Angling & Conservation – Fulfilling A Dream

The Angling Trust is an avid supporter of maintaining and improving fisheries – and so are our staff!

Outwood Pool, an urban oasis in Manchester, is owned by Andrew ‘Drew’ Chadwick. (above, right) Drew is the Angling Trust’s Environment Officer for the South of England


Outwood Pool dates back to the mid-1800s and was originally dug for a large paper mill somewhere between 1840-1860. Historically, the pool has always been fished, with stocking records for bream and carp going back to the 1980s. 

The paper mill had a very active angling club present for years, which maintained the pool to an excellent standard for the fish and surrounding wildlife.

Unfortunately, once the paper mill was shut down and demolished, the workers became redundant and the pool was abandoned. It was owned by the council on a long-term lease and under the agreement it would be maintained for the public. Instead, Outwood was all but neglected and over the course of 20 years, suffered with vandalism and wildlife crimes. 

But Drew saw the pool’s potential and in 2019 he contacted the council and sent them his plans to stop it from going past the point of no return. The council was thrilled to receive them and, after 12 months of endless emails and phone calls, Drew became the owner of the newly named “Outwood Fishing & Conservation Pool” with a vision to offer angling opportunities, increase the biodiversity of the site as a whole and return it to its former glory.

He is now two years into the project and has been successfully operating a 20-person syndicate, all of whom take great joy in looking after the site collectively.

They also have a group of non-angling volunteers on board who help to maintain the pool, often doing litter picks among other less glamorous tasks!

Drew’s charm clearly extended further than the lake because initially, some of the nearby residents had misconceptions about angling due to some bad practice from previous anglers. But Drew and his team have now developed a great working relationship with the locals. “Some of the feedback from residents has been staggering, making all our hard work worth it.”

These past two years has seen tireless work from the anglers to improve the site, including installing a water’s edge foot path, bird boxes, swim building, landscaping banks, litter picks (both terrestrial and in the water), snag removals, tree and marginal vegetation planting amongst many other tasks.

All of which has been carried out collectively by their incredible members, who all feel part of a team and a sense of involvement.

“This has had a hugely positive impact on our members’ mental and physical health,” added Drew.

They have reported a vast improvement in the flora and fauna since the takeover of the pool and Drew said: “One success story which springs to mind is the vast amount of bumble bees present on the site, which I presume is a result of planting an abundance of wildflowers as well as marginal plants such as yellow flag iris.”

Another notable benefit since the takeover is the successful recruitment of cygnets. In the past, this site has never been able to sustain young cygnets, either through complications with the hatch, general vandalism of the nests or natural issues such as fox predation.

“Upon takeover, we managed to lower the water level and prune lots of dead wood which has now provided a safe area for the swans to nest. This spring, we noticed four eggs on the nest, which is more than ever before, so us anglers, as well as the locals are all really looking forward to seeing how they get on this year.” 

Funding dependent, Drew and his syndicate have plenty of plans in the pipeline, including engaging the local community more by hosting fishing workshops and fun days. They’re also looking to install an education centre or outdoor classroom which they hope the local community centres and schools will utilise to teach future generations life skills such as woodwork, including (of course) building bird boxes and introducing children to the joys of fishing.

GET INVOLVED WITH LOVE FISHING LOVE NATURE

Do you have your own success story or beautiful nature encounters from being out fishing? We would love to hear about them! Please send stories, pictures and videos to Liberty Denman, our Love Fishing Love Nature officer, on liberty.denman@anglingtrust.net And if you post on social media, don’t forget to tag us and use the hashtag #LoveFishingLoveNature.

Want to find out more? Take a look at our webpage: https://anglingtrust.net/get-involved/love-fishing-love-nature/

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