The perimeter of the original lake was marked using satellite images, drone images and a visual site survey. Only a small area in the centre had remained free of weed as the depth here reaches 5-6ft.
Excavation commenced, carefully removing the weed, sludge and grass that had grown in over the decades. Spoil was placed in concentric circles and left so that any amphibious or pond life could safely make its way back to the watercourse. Nitrate levels so were so high however ( due to years of animal grazing faeces) that the watercourse would struggle to maintain aquatic life. A small shoal of minnows however had managed to survive and now have a large waterbody to freely swim in.
Where the stream enters the lake, which is spring fed from within the curtilage of the site, rushes had grown creating a natural bio-filter. Also a crop of purple flowers were frequently visited by wild bees. This area was kept intact and now creates a pleasant horseshoe shape to the lake. The bed of the lake was thick clay which was man-made some 30 years ago as part of a farming grant program.
Once finally cleared over the space of a week, the broken pipes connecting the small lake to the main tarn were replaced. This had previously caused flooding and the constant leakage had created a marshy area over the farm tracks.
Water is now free to flow correctly, oxygen levels have increased dramatically and the spring fed water is no longer polluted from the animal waste which has completely been removed. Nitrate and mineral levels have therefore reached normal levels again.
Importantly, Most of the spoil was taken away and recycled by a fertiliser company, the remaining spoil will be used for further landscaping.
We are very pleased with the results. This will make an ideal coaching lake and will be stocked with native trout grown on site once the aquaponics facility is up and running.
1st March 2019
We have managed to secure our first consulting contract for this project.
This European Aquaponics Research Project is worth £375,000 over the next three years and will allow us to keep to our commitments to recruit and re-train the employees needed to undertake this.
We have stated from the beginning this is not a mass production farm and not designed to compete with industrial agricultural growers. We will however massively benefit from growing our own fish stock for bio-security and already have secured an end user for our produce.
What is important is that we will clearly be able to research Aquaponics in the Uk and determine which crops can be successfully grown in temperate climates. Some of the research data and crops grown will be used to develop a new 'VEGAN' friendly range of cosmetics and haircare products for the international client.
Mechanical de-weeding was gratefully approved by the Environment Agency and Cumbria Wildlife Trust. The main tarn is over 100 years old and was dammed in the 1890's to ensure a regular water supply to a long disused lead mine.
The tarn was stocked with Carp in the 1970 / 80's and fished for may years until the owner experienced problems with poachers and fly-tipping. It has not been fished for over a decade and the carp stocks including rare Grass Carp have grown to massive sizes. It would be a shame to loose these valuable fish stocks so remedial work was paramount.