Regular maintenance to a lake is vital to preserve its natural beauty, otherwise, the lake will quickly end up in a poor condition. Kingcombe Stonbury have extensive experience in the restoration of historical lakes and a good example of this can be seen throughout a recent lake desilting and restoration project that was undertaken for a private client in Oxfordshire.

The formal Water Gardens on the Estate were originally built by John Harborne in 1615 and further cleared and restored by the then proprietor Sir Harald Peake in the 1960’s. Since then, the main spring fed lake had fallen into disrepair, accumulating a large amount of silt and becoming significantly overgrown, blocking light and wind and causing the water to become stagnant. The land owner entrusted Kingcombe Stonbury with the contract to restore this historic lake back to its former 16th century glory.

Working closely with Natural England, the project involved the removal of several thousand cubic metres of silt from the main body of the lake, cutting back perimeter vegetation and installation of a new drain down penstock.  A fleet of dumpers transported and spread the removed silt onto adjoining farmland, in accordance with our permit for mobile plant for land spreading. The silt was also used for re-profiling and landscaping the lake perimeter and margins.

On completion of the desilting works, the existing penstock was replaced with timber stop logs set in steel frames and fixed to the existing structures. Reconstruction works were also carried out on the overflow channel, in keeping with the cobbled design of the original structure.

Control of over-shading marginal vegetation and the removal of excessive silt accumulation has enabled the re-growth of oxygenating aquatic plants and helped restore the ecological balance of this historic lake.   The client and Natural England were delighted with the restoration of this historic landscape feature.