Our guides: John and Dave
Anglers Country Park: The experts' view
If you really want to get the lowdown on what to see when you're out walking in West Yorkshire it helps to talk to those in the know! We did just that to find out more about Anglers Country park near Wakefield and found out some fascinating facts!
A good place to find out why we should not just take nature for granted is the Anglers Country Park just outside Wakefield. This is an area whose landscape has changed dramatically in a relatively short period. Just over thirty years ago it was farmland and then in 1974 excavation began for what was to become one of Europe's largest opencast mine.
Showtime!: Butterflies at Anglers
Now, twenty years after reclamation work started on the site, it is almost possible to believe that there was always a lake here and yet the lake is entirely man-made, just a very large version of a garden pond!
The country park is in the care of the Wakefield Countryside Service rangers who both manage and maintain the site. It's not surprising, then, that we asked Dave Mee, Senior Countryside Ranger and John Baxter, Countryside Ranger, to guide us on our walk around the lake.
John explains why he thinks the country park is special: "One of the things is we are quite close to Wakefield but when people come out here, it's a taste of proper countryside. It's a huge lake, far bigger than most people appreciate. School children come pond dipping and when they see the size of the lake they are amazed. It's a real taste of the countryside - nice open rolling land, trees, water, marvellous. I've been a ranger for 26 years and you see something different every day. No two days are the same. It's just a great pleasure to work at a place like this."
Dave thinks the country park may have a great future ahead of it: "There's a lot of potential here. We are in an enormous area of water-body which is why we get the winter wildfowl and it's all man-made but in some circumstances over 200 years ago. Now it looks quite natural and we'd like to see that increase and farmers take an interest, and round here they are and they're now leaving strips of corn for the birds to feed on in winter. All we can ask is that people work together and what we've got is very limited, and we all have to look after it."
Lake view at Anglers
We asked Dave and John what they would like visitors to take away from their walk around the lake.
Dave says: "There is a saying we used to use, 'to leave only footprints but take away the memories,' and it's that - if the memories are in their heads they are going to return because they know it's going to be nice a second time and, to be honest, I know it works. We get 120,000 visitors here. It takes a lot of work to maintain this, we have to manage it but when you see the people's faces it's all worth it."
John adds: "One of the last things I can hear when young people leave is that they're enjoying themselves and want to come back and my vision of the future is that young people get themselves involved and they come back with their youngsters when they are older."
Want to find out more about Anglers Country Park?
Click on the link below to take the full 'Walk Through Time' at Anglers Country Park...
...and click on the audio link below to listen to John and Dave talking to Martin from the website as they walk at Anglers Country Park.
last updated: 17/03/2008 at 16:25
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