Swanholme Lakes

Description

Use the open/close headers to view different sections of the Character Area Statement. for the area you are in. A full copy of the statement can be downlaoded from the 'Documents'  section of each Character Area.

  • Overview
    This Character Area is made up of several lakes of different sizes. They were formed naturally when quarrying finished on the site in the 1960s. Around the lakes there are areas of heathland and woodland, as well as several paths. This provides a variety of spaces that are enclosed to differing degrees and have habitats at varying stages of development, for example woodland that is starting to re-grow after clearance. The sides of the lakes are mostly overgrown with vegetation, but there are occasional views through the undergrowth and across the lakes. In some places there is access directly to the water’s edge.
     
    There is an interesting variety of habitats at Swanholme. For example, there is heathland at different stages of development including sandy heath, willow carr and sphagnum bog. The area is important ecologically because it supports a wide variety of aquatic and heath plants and wildlife, especially dragonflies, damselflies, birds and reptiles.
     
    Surviving landscape elements from earlier periods include the former quarry pits that are now filled with water, several remains of quarry buildings and structures, and an old spoil heap. There are also drainage channels from the drainage of the wetlands in the early 19th century.
     
    Swanholme Lakes feels separate from nearby residential areas and the city centre itself. There are few landmarks to orientate oneself, with the exception of the high-rise apartment block, Jarvis House, which is visible from several parts of the site. It is also quiet and there is no road access except via a track from Hartsholme Country Park.
     
    Swanholme Lakes is an important piece of open space for people in neighbouring residential areas and for Lincoln itself because of its amenity, recreational and conservation values. Good pedestrian access is provided to residential areas to the east and west and the area is well used by people walking, jogging and enjoying the lakes. However, there is evidence of litter and vandalism, including previous fires.
     
    Together with Hartsholme Country Park and the Skewbridge Character Area to the north, Swanholme Lakes forms part of an important continuous area of green space stretching from the southern city boundary to the northern boundary, also taking in Burton Fields, Boultham Mere and West Common.
  • Historical Development
    The current character of Swanholme Lakes is, as the name suggests, strongly influenced by the lakes as well as surrounding woodland and heath. In recent years it has been recognised as an area of ecological importance and paths have been provided to allow visitors easier access around the area for recreational and educational activities.
     
    Earlier periods of development have left their mark on the landscape, particularly quarrying in the 1950s. Most of the lakes have been created in the former quarries and the remains of several structures that may have been associated with the industry can still be seen, as well as a spoil heap of larger stones.
     Spoil heap of larger stones created during the time when the area was used for quarrying in the 1950s
    Figure 1 Spoil heap of larger stones created during the time when the area was used for quarrying in the 1950s
     
    For much of the medieval era, as well as earlier periods, the area probably consisted of wet low-lying land together with scrubby woodland on higher ground. Pigs may have grazed in the woodlands which were probably also used to provide products such as firewood, building timber, bark, charcoal and bracken. Native oak and birch woods can be seen in the area today.
     
    Between 1804 and 1816 land to the west of Lincoln was drained by dykes and enclosed by Lord Monson, often using quickset hedges. Prial Drain runs through the western section of the Swanholme Lakes area. However, this Character Area was shown as almost entirely woodland on the 1st edition 1886 OS map, with regular straight tracks within it, and was called Hartsholme Wood in 1907.
     
    The railway, which marks the eastern boundary of Swanholme Lakes, was the Midland Railway Nottingham to Lincoln line that came to Lincoln in 1846, the first railway to do so.
     
    In the south-east corner of Swanholme Lakes a path running south-west to north-east between two lakes lies along the line of a long earlier footpath which runs all the way from Boultham Hall to Whisby Road. It is shown on the 1st edition 1886 OS map. The bridge at the southern end of Coot Minor also lies on the line of this path.
     
    A former ballast pit that is now the furthest lake to the east is also shown on the 1st edition 1886 OS map. Railway sidings, called the Doddington Ballast Sidings, ran a short way up the western edge of this pit from the main line.
     
    After 1950 the landscape across the whole area changed dramatically with the start of more intensive quarrying. However, by at least 1972 the current lakes and ponds had been created. Housing estates have grown up around Swanholme Lakes to the west, south, east and north east in the Post-War [1946-1966 AD] and Modern [1967-2007 AD] Periods.
  • Urban form
    The lakes that were formed following the end of quarrying in the 1960s dominate the Swanholme Lakes area. The lakes are surrounded by a species-rich variety of habitats including sandy heath, willow carr, sphagnum bog, grassland and woodland.
     Coot Major Lake, one of the large water bodies at Swanholme Lakes which supports a diverse flora and fauna.
    Figure 2 Coot Major Lake, one of the large waterbodies at Swanholme Lakes which supports a diverse flora and fauna
     
    The aquatic plants vary by lake as each one has different physical and chemical conditions. Nationally rare species of aquatic plants include water soldier and pillwort. These species are dependent on nutrient-poor and unpolluted waters. Wet areas are dominated by several different varieties of the sphagnum species of moss but also contain pennywort, sharp-flowered rush and slender spike-rush.
     
    The heathland in the area is at various stages of development. Areas of sandy heath in its early stages contain several varieties of the Cladonia species of lichens and the Polytrichum species of mosses. More advanced areas support gorse and a range of heathers. Woodland areas include mature pedunculate oak, ash and birch while the grassland is dominated by the heath grass species Danthonia decumbens.
     Sandy heath in the early stages of development. Swanholme Lakes contains the only example of heathland in the City
    Figure 3 Sandy heath in the early stages of development. Swanholme Lakes contains the only example of heathland in the City
     
    Much of the ecological interest at Swanholme Lakes arises from the wide variety of fauna that it supports. The sandy heath, willow carr and sphagnum bog support amphibians, reptiles and several invertebrate groups including grasshoppers, crickets, bumble bees and wasps. The open water is particularly popular with species of dragonfly and damselfly. Seventeen different species have been identified, including several scarce and declining species such as the red-eyed damselfly, black and ruddy darters and the emperor dragonfly. It is also popular with breeding birds and mammals such as great crested grebe, kingfishers and water shrews. The shallow areas around the lakes are used for breeding by common frogs, common toads, and smooth and great crested newts.
     
    The grassland has a large population of grasshoppers and the mosaic of habitats as a whole supports twenty-four species of butterfly, a variety of breeding birds such as warblers, finches and greater spotted and green woodpeckers, and reptiles such as common lizard, adder and grass snake.
  • Views
    The lakesides are mostly overgrown so views of the lakes are mostly through the undergrowth. However, there are a few places with access to the water’s edge and clear views across the lakes. The nearby high-rise apartment block, Jarvis House, can be seen from many places in the area.
  • Condition of Buildings and Streetscape

    There is evidence of litter, and vandalism, including previous fires, in the area.

  • Use
    Swanholme Lakes is used as a recreational area for walking, jogging and by young people as a place to congregate. The area is also of value as a place of nature conservation and education. Information about the different habitats and species is provided for visitors.
     Swanholme Lakes is popular for recreation and footpaths around the site provide access for visitors
    Figure 4 Swanholme Lakes is popular for recreation and footpaths around the site provide access for visitors
  • Relationship to City and Surrounding Areas
    Swanholme Lakes is about 4.5 km south west of the city centre. It provides an important recreational amenity for residents in neighbouring housing estates, particularly Hartsholme to the east and Birchwood to the west. Good pedestrian access is provided to the housing estates but vehicle access is not permitted. Parking is available at Hartsholme Country Park. The area feels separate from the urban areas of the city and orientation within it can be difficult.
     
    Together with Hartsholme Country Park and the Skewbridge Character Area to the north, Swanholme Lakes forms part of an important continuous area of green space stretching from the southern city boundary to the northern boundary. This area also includes Burton Fields, Boultham Mere and West Common and extends to just south west of the city centre.
  • Key Townscape Characteristics
    ·          A number of different-sized lakes created from old quarries with paths between them and areas of natural woodland and heath. The area has a mixture of enclosed spaces within the low growing woodland as well as small open areas of heath
    ·          The sides of the lakes are mostly overgrown, with occasional views through the undergrowth and across the lakes. A few places have direct access to the water’s edge and clear views across the lakes
    ·          There is an interesting variety of habitats. Areas of the heathland are at different stages of development including sandy heath, willow carr and sphagnum bog. The area is important ecologically because it supports a wide variety of aquatic and heath plants and wildlife, especially dragonflies, damselflies, birds and reptiles
    ·          Surviving landscape elements include:
    o         Former quarry pits from the 1950s, now filled with water, and remains of quarry buildings and structures, and an old spoil heap
    o         Drainage channels from the drainage of wetlands in the early 19th century
    ·          Provides an amenity for residents in neighbouring housing estates, particularly Hartsholme to the east and Birchwood to the west
    ·          Together with Hartsholme Country Park and the Skewbridge Character Area to the north, Swanholme Lakes forms part of an important continuous area of green space stretching from the southern city boundary to the northern boundary, also taking in Burton Fields, Boultham Mere and West Common
    ·          The area feels separate from the urban areas of the city and orientation within it can be difficult. However, the nearby high-rise apartment block, Jarvis House, can be seen in many places in the Character Area
    ·          There is no road access except via a track from Hartsholme Country Park. Good pedestrian access is provided to residential housing estates to the east and west
    ·          Swanholme Lakes is well used by people walking, jogging and enjoying the lakes. However, there is evidence of litter, and vandalism, including previous fires