Recent improvements

1997

A planted maze, to enhance the entrance to Fairlands Valley Park from Fairlands Way, was constructed in 1997.

The design allowed for low growing planting to create a maze in which children could play safely.

Local school children helped design the totem poles that were then created by a local chainsaw artist.

Maze at Fairlands Valley Park

2000

In 2000 Fairlands Valley Park benefitted from three exciting projects:

The Millennium Wood was originally planted in November 1999 by school children from across Stevenage. On this day 2,000 Stevenage school children helped to plant 2,000 native trees to commemorate the new millennium.

The Millennium Avenue was also planted in November 1999. 100 English Oaks, Quercus robur, were planted along the footpath leading from the South Field car park up towards the Millennium Wood.

The Millennium Lake completed in 1971, the Boating Lake was originally lined with a thick polythene liner. By 2000 the liner had deteriorated beyond economical repair resulting in the banks of the lake becoming severely eroded and water being lost to the chalk bed below.

Millenium Lake - Fairlands Valley Park

In 2000 work began to drain and reline the lake. This work was complemented by new landscaping, to stabilise the waters edge, new viewing platforms and wildfowl ramps. In November 2001, the lake was officially opened and renamed the Millennium Lake.

2001 Scandinavian hardwood bridge

In 2001 the Council replaced the bridge, between the Environment Lake and Boating Lake, with a Scandinavian hardwood bridge. The new bridge was designed with gentle ramped approaches, resolving some of the difficulties previously experienced by visitors with push chairs, wheel chairs, or with other mobility difficulties.

2004

There are two play areas within the park.

The main play area, adjacent to the paddling pools, made some provision for toddlers and juniors. However, in 2004 works were undertaken to extend the boundary of the play area, making provision for additional fixed play equipment catering for toddlers, juniors and teenagers.

2005

The open space between the café and main lake was redeveloped in 2005.  The design sought to: Cafe seating area

  • provide a larger, more attractive space for café users to enjoy
  • provide improved access to the waters edge for those with mobility problems
  • deliver an enclosed grassed area ideal for formal or informal activity
  • provide excellent views across the main lake.

2007

Built during the 1970’s the polythene liner that retained the water throughout the lake system had become exposed and badly worn allowing water to leak through to the underlying chalk bed.

Upstream from the Millennium Lake, the Environment Lake suffered the same liner problems and, with some parts of the lake clogged with silt, there was a significantly reduced natural flow of water.

In 2006 the Council appointed consultants to undertake a comprehensive ecology survey of the lake and islands. 

In Spring 2007 clearance of scrub and vegetation, from the islands, was carried out in accordance with the ecology survey, and with guidance from the consultants.

Work began, in Summer 2007, to drain the lake and remove the silt. Reshaping of the islands was undertaken and relining of the lake followed. All of the silt originally removed, was reused within the Lake to create a habitat immediately suitable for vital micro-organisms, and to assist with the establishment of marginals.

Planting, to stabilise the banks and provide new wildlife habitats, was completed during Spring 2008.

2008

During an inspection of the Main Lake, in 2005, it was identified that a range of works were needed to be carried out to safeguard the future of the lake.

The project was programmed to take advantage of cold water temperatures during the early Spring to ensure the minimal amount of stress to fish during their removal. The construction phase of the works was carried out during the Summer and was scheduled to be completed by the autumn, thereby enabling the lake to refill during the wet Autumn / Winter period.

The Council worked closely with the Environment Agency and fisheries consultants to ensure the fish in the lake were removed in an appropriate manner and subsequently cared for. An estimated 37,000 fish were removed from the Lake in Spring 2008 - including carp, bream, roach, perch.

Works to drain the lake and carry out the necessary repairs started in June. Specialist contractors undertook the replacement of the wave deflector beams, and rejointing of the concrete surround. All works were completed within the scheduled time. During 2008 the Sailing Centre and Café received a full refurbishment of the toilets, changing facilities, showers and class room. The reception area for the Sailing Centre was also relocated and refurbished.

  Sailing Lake Fairlands Valley

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Contact details

Fairlands Valley Park
Six Hills Way
Stevenage
Herts
SG2 0BL

01438 353241
enquiries.fairlands@sll.co.uk

Grounds Maintenance
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HN

01438 242323
depot.reception@stevenage.gov.uk