The Urbanization Of Our Parks, Open Spaces and Fishing

Robwooly

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It seems all the quiet open spaces I used to know are getting cafes for the yummy mummys, with that comes tarmac paths everywhere and of course pay & display parking, gone are the days when you could spend a quiet few hours fishing these spots. What happened to parks just having a set of swings, a place to play footie and a stretch of overgrown natural river? Why cant country parks just be a car park in the country with a toilet block, do they need a visitor centre, a cafe or an interactive trail of signs or art installations?

Does your local river now have a cycle lane in place of a muddy path running alongside or do you see that in the future?

Will nearly all the countryside eventually become a playground for city types at the weekend in day glo colours having fun with the latest day glo fad? It seems so hard to get away from it all nowadays.

Is this urban sprawl creeping into your angling club or fisheries? Are they more interested in club houses, pathways, toilet blocks and platforms than natural fishing?

Or do I need to move with the times, are these creature comforts better, are you of a generation that only knows commercial style fishing, is it good to have loads of people around you when you are fishing, is solitude overrated?
 

dry nets

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We have an old Victorian park. I say Victorian because there’s loads of pictures around showing them in the park. Plus it’s in the old Victorian part of Preston. It’s a beautiful park. There’s a cafe been opened and it does attract more people. Personally I think it’s great to see and in summer it’s rammed with families. It runs along the ribble and makes a nice run walk cycle. Unfortunately there’s a bright been closed for the unseeable future which takes you across the river. I enjoy my sunday runs around the area. It also makes a great setting for summer evening runs. There’s tons of history in this park, one path leading out is an out train path and there’s 27 viaducts buried under the tarmac. If you look closely in the hedge you could make out the topping stones. I often wonder, as I shuffle along, how many of the walkers actually know this.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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I have to say that there are not many developments like that round my way. There is Stanwick Lakes Country Park with the usual cafe & visitor centre just a couple of miles away but I don't think that has impacted fishing at all. The rest of the Nene valley is pretty much unspoilt as regards encroachment on fishing. The Wellingborough club own the land that makes up our main fishery (4 lakes and loads of river fishing) so that will remain largely untouched though people do and are welcome to use it as a country park. Vehicle access is foe members only. And we have a few non anglers who buy membership so they can park inside our gate. Parking is very limited otherwise.

There are plans to possibly create a marina and improved facilities on the river in Wellingborough and although the club owns the fishing rights permanently for the stretch of river concerned it will have little impact in real terms.

When Rushden Lakes retail park was created around 200 acres of adjacent land unsuitable for development was handed to the Wildlife Trust but I think they want to keep it as unspoilt as possible. So people visiting the shops & cafes can access some paths through the undeveloped countryside.

And on a slightly related subject, last year I discovered that the Highways Agency buy up plots of land that are left to go wild. These serve two purposes. One is to offset any land lost to road improvements such as the Chown's Mill roundabout scheme (A6/A45 junction). It also gives them places to relocate wildlife that has to be moved from land being built on.
 

Reuben

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Personally, I don’t mind not having to slog along a muddy path to get to my peg. As long as we’re still able to fish these venues I think we have to get used to sharing them.
 

Sam Vimes

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No, I live in the sticks and fish in the sticks. My local club has only "natural" river. The nature of that river means that platforms wouldn't be an option even if we wanted them. The snag is that fewer anglers actually want to fish such river. The closest it gets to what you describe is the odd public footpath on relatively short stretches of it.

My regular stillwater has paid public access, but only to walk around and only on certain days at specific times. It has a path, but most of that path is set back from the water. It's a gravel pit, so not natural, but it will never have platforms, or gravelled and prepared swims. You fish where you can get in. We do clear the odd spot to allow or maintain angler access.

I am a member of other clubs that do have platforms on both river and stillwaters. However, none have any of the other stuff you describe.
 

Silverfisher

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I don’t regularly coarse fish properly urban places instead more so on the outskirts of or just outside towns, villages and cities etc. So whilst there are paths (as you get nearly as many people wondering about given the proximity of urban areas as in the urban areas themselves) they are grass or dirt paths. I cant think of anywhere with paved, tarmac or even gravelled paths. All still have free parking as well. No cafes either but they do all have pubs nearby although I do think of riverside pubs as synonymous with fishing! A big part of fishing for me aesthetics so whilst I like places close to civilisation for their convenience I do generally pick those that look pretty natural. Have occasionally fished some very urban places but not regularly as it’s not as nice an experience for me.

Have done a fair bit of very urban sea fishing though, somehow seems different then don’t mind that at all really.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Robwooly

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But as this thread shows, once the Cafe and Visitor Centre move in, angling can be shouldered aside.

This is what prompted me to start this thread - It's dawned on me that this scenario is being repeated in many areas and in slightly different guises, not just anti angling wildlife groups but also councils and town planners. I have at least a dozen parks/open spaces off the top of my head albeit in a large area that have changed dramatically.

Beware the words Regeneration and Improvement
 

Sam Vimes

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Water lost to angling has happened frequently, for many different reasons, for years. In general, coarse angling doesn't really compete financially with other sources of income and is often left on dodgy ground by a tendency to rent rather than buy. On top of that, an element amongst us are a complete pain in the arse that landowners would rather be rid of. There are also an increasing number of folks that see angling as morally wrong.

Anyone renting water on an annual basis has to accept the fact that they may not have access to "their" water forever. How much effort and money they may expend is largely irrelevant. From bitter experience, even a long term lease can be largely worthless when a change of ownership occurs.
 

Ken the Pacman

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Even if you own a water outright if the council decide to include it in one of their garden village type schemes they will just use compulsory purchase powers to pay you what they think its worth. Its going to happen with one of the best local waters to us.
 

rudd

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Not just inland.
Council in Felixstowe have put pay and display in two car parks used by anglers for Landguard and Manor/Butts.
New cafes and facilities nearby.
 

TrickyD

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Not just inland.
Council in Felixstowe have put pay and display in two car parks used by anglers for Landguard and Manor/Butts.
New cafes and facilities nearby.
I fished a part of the Thames at Sunbury last year, which I hadn't fished for decades. There was always a car park there, but it is out of the way so hardly any cars use it, but it is now P&D, only £2 for the day and free fishing, so not much of an issue. In Kingston, most P&D by the river is limited to a few hours only, and good luck trying to find any free (non resident) parking. My council has banned fishing,River Wandle, in all its parks. There are free bits of the Wandle, but again, parking is an issue. The Thames is the only free fishing (or any fishing ) with fairly easy parking/access near me, but an hours drive usually at least.
 

Dave

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As long as they can buy a Costa or Starbucks Coffee and carry their paper cup with them for the bulk of the walk without spilling it, does it matter?

:D
 

Wise Owl

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I got a Coffee to walk down Poole Bank this Morning Bloody nice it was as well (y)(y)
 

G0zzer2

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But if there are no facilities, or hardly any, then there aren't going to be as many people visit these spaces. And that is not a good use of space in a country becoming more crowded by the day. You forget that anglers, like me, need a toilet nearby; also if there is a cafe of come sort, it's a convivial place to eat - including anglers. There are plenty of 'wild spaces' where you can fish - literally hundreds of miles of drains in the Fens which never, ever, see an angler.

Of course council and landowners are more interested in attracting 'tourists' than anglers - because anglers moan a lot and don't want to pay much!
I:)
 

BBear

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I also think a lot more people are getting out and about getting exercise and fresh air with what’s been going on - not just in parks but the local area or countryside generally. I expect many of them have found they enjoy this (myself included) and will continue after the crisis is over and this could result in more ‘infrastructure’ and facilitates being provided. There has to be a balance though.
 

rudd

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But if there are no facilities, or hardly any, then there aren't going to be as many people visit these spaces. And that is not a good use of space in a country becoming more crowded by the day. You forget that anglers, like me, need a toilet nearby; also if there is a cafe of come sort, it's a convivial place to eat - including anglers. There are plenty of 'wild spaces' where you can fish - literally hundreds of miles of drains in the Fens which never, ever, see an angler.

Of course council and landowners are more interested in attracting 'tourists' than anglers - because anglers moan a lot and don't want to pay much!
I:)
plenty of space in Scotland 😉
 
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