Delightful walk through wetland reserve
- Credit: Keith Perry
Hidden in Clennon Valley behind the leisure centre, velopark and football pitches, you will find the most important wetland site on the English Riviera and one of its most delightful walks.
Home to many species found nowhere else in the area, the reserve comprises three manmade lakes, created by Torbay Council in the 1980s on what was once the rubbish dump.
It was fenced off and planted out with saplings and paths and benches were provided for the local community to enjoy the wildlife and take a scenic stroll around the area.
However, lack of management over a 30-year period resulted in the reserve becoming overgrown.
The paths were unpassable in wet weather and the lakes themselves in real danger of disappearing altogether.
But thanks to the dedicated work of The Friends of Clennon Lakes, formed in 2015, the area has today been restored to its former glory and is once again a place that the community can use and enjoy without sinking ankle-deep in mud or battling through dense scrub to navigate.
The group, supported by volunteers, have done an incredible job in a relatively short period winning awards along the way, including The London and Manchester Trophy for 'outstanding environmental initiative' in 2019.
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Footpaths have been resurfaced, benches restored and nest boxes provided for the lakes’ residents which include swans, ducks, moorhens, kingfishers and herons.
To access the lakes follow the footpath between the Velopark and Torbay Leisure Centre past the top of the playing fields and it will bring you to the first lake.
The lakes are linked by clearly defined paths but some sections can get muddy after rain so suitable footwear is recommended.
It's a flat, easy walk of about a mile-and-a-half. Dog walkers are welcome but are asked to ensure that their pets don't disturb the local wildlife and they should be kept on a lead, particularly around the lakes.
On reaching the third lake, you can return to the car park via a pathway alongside the wild flower meadow and playing fields.
Alternatively, you can extend your walk by taking a side path which takes you up a steep hill towards Clennon Gorge which is owned and managed by Paignton Zoo as a conservation area.
More information on The Friends of Clennon Lakes can be found at clennonlakes.org