We LOVE our lake

Friends of Bolam Lake group with chairman Richard Cansdale (kneeling) and Frances Povey area countryside officer for Northumberland County Council (fourth from right).
Friends of Bolam Lake group with chairman Richard Cansdale (kneeling) and Frances Povey area countryside officer for Northumberland County Council (fourth from right).
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A DEDICATED Northumberland environmental group continues to go from strength to strength since winning through to the final of a county awards scheme.

The Friends of Bolam Lake was formed seven years ago to work alongside a council countryside officer to try to increase the number of visitors to the area and carry out various voluntary tasks at the park.

With its aim of promoting, preserving and protecting Bolam Lake County Park, the group was named a finalist in last year’s LOVE Northumberland Awards for Best Coast or Countryside Project.

And as a reward, it received 50 trees for the area from the Forestry Commission.

The oak, cherry and rowan trees have now taken root and are flourishing in the popular beauty spot, which sits about nine miles west of Morpeth, off the A696.

But the Friends are not resting on their laurels and have recently created a new nesting island in the nature sanctuary.

The group’s Chairman Richard Cansdale designed and built the feature, which is named Decies Island after the man who originally owned the land and created the lake.

There are now two nesting islands and last year a family of coots was raised successfully on the first of them.

The park includes lakeside, woodland and open grassed areas, with access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Northumberland County Council Executive Member for Parks Simon Reed said: “Our country parks are greatly enhanced by groups like The Friends of Bolam Lake, who generously give up their time to work alongside our teams to improve their local area.

“It is great to see such positive results from their hard work, and also to see the ongoing benefits from the LOVE Northumberland Awards.”

This year’s awards were presented by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at The Alnwick Garden last week, sponsored by The Banks Group and the Co-operative Community Fund.

Twelve groups were honoured in categories such as Best New Project, Best Ongoing Project, Best Urban Project, Best Coast or Countryside Project, Best Young People’s Project and Best Children’s Project, with winners coming from Holywell, Ashington, Wark, Corbridge and Berwick.

The Duchess said: “The work that is being carried out by these groups is fantastic. One of the things that I believe makes Northumberland stand out is the huge number of people who are willing to give up their time on a voluntary basis to improve their local area, and these awards are marking out just some of this work.”

For more information about the awards or the LOVE Northumberland environmental campaign, visit www.northumberland.gov.uk/love