New playground opens in Lightwater Country Park

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce the opening of a new playground in Lightwater Country Park.

The new playground at Lightwater Country Park has officially opened. After an £80k makeover, the fantastic new facility was opened on Friday 8 November at a ceremony at the playground’s new location next to the cafe.

Lightwater Country Park new playground

The new playground features two multiplay units, pick up sticks climbing frame, activity net, various swings including a basket swing, an agility trail, musical babel drum and a ‘rock ‘n bowl’ roundabout.

The winning Wicksteed design was chosen following an extensive consultation held by SHBC earlier this year, including local children, followed by a public vote. This playground was refurbished as part of a wider Play Area Improvement Scheme across Surrey Heath, worth £650,000 over three years.

Other play areas refurbished so far include Cheylesmore Park, Camberley, Frimley Lodge Park, Briar Avenue, Lightwater and Evergreen Road, Frimley. Further playgrounds earmarked for improvement through the scheme include Old Dean Recreation Ground, Camberley.

Lightwater Country Park is a 59-hectare area of predominately heathland habitat, which also features ponds, woodland, meadows and areas of scrub. The heathland within the Country Park has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and as such is an important area of high conservation value.

The park is home to a wide variety of birds, animals, insects and plant life. Facilities and features of the park include walking trails, grazing livestock, fishing, a cafe, educational service, tennis courts, sports pitches and a leisure centre. www.surreyheath.gov.uk/lcp

Lightwater Country Park gets its first Green Flag Award

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce double celebrations as Lightwater Country Park achieves its first Green Flag Award, and Frimley Lodge Park its 19th.

Lightwater Country Park has been recognised by the Green Flag Award scheme as one of the best in the country. It’s the first time the 59-hectare park in Surrey Heath has been awarded this international mark of quality.

And it was a day of double celebrations in Surrey Heath as Frimley Lodge Park received a Green Flag Award too – for an amazing 19th time.

The parks are among a record-breaking 1,970 UK parks and green spaces, and 131 in thirteen other countries around the world, that will today receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

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Attending Lightwater Country Park play area consultation

The consultation on Lightwater Country Park play area is in my patch, so had to attend and give my opinion.

Four imagined play areas were presented for people, and children, to view and discuss with a member of Surrey Heath Borough Council’s recreation team.  I made my choice which is shown in the photo below.

The new play area will be located next to the Lightwater Country Park Cafe and Visitor Centre. A sensible location.

A week for nature lovers in local heathland

Heath Week – a good initiative by the Thames Basin Heaths Partnership to explore the natural world in our local heathland, through the week from 29th July to 4th August.

Lightwater Country Park and Chobham Common feature in the activities. Click on images to expand.

Volunteers do good work removing invasive rhododendrons

Yesterday morning I joined a party from Surrey Heath Tree Wardens clearing invasive rhododendrons from Lightwater Country Park.

Our work area was around the Hammond ponds, specifically the upper Hammond pond. The weather was kind to us, resulting in a happy and satisfied party. Some of the party will return this Saturday morning to continue the work.

Here are a couple of photos. One is of  Trefor Hogg, chairman of Surrey Heath Tree Wardens, and the other of the piles of cleared rhodos.

Burn off Christmas calories with a Winter Walk in Lightwater Country Park

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce that,

The Surrey Heath Walking for Health Scheme is delighted to announce that it has been chosen as one of five locations in the UK to be a host of the Ramblers’ annual Festival of Winter Walks.

The cold crisp days of winter are a magical time to go walking, with transformed scenery and spectacular early sunsets – it’s a great way to escape the demands of the festive season for a few hours too.

Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) is pleased to invite people to join them for a short seasonal stroll in beautiful Lightwater Country Park during the Festival of Winter Walks, which runs from 23 December to 7 January.

The Festival of Winter Walks, supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is now in its 30th year – so the Ramblers know a thing or two about the joys of getting out and about in the colder weather.  The details of the Festival walk in Surrey Heath are:

Lightwater Country Park New Year’s Resolution Walk

  • Date: 1 January 2018
  • Start time: 10 am
  • Starting Point: Lightwater Country Park Cafe
  • Distance: 2km
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Description: The walk will follow the 2km Heathland trail which takes in ponds, heathland and woodland as well as the beautiful Curley Hill which boasts views of Ascot Racecourse, Wembley Stadium and the Crystal Palace transmitter! Why not bring your family and friends along for a sociable and rewarding morning out in the park?

Everyone that takes part in the walk will be given a pedometer to record their number of steps, as well as a family friendly quiz to complete, a walk brochure and stocking full of duck feed for the ponds.

On returning to the cafe, every walker will automatically be entered into a prize draw. Prizes include a £50 Amazon voucher and family swim at the Arena Leisure Centre. Walkers can then share stories and wind down with a free jacket potato with filling in the Lightwater Country Park cafe.

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Lightwater Country Park achieves ‘Favourable’ assessment from Natural England

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce that,

Lightwater Country Park has achieved the highest rating from Natural England for the condition of its ecologically important habitat.

The area of heathland within the Country Park has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Country Park is therefore an area of high nature conservation value, protected by law.

In the most recent assessment by public body Natural England (NE), the habitat management of Lightwater Country Park by Surrey Heath Borough Council has been praised. The report, following NE’s visit in August 2017, said: “The diversity and quality of habitat management actions being undertaken is excellent, and is maintaining and enhancing the heath land habitat.

“It is a result of this diligent stewardship of the Country Park/SSSI site that habitat conditions have improved to bring the site into favourable condition and this is to the credit of Surrey Heath Borough Council.”

The ‘strategic and sensitive signage”, active visitor management, use of goats to control invasive trees and scrub, and abundance of heathland birds such as the Dartford warbler are all commended in the report.

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Day Fishing available at Lightwater Country Park

Surrey Heath Borough Council is pleased to announce that day fishing will be available at Lightwater Country Park from June 2017.

In a new initiative, day fishing will be possible on Hammonds Pond, which offers mixed course fishing so is an ideal place for pleasure angling. There are 10 ‘swims’ (fishing spots) available on the pond. A valid Environment Agency rod licence is required.

Day fishing will be offered from dawn to dusk, starting at the beginning of the fishing season on 16 June. Permits must be purchased from the Lightwater Country Park (LCP) café during opening hours (10am – 4pm).

For those that have arrived at dawn and are already set-up, permits can be bought over the phone by credit card if anglers do not wish to leave their tackle.

The cost to fish at LCP (Mon – Fri only) is:

  •                                        One rod        Two rods
  • Adult                                    £6                   £8
  • Child                                    £3                    £5
  • OAP concessionary rate:  £3                   £5
  • The entire pond is also available to hire for events and competitions at a day rate of £70. Hammonds Pond will be open for fishing from 16 June 2017 until mid-March 2018 when the angling closed season starts.

    More info: www.surreyheath.gov.uk/residents/sport-leisure-parks/parks-playgrounds/lightwater-country-park

    A Swan and Mallard ducks slither on the ice of Hammond’s Pond

    Popping into the Windlesham Parish Council office in The Avenue in Lightwater I spied, in the distance, birds slithering around on the iced-over Hammond’s Pond.

    After my Parish Office visit, on which more later, I toddled over to the pond. I was delighted to see a Mute Swan paddling in the water with no ice. A couple of young families joined me, and began feeding the ducks. The Swan then wandered over.

    The Swan came very, very close to me. I told it that I hadn’t any food. Also, I noticed that it wasn’t ringed. Odd, as I thought that Swans were generally ringed.

    I know one reader – Pippa – will be especially pleased to know we’ve a Swan on our pond. Pippa tells me that their cob [male] Swan on Tomlins Pond died, and his pen [female] has flown away. Pippa is trying to get Swans back on their pond, saying

    I follow Swan Lifeline on Facebook and the Swan Sanctuary too – should your readers be interested. They can follow rescues and swan updates – interesting for me.

    Here are my photos and a short video of the Swan.