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The Broad Picture

Broadwater Lake is a stunning body of water that runs parallel to the River Thames, stretching almost a mile in length from Weybridge to Walton-on-Thames.

 

It boasts a fascinating history dating back to Tudor times, originally forming part of Henry VIII’s grounds.

 

In recent years, the Lake has fallen into a state of serious disrepair – banks are crumbling away and silt, debris, rubbish and fallen trees need clearing.

 

We have a broad vision to restore the Lake to its former glory; to create a haven for plants and wildlife to thrive in; most importantly, to provide a beautiful natural space for everybody in our community to enjoy.

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A Broad Success

Following a ten-year campaign by the BCS, Elmbridge and Surrey Councils agreed to fund a public path on the north side of the Lake in 2017, which now runs from Walton-on-Thames to Weybridge.

 

The path provides a stunning nature walk between the two towns for thousands of people of all ages, including commuters, ramblers, parents, children, dog walkers, runners, cyclists, fishermen and visitors to the area.

 

However, the Lake itself remains in a desperate state of disrepair, a situation that threatens its future and the abundant array of of wildlife and plant species that call it home.

A Broader Success

In 2018, the BCS successfully secured funds for a survey to assess the condition of the Lake. The money was granted from Elmbridge Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Fund, for a costed survey.

 

The survey has now been carried out and has reported on the following:

  • the cost of removing the silt

  • all repairs required to the inlet/outlet pipes

  • the banks’ subsidence

  • the state of the weir

  • how to dredge the Lake of silt and fallen trees

  • how to restore reed beds for wildlife to flourish

 

You can read the full report HERE.

Broadwater Lake, 1759 - Now

The Broader Picture

We now need to raise further funds to pay for the professional and legal fees associated with the physical work it will take to restore the Lake.

 

We anticipate these will be granted by charitable bodies, foundations, companies or private individuals who are keen to make a difference in the community. With these funds in place, we anticipate the physical, restorative work being funded by a National Lottery Grant, or similar.

We’re passionate about this exciting project, which will benefit people of all ages in our local area and protect this area of natural beauty for future generations of people, birds, animals, and plant life to thrive in.

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A Broad History

The area enjoys a rich history, most notably with its Tudor links dating back to when it was home to Oatlands Palace, a residence of Henry VIII; at that time, the surrounding c.155 acres of land stretched from what we now recognise as modern-day Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames towns.

In the 1650s, Oatlands Palace was demolished and in 1740, the space was re-imagined by the ninth Earl of Lincoln, Henry Pelham Clinton, who was residing in what is today the Oatlands Hotel. Clinton was responsible for constructing Oatlands House on the site of what had previously been the Royal hunting lodge. At this time, the house was set within formal gardens for the residents and their visitors to enjoy. These fell out of fashion just a few years later, when they were replaced by a more natural-looking landscape designed by Joseph Spence, Lord Burlington and Stephen Wright, the latter working as an architect and estate manager at Oatlands for many years.

 

The new design included the man-made Broadwater Lake, which was set in acres of landscaped, natural looking parkland known as Oatlands Park. The Lake transformed the view from Oatlands House, with an eighteenth-century visitor remarking:

"It's majestic grandeur and the beautiful landscape it commands, words cannot describe, not the pencil delineate so as to give an adequate idea of this fine scene."

That majestic grandeur may have faded today, but we know it can be restored and improved upon for future generations to enjoy.

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View Oatlands & Broadwater timeline HERE