedon’s seafront, sea swimming races were a regular attraction in the summer months.

Clevedon Amateur Swimming Club (CASC) was formed in January 1929, to “promote swimming, organise galas and run the Long Swim”, which was first held in 1927. The opening of Clevedon Marine Lake meant that the Club could become affiliated to the Amateur Swimming Association, bringing many of the West of England Championships to the town. CASC’s first gala, held on July 20th, 1929 attracted a massive crowd. A water polo team was formed, which lasted until the mid-50s; they played local teams as well as Welsh opponents brought across the estuary on the Campbell Steamer. After WWII, the Club offered Royal Life Saving Society badges and the Amateur Diving Association Diploma. In the 1980s, the Club moved all but its diving activities to Strode Road’s indoor pool.

As well as the socio-economic and recreational benefits, the construction of the new marine lake also brought an end to ‘stinking corner’, where seaweed and sea rot accumulated, only to fill the air with unpleasant odours!

The Ministry of Health approved a further loan of £1,500 for a bandstand, shelter and bathing stations, which were sanctioned in March 1929. Over the next 15 years, Clevedon Marine Lake was lavishly equipped with a timber clubhouse and changing-room, high diving and springboards, a bathing raft, deckchairs, a row of bathing huts and a bandstand – and remained a much loved, Victorian seaside attraction.  After WWII, its popularity boomed, with busy promenades surrounded by water sports, donkey rides, boats for hire and a miniature railway.

For 30 years from 1957, during the summer holidays, the lake was managed by Joyce Gregory and her daughter Rita.  Rita, a member of Clevedon Swimming Club, was a very accomplished competitive swimmer and diver, who made good use of the facilities; she won the Ladies Cup 19 times in Clevedon Long Swim!  Because the lake’s diving stage was not quite the 5 metres high required by County Championships, Rita practised off a board on the upper railings held down by a group of burly swimmers from the Club!

With an increase in foreign travel throughout the 1980s the use of the lake began to decline, as did the necessary finances to maintain it.  As a result of lack of maintenance and vandalism, Joyce and Rita called time on their tenure; swimming was banned at the lake and the access steps were removed.  However, Clevedon Sailing Club remained a stalwart supporter throughout this time, launching a fleet of Minnow dinghies in 1985 sponsored by local businesses, serving to buoy interest in sailing on the lake and in the estuary, to Woodspring Bay and Flatholm.

At midnight on 31st December 1999, Rita and Joyce fittingly welcomed in the new millennium by swimming in the lake.  Wrapped only in their towels, they walked up to the top of Dial Hill to watch the burning beacons along the estuary, just before the start of another chapter in the lake’s history.

MARLENS (Marine Lake Enthusiasts) was set up in 2004 by Councillor Arthur Knott, Clevedon Sailing Club’s Cadet Officer, to lobby for the lake’s renaissance.  He recognised the importance and value of Clevedon Marine Lake to the local community.

As a result, and after much neglect, 2004 saw the lake’s fortunes change thanks to a community partnership that resulted in the lake being used for sailing, canoeing, open water swimming and model boat sailing.  The lake was subsequently promoted annually through Marlens’ community festival from 2005 to 2017, offering have-a-go sessions to the public, awakening North Somerset and Clevedon Town Councils’ interest in the amenity’s potential.

In 2014 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded an £800,000 grant to Marlens to help make Clevedon Marine Lake ‘as good as new’, in partnership with North Somerset Council, Clevedon Town Council and Clevedon Civic Society.  The £1m renovation project was undertaken from April to September 2015, rolling back 80 years of pounding by the sea and giving the lake a new lease of life.  Take a look at the lake’s restoration album here.

In recognition of the amazing work undertaken by volunteers from 2004 to 2015, Marlens is proud and delighted to have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2016 following the lake’s renovation.  It’s the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

MARLENS, the charity behind the lake, continues to fund raise toward the management and further development of Clevedon Marine Lake for all to enjoy.  Find out how you can Help us Help the Lake – H2L – and help Clevedon Marine Lake become a double nonagenarian!