The Highams Park Snedders have been working at Highams Park Lake

by / Sunday, 24 July 2016 / Published in News

The Highams Park Snedders were working at Highams Park Lake on Saturday 23rd July alongside  the Epping Forest Conservators and you may be wondering about the work going on around the lake and why posts and wire netting have been placed in the water. There are some pictures at the foot of the page.
Last autumn the water in the lake suffered from low oxygen following an algal bloom caused by excessive nutrients in the water. The low oxygen levels caused many of the fish to die.
The Highams Park Snedders (“the Snedders”) contacted the Epping Forest Conservators (“the Conservators”) who manage the forest and asked what they could do to help. The Snedders are volunteers from the Highams Park Planning Group who assist with forestry works in the Highams Park Area.
A conservation management programme was agreed with the conservators and approved by Natural England. This included a planting  in the lake as the plants will use the nutrients within the lake which will help control certain algae. Since the algal bloom last year it appears that there has been a massive growth of oxygenating plants within Highams Park which is great news!
The new plants will include phragmites (reeds) and these will help improve biodiversity in the lake, as they will give cover from predators to fry (baby fish), amphibians (frogs and newts, etc), ducklings and coot chicks. Some of the planting will be reeds which may also attract reed buntings and reed warblers to the lake.
The netting is necessary to protect the young plants from being eaten by geese and ducks. It is only a temporary measure and will be removed in a few years’ time when the plants are properly established.
The work being done by the Snedders is under the guidance of staff from the Conservators. The planting will take place in September.
The Snedders have also been doing some clearance of scrub and dead trees to allow wind to blow across the lake, as this helps agitate the water and assists with oxygenation. Excessive scrub was not a problem at the lake until the cattle stopped grazing there in 1995. The Snedders are essentially doing what the cattle used to do, as there are no significant numbers of deer or rabbits to eat the scrub as they do in other parts of the forest.
The funding for the project was provided by ward forum grants given to the Highams Park Planning group by Hatch Lane and Highams Park & Hale End Ward Councillors. Without this grant the project would not have been possible.
If you would like to volunteer to help please go to our website: or email
In case you are wondering what the word Snedders means, it comes from the word snedding which means to lop the branches of a tree trunk after it has been felled.