Longholme Lake (finally) gets some lockdown love

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How the lake looks if Adrain doesn't keep up his constant maintenance. He now wants to work with the council to find a more long-term solution.

The team at Longholme Café have dedicated hours of their time and effort over the past three years to keep the boating lake clear of weeds.

This year, thanks to coronavirus, they’re a bit behind schedule.

Adrian Allen looks after the annual clearing of weeds and algae from the lake, and he is finally beginning to get into action.

“The main reason for the constant choking weeds is due to the build-up of silt on the bottom of the lake which has continued over years and years,” explained Adrian.

“This needs removing every ten years at a minimum, as once silt is allowed to build up the sun hits the lake and warms the water quickly and easily.

“The nutrients in the silt are very rich and the weeds flourish. The first task this year was months late due to the stay-at-home policy.”

Adrian’s first job of the year was to carry out a full ‘hair cut’ of the weeds with the TRUXSAW boat.

This has to be done over a number of days because of the sheer size of the task.

The lake then has to rest for a week so the cut weeds can work their way to the surface.

Adrian can then start the job of collecting the weeds and scooping them out of the water to dry out on the bank.

“As you can see after carrying out this, the lake looking stunning,” said Adrian. “But, it’s not even two weeks and the lake has become a swamp again.”

Longholme Lake after Adrian has been out on his special boat to clear weeds and algae

Adrian has been in talks with the council to agree that dredging will break the cycle and lessen this constant problem.

“If we can work out a solution of where to pump the silt within the close vicinity, then this lake will look beautiful without the need for weekly maintenance for ten years plus.

“Fingers crossed the council will come up with the answer and I can get dredging, I will need a second pair of hands if anyone is free this winter as the dredging process will take a number of weeks.”

The Bedford Independent put Adrian’s request to the council who said that further dredging at Longholme Lake is planned for the autumn.

“The Longholme café has been doing fantastic work keeping the lake clear, as part of their growing business on Bedford’s beautiful riverside,” said a council spokesperson.

“The Council has invested and looked at various options to tackle this problem in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way and this work continues,” they added.

“We are working closely with the Longholme café exploring options around the silt in the lake, and talking to the Environment Agency about potential improvements for the lake wildlife.”

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