Ensor’s Pool, Lingmoor Park, Nuneaton

With the weather in Brixham looking ropey and the dive team reduced to two, a change of plan was in order. As something different, we decided to dive Ensor’s Pool, a flooded former clay pit that had served a local brickworks and colliery, and which is now a local nature reserve (and had not been dived by the club before). The lake is 220 metres long by 50 metres wide, and was reported to have an average depth of 8 metres. The aim of the diving ops was to:

  • Survey the lake bed to determine its approximate profile and composition
  • Confirm the maximum depth
  • Determine whether there were any fish or other wildlife present – especially British white clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) that had reportedly been wiped out after the inadvertent introduction in 2006 of their nemesis, the dastardly American signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)
  • Find out if any heritage items remain from the former clay pit
  • Look for underwater litter.

We parked in the free carpark at the end of Haselbury Corner (CV10 7GE), and walked down to the lake to establish there were three likely entry/exit points along the path that circles it. At the southerly end is a picnic table, with evidence of a fire and the remains of fireworks, presumably from the night before.

We kitted up and decided to enter the water at the mid-point of the lake. For the first dive we traversed it on a bearing of 240 degrees, turned right (toward what we thought was likely to be the deeper end) and swam for about 10 minutes before crossing back over to the other bank and heading back to the point we entered. Usefully there was a ~10 inch clay drainage pipe at that point that provided a step to aid egress!

For the second dive we decided to head to the southerly end on a bearing of 120 degrees and from there circumnavigate the lake, leaving again at the same entry/exit point.

From these dives, we established that from knee depth water at the edge of the pool, there is a drop off after about 5 metres. This ledge is covered in oxygenating weed all the way around the lake. The maximum depth of water is ~10.5 metres with a fine clay layer, of around 20 cm, covering the bottom. Visibility varied from 2 to 4 metres. There was some undulation in the lake bed towards the middle (of an order of up to a couple of metres), which made establishing when we were back at the bank difficult! One low brick wall was seen in the mid-point of the lake, but no other heritage items were found.

No crayfish were seen, but it is the end of their season, and so this does not conclusively demonstrate their absence. Two juvenile pike were seen, and one rather ancient looking perch. Some freshwater mussels were found on a small saloon car found at the southerly end of the lake.

The car dated from the 1970s, and is possibly a Triumph Dolomite (unfortunately at this point the camera battery died) – the boot lid was missing, as was the driver’s window, and although the bonnet was not lifted, peering through a gap suggested the engine may have been removed.

At the north-westerly end of the lake was the capsized wreck of a kayak. Other rubbish in the water included a pair of chemical drums, an unidentified spherical plastic object (not a buoy, but similar in appearance), a plastic drainage tank, a wheel, a lorry tyre, and dozens of soft drink and beer cans or varying vintages.

A future day’s diving should be carried out when crayfish are more active (easy to judge from the population in nearby Stoney Cove) to survey them and carry out an underwater litter pick.