Conservation, access and recreation
Our conservation, access and recreation activities are an important element in our vision to be the leading community-focused water company. We own and manage the water assets and network in a supply area of approximately 4,515 km2 split over three regions, comprising of eight separate water resource zones, in the Southeast of England.
We are the sole supplier of drinking water in these areas. We view each of our eight water resource zones as a community and because customer preferences and operating conditions may be unique to that particular community, we are committed to operating primarily at a community level.
To learn more about our conservation, access and recreation activities please view our full report here.
Affinity Water's Supply Area
We are proud of the responsible approach to communities and the environment our business plan represents. This year we have started to strengthen the governance and visibility in this area focusing on the following activities.
Managing our water resources, land and assets
We are a major landowner with approximately 1,400 hectares of landholdings that comprise a wide variety of habitats including: lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, watercourses, farmland and land adjacent to our treatment works and pumping stations. Nearly one third of our landholdings by area are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which we conserve and enhance wherever possible.
We continue to develop our estate and catchment management activities in order to achieve improved biodiversity and conservation outcomes. These range from public access and recreational use of our lakes, volunteering from our team members and activities undertaken by our award winning environment and education service.
Working with our contractors and suppliers
Many of our activities are linked with our strategic partners such as Wildlife Trusts and river groups which provide expert knowledge on the local environment, key species and habitats. We believe that by working with our regulators, team members and wider communities and involving them in constructive dialogue and increasing awareness of the challenges we all face, we will achieve the best balance of minimising the impact of our essential activities and protecting the environment.
Access and recreation
Public access to our land is permitted where it is safe and does not affect our operations. We act to improve and promote recreation activities, including bird watching, sailing and fishing. On some landholdings, due to the need to maintain the security of operational sites, access is limited or controlled.
We have long term partnerships with angling clubs, The British Disabled Water Ski Association and sailing clubs on our reservoirs.
Hilfield Park Reservoir, Hertfordshire
Hilfield Park Reservoir was constructed in 1955 by the Colne Valley Water Company, a predecessor of Affinity Water. It was built across a natural valley and formed by a concrete and earth dam. Since 1969, it has been a local nature reserve managed by HMWT on our behalf for wildlife conservation.
The site, not currently used for operational purposes, can be accessed by arrangement with HMWT. Public access has been restricted so the diverse habitats have the opportunity to flourish undisturbed. The site is of high ecological importance in the region due to the water birds it supports throughout the year.
In addition to flocks of Moulting Duck in late summer and significant populations of several waterfowl species in winter, the breeding birds are of particular importance. The Black-necked Grebe is a species of national significance. The reservoir supports other habitats, including that of the water vole and good butterfly and dragonfly assemblages. We are working with HMWT to maximise the potential of the site and to help protect key species.
Click here to find out more about Hilfield Park Reservoir
View from Hilfield Park Reservoir
Rickmansworth Lakes, Hertfordshire
Located to the south of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire and within three miles of Harefield and four miles from Watford, this complex of three lakes is a part of the Colne Valley Park and it provides the first real taste of countryside to the west of London. The valley hosts a mosaic of farmland, woodland and water, with 200 miles of rivers and canals and more than 60 lakes. It's also a living, working environment, providing employment and homes for many people, as well as being a haven for wildlife.
We own three lakes within the Colne Valley catchment. They are Stocker’s Lake, Springwell Lake and Inns Lake. All of the lakes offer great recreational opportunities including walking, bird watching and providing people with places for relaxation or family outings.
Stocker’s Lake is the central and largest of our Rickmansworth lakes in this part of the Colne Valley. It is within a designated local nature reserve established in 1982 by Three Rivers District Council. The site is managed on our behalf by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT), who offer their invaluable advice and expertise, supported by the local group, Friends of Stocker’s Lake (FoSL).
The lake was formed between the 1920s and 1940s as a result of gravel extraction. It is reported that gravel from there was used for building the old Wembley Stadium. As a consequence of the gravel extraction techniques of the time, the lake is relatively shallow with a series of linear islands, mainly along the western side. It is thanks to this intrinsic feature that the lake now provides a haven for a variety of nesting birds. It is popular with wintering ducks and over 60 species of breeding birds have been recorded there.
Visit Rickmansworth Lakes
Why not go on a walk with your family and friends around our Rickmansworth Lakes? Parking is free and conveniently situated on Springwell Lane. There is also alternative parking at the nearby Aquadrome and café where you can get refreshments. On your way around the lakes, information boards will draw your attention to specific species present on the site.
Springwell Lake is situated in close vicinity to Stocker’s Lake and is managed for biodiversity conservation. It offers recreation options that include private fishing and bird watching. The south of the lake boasts one of the largest reed beds in London. Reed beds are one of the most important habitats for breeding birds in the UK and support a number of species, including the nationally rare Bittern. We are working together with HMWT to provide better access to the site, including a specially designated viewing point for local people to enjoy. Last but not least is Inn’s Lake which offers private fishing opportunities and lakeside footpaths open to the public.
Water skiing for the disabled -Heron Lake, Surrey
We are the key partner for the British Disabled Water Ski Association (BDWSA), making the Heron Lake facility available on a long-term lease. The Association introduces people to water skiing, regardless of physical or learning ability and it is the only dedicated disabled water-skiing facility in the UK. BDWSA provides expert support, specialist assistive equipment and guidance from fully qualified instructors. In 2015, only there were around 1,500 visitors to the Lake that used the facility.
We have been proud to support the BDWSA, and the specialist recreational opportunities it offers, for nearly 20 years, especially as it involves working with people who have not previously considered the sport accessible.
The facilities at Heron Lake
Sailing Club - Silverwings Lake, Surrey
Silverwings Sailing Club Facilities
For a number of years we have been providing facilities to Silver Wing Sailing Club, located in Wraysbury. The facilities are situated approximately one mile from the M25, junction 13 on 48 hectares of land and water. The club has a growing number of dedicated members with a very strong family atmosphere. It has recently become a fully recognised by the Royal Yachting Association as a training centre and they also have a very active children's section. There is wide selection of club boats available for learning sailing and developing skills into club racing.
Click here for more information
In addition, the site is also a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), dedicated for the presence of rare bird species such as Gadwall. We work closely with Club and Natural England and undertake regular surveys of the site to monitor its ecological status.
Angling clubs on our lakes
As part of our commitment to working in our community, we offer recreational opportunities such as angling. We support and work with five angling clubs that allow fishing on nine of our reservoirs with a mix of both managed and natural fish stocks. We value our long lasting relationship with the clubs who provide stewardship on our land, safeguarding local wildlife and water quality.
To learn more please view our full report
Angling on our Lakes