Lake closed for draining

We will be closing Clevedon Marine Lake on Sunday, October 4th 2020 until Thursday, October 15th. During this time, we will drain all the water from the lake and bring in the digger to remove as much silt as possible. We will also mend a broken penstock and do other essential cleaning and maintenance work.

The lower promenade around the lake will be out of bounds from October 5th to 9th.

Why are we draining the lake?

Clevedon has the third highest tidal range in the world. Along with strong currents, the huge tides stop the silt in the Bristol Channel from settling — that’s why the Bristol Channel looks brown! When the tide comes over the lake wall, it brings silt, which settles on the lake bed. If we don’t remove the silt, it’ll build up and the lake will get shallower. It’s also important for better water quality that we remove the mud.

Who cleans and maintains the lake?

A charity called Marlens (Marine Lake Enthusiasts) looks after the lake. It raises funds to pay for the licence to remove the silt, hire a digger and pay for its maintenance. Marlens is run by volunteers, and everyone who lends a hand with the cleaning and maintenance is also a volunteer.

We need your help

Many hands make light work. If would like to get stuck in and help with the cleaning we welcome helpers of all ages (under 16s must have a grown-up helper with them). Please email volunteer@clevedonmarinelake.co.uk

We also need to raise funds to pay for this vital work. It costs about £20k a year to keep the lake in tip-top condition, so please consider becoming a friend of the lake, donating or joining our lottery.

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.

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.

What’s Up

Sirena the mermaid, who has been watching over the lake since December 2018 retired from marine life in January, somewhat dishevelled and weather-weary!

The sunken buoy has been relocated nearer to the model boat lake and is now visible above water, so should no longer give swimmers an unwelcome start!

MARLENS’ AGM opens its doors to the lake community on Sunday 15th March starting at 6.30pm in Clevedon Sailing Club.  All welcome including volunteers, Friends, Lottery members, lake users, clubs and coaches.

January’s Winterfest raised over £700 for MARLENS, the charity behind the lake, which will be put to good use supporting major projects in March.

The lake will be drained on 29th February to enable mud clearance commencing 2nd March, before beginning to refill on 8th. This is part of an annual programme to dredge the lakebed each October and March costing £7,500 a year. If you are able to help with litter picking and/or cleaning during the week, please contact volunteer@marlens.org.uk

Six new concrete benches are being installed whilst the lake is empty, costing over £3,000, creating more seating around this amazing space.

It costs £15,000 a year just to run Clevedon Marine Lake, on top of these investment projects, which is raised solely through fund raising, so please remember to drop a coin or two into one of the collection boxes at the access points on the upper promenade.

MARLENS is recruiting! A secretary to help with meeting administration and organisation. For more details on pay and hours, contact info@marlens.org.uk

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.

Clevedon Marine Lake will be closed… Sunday 20th to Saturday 26th October 2019

Clevedon Marine Lake will be drained down and remain empty next week, to allow for its autumn programme of maintenance work including dredging mud and silt from the lakebed that has accumulated since its renovation and reopening in 2015.  Mud clearance in the main lake will be undertaken annually over future years to minimise build up.

When the model boat lake was last cleared out in September 2017, a mini digger shifted an estimated 16 tonnes of silt in just one day.  That volume alone had settled over 9 months – the equivalent to 250 black bin liners full of mud!

The lake should fully refill during the first high tide on Sunday 27th October at 6am, and be usable between 9am and 5pm, avoiding overtopping tides that day.

Next week’s schedule is as follows:

Sunday, 20th October Lake drain from 10am. Litter picking and evacuation of lakebed, 2pm – 6pm.
Monday, 21st – Friday, 25th October Lake empty for digger access, silt clearance and cleaning of lake surrounds.
Saturday, 26th October from 6pm Lake refill which continues during Sunday, 27th October with two overtops from 5am and 5pm.

 

Do your bit for water quality

Clevedon Marine Lake is a much-loved community asset.  Lake users can follow six simple steps to help keep the water quality good in the lake:

  • No dogs lakeside.
  • Use the public toilets next to the arcade.
  • Use crabbing bait like bacon sparingly and clean up any scraps.
  • Not swim when unwell.
  • Use the drinking tap and freshwater shower adjacent to HM Coastguard Clevedon rescue station.
  • Drop £1 in one of the donation boxes every visit, to help pay for water quality testing and lake care.

During the warm summer months, when the lake is heavily used, the water quality in Clevedon Marine Lake is sampled before and after each series of overtopping tides (approximately those over 12.5m) to provide a baseline health check.  The test results are shared to allow lake users to make an informed decision about entering the water.

Poor bathing water quality test results occur from time to time.  The causes include:

  • A prolonged warm spell. Although UV in sunlight kills off harmful bacteria, it is only effective at surface level where the light can penetrate.
  • Heavy usage stirring up sediment from the lakebed.
  • Heavy rainfall causing run-off into the Severn Estuary, entering the lake on overtopping tides.
  • Contamination from human or dog waste.

Clevedon Marine lake is a semi-natural environment.  It is a living space filled by sea water from the Severn Estuary.  Faecal coliforms are present all around us and inside us.  They live in our gut.  Mammals (including humans), fish and birds produce them all the time.  Faecal coliform bacteria can enter aquatic environments through direct discharge of waste from these species, from agricultural and urban storm runoff, and from human sewage.

There is a year-round ‘NO DOGS’ order in place at Clevedon Marine Lake and the splash pool for public health protection, to reduce the risk of unfriendly bacteria draining into the lake.  A single gram of dog waste can contain millions of faecal coliform bacteria, known to cause cramps, diarrhoea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans.  Faecal coliform bacteria can also present as eye or ear infections.

Updates on the water quality in Clevedon Marine Lake are shared here.  If a poor result is reported, it is recommended that the public do not swim in the lake until the water has refreshed and been retested.  People may choose to use the lake at their own risk in the meantime.  Any swimmers doing so are advised to wear ear plugs and goggles to protect against infection.  All visitors having contact with the lake water are advised to wash hands before eating.

In addition, the water quality in the Severn Estuary, which refills the lake, is monitored regularly by the Environment Agency throughout May to September, with samples taken from Clevedon Beach adjacent to Clevedon Marine Lake.  Poor water quality warnings are issued on-line – and the most recent water quality test results also can be checked.

 

Splashing out on the splash pool

From Monday 11th to 20th March, Clevedon Marine Lake will be partially drained to enable contractors to access the inner lake wall to install an inlet valve in the splash pool wall – timed to avoid overtopping tides.  The splash pool area will be fenced off for the week from 10th March.  As the water level will be lowered, the lake will also be unavailable to users.  The lake should refill on Tuesday 19th March at around 6pm.

The new drain works for the splash pool, costing over £4,000, will make sluicing and maintenance of the splash pool a lot easier for volunteers – as it normally requires pressure washers and electric pumps to clean it thoroughly.  In future, thanks to this project, the same will be achieved using the sea wall valve to drain the pool and the lake wall valve to let water in to flush everything through.  The investment will be well worthwhile, also enabling youngsters to enjoy good, clean fun every time they visit the splash pool.

There’s lots to do from Sunday afternoon on March 10th until March 19th, in terms of litter picking, muscle work and site management, so if you can spare any time to help out, please contact volunteer@marlens.org.uk

Ship shape and Bristol fashion

Ship shape and Bristol fashion

The Marlens’ technical team have been kept busy around Clevedon Marine Lake during the winter months doing lots of essential maintenance and repair work as well as installing new facilities such as the concrete benches and donation boxes. As Lake Day approaches on Saturday 24th March, the pace will pick up to ensure everything’s ship shape to kick start lake season.

Alan Wilson, who heads up all things technical at the lake, fills us in:

The Lake doesn’t exactly care for itself! There will be litter picking sessions occurring with increasing frequency over the next few weeks. As the weather improves, and spring is anticipated, we will have more visitors to the lake and that inevitably generates more work for us!

On 10th March we will be carrying out the first deep clean of the season in the splash pools.  We stop the water entering the pool, drain it and then pressure wash it to remove silt and any algae. We’re currently exploring a paint treatment for the bottom of the splash pools to help reduce any build up. 

On 17th March we will replace the flags on the upper promenade (supplied by North Somerset Council) and put the splash pool hand pump back in place.

If we can get a few dry days without seawater lapping over the lake edges, we will also be painting new ‘NO DIVING’ notices around the lake border. The donation boxes will also go back up over the next few weeks following the initial vandal attack.

Subject to funding being available, we will also try to get more concrete plinth benches in place this year.

De-silting the lake bed has been deferred until late autumn to avoid draining the lake during peak season.

Any volunteers or BLOG readers with useful DIY skills are welcome to join our technical team. We can always use more help! 

To offer help or enquire about 2018 lake maintenance and improvement projects, please contact info@clevedonmarinelake.co.uk  To keep up-to-date on all lake news, follow us on Facebook

Alan Wilson, 26th February 2018