the lake today
Marine Lake is an infinity lake and is said to be the largest of its kind in the world.
What is happening at the Lake?
Work to restore Weston’s Marine Lake has begun. North Somerset Council are looking to restore its use as an outdoor swimming and watersports destination along with Weston Marine Lake Mudlarks who are looking to improve the whole area and make this the jewel in Weston’s crown.
What happened to the gates?
The lake’s two faulty sluice gates were removed to allow the lake to fully drain.
What is the digger doing?
Diggers are churning up the deep layers of silt alongside the causeway to ensure the high tides can flush as much of the remaining silt out as possible.
Why has the Lake ended up like this?
The lake had become clogged up with an estimated 35,000 tonnes of silt, which has built up over 14 years.
How long will this take?
This first phase (1) of natural tidal flushing at Weston Marine Lake will continue for a while, and the lake and causeway will be temporarily closed during this time to protect the public.
Who is paying for this?
North Somerset Council has pledged to invest £300,000 to rejuvenate the beauty spot and make it a hub for watersports.
Why wasn’t this done earlier?
Previous Councils have been less interested and we are fortunate that the present team have more focus on this problem, encouraged by the Mudlarks.
Why isn’t the silt going over the wall/being pumped out over the wall?
The Council have sourced Natural England’s approval for carrying out the natural tidal flushing during spring, which would not have been the case had we delayed until after the summer due to the number of migrating birds in the area. Weston Marine works in the winter are also more difficult and costly because of storms and unpredictable conditions. An application for the Weston Marine Management Licence to pump the silt over the wall back into the sea has been made by North Somerset supported by a letter from Directors of the Mudlarks.
When will it be clear of silt?
We don’t know but we are aiming for Christmas. We will keep you posted!
How deep is the lake?
The deepest point will be by the causeway – we will let you know when we find the bottom – probably about 15 feet.
What is the bottom of the lake made from?
Probably sand/shingle/bedrock. We will find out!
How clean is the water?
It is clean. The water and silt have both been tested and are not contaminated. North Somerset Council plan to regularly test the water and we will be able to update this website accordingly. The Environment Agency will start testing water again, once their labs are not being used for Covid work – at present Weston Main’s water is ‘sufficient’.
Why is the water brown?
The colour is from the esturial landscape the river runs through on its way to the sea. The estuary’s funnel shape, its tidal range and the underlying geology of rock, gravel and sand, produce strong tidal streams and low transparency, giving the water a notably brown coloration. However, once the silt in the lake settles (post overtopping) the water should clear.
What about the summer season?
The Lake and surrounding area will be reopened and useable again for the season.
When will the big clean happen?
Depending on how successful we are with the tidal flushing, we are hoping that the final big clean will happen in the Autumn.
What’s the job of the Mudlarks volunteers?
The core group of the Mudlarks have been raising awareness, support and gathering formal public opinion via on line surveys (link) to identify what needs to happen to make this an area we can all be proud of. They are arranging fundraising to manage the regular cleans of the lake, going forward. They have managed a lot of the social media and the questions from passersby at the Lake itself. The Mudlarks are looking to fundraise and apply for funding for the following:
- Improve the area, by repairing/rebuilding the water access points and walkways;
- Install toilets/changing rooms with disabled access, external cold-water showers, a fresh water tap, more stone benches;
- Purchase beach huts to hold the cleaning kit and to act as an events station;
- Improve the visible signage to the Lake
- Raise group flags denoting the different communities involved.
- We plan to engage our community so that they become proud of the Lake, by building a History Path story, into the Lake walls, that can survive both weather and sea.
- We are also in discussion to see whether we can have a Lake Warden to maintain the Lake and also operate as an events’ organiser.
How much cleaning will be needed each year?
We are estimating that 1cm of silt returns to the Lake every overtopping tide. We will probably have to clean the lake out about three times a year. Using the hopefully new sluice gates this should make the job a lot easier than the present one. It costs about £30,000-£40,000 a year to clean. The Mudlarks volunteers (nearly 600 of you) will be asked to specifically volunteer on the clean up days and we will hopefully be supplying the kit required (wheelbarrow, shovels, chest waders, tough gloves). Regular litter picking will also take place.
What changes will we see?
North Somerset Council are planning to have the lake ‘plastic free’. This means no plastic can be purchased at any of the concessions as this is a serious source of rubbish and pollution. We are also looking to make it glass free – as this is both a danger and another source of pollution. We are also looking to enforce the ‘no dogs’ rule – this has always been the case but has been ignored. It will be a place for children to play, sports activities, yoga and an outside music, history and entertainment venue. No place for dog poo!
Will there be a charge to use the lake?
No. There is no charge. We are planning to have donation boxes at all entrances to the Lake area, which will be regularly checked and cleared by the core Mudlarks group.