The Green Heart of Poringland


Liz Dack Stands Down as Trustee

One of the lakes’ best known personalities has decided to stand down as a trustee with immediate effect. 

Liz Dack has decided to call it a day in order to concentrate on her other interests, in particular her wildlife photography and work as an education events volunteer with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. 

I am sure I speak for all the trustees in saying how much we have appreciated Liz’s involvement” said chairman John Overton. 

“Trustee committees are all about a balance.  Liz brought to the table a wealth of experience regarding all wildlife matters which, at the end of the day, is what this area in Poringland is all about. 

“Every trustee brings a different set of skills to this wonderful site situated in a very built up area.  Without these different skills Poringland would be a poorer place” said John.

Happily Liz plans to continue her involvement with the lakes and will still visit on a regular basis to take photographs of the wildlife and catch up with her many friends.

Lakes Community Saddened 

The Lakes’ community has been saddened to hear of the death of one of its best known personalities. 

Michael (Mick) Wright, who together with work mate Adrian Pegg played a key part in restoring the lakes, has passed away aged 70. 

Mick worked for Norfolk Homes for many years as a digger driver and spent the last months of his career moving tonnes of soil and ballast to create two magnificent conservation ponds at Poringland Lakes. 

"Mick was really popular. His death has come as a real shock" said lakes’ vice president Ray Noble. "He was always obliging and went the extra mile to ensure the restoration project was a huge success. Mick will be sadly missed" he added. 

Mick passed away on Saturday 2 June, after falling victim to an aggressive form of lung cancer.  His funeral service took place at North Walsham Methodist Church on Tuesday 19 June.

All his many friends at Poringland Lakes extend their sincere sympathies to Mick's wife Janet and family. 

Trustees Thank Long Serving Solicitor 

Poringland Lakes have acknowledged one of its longest serving and committed supporters. 

David Clarke, a partner in Leathes Prior, has provided legal advice to the association for over 15 years. 

To celebrate the milestone, chairman John Overton (who is also chairman of South Norfolk Council), together with trustees Paul Bonham and Rod Witham, visited Leathes Prior offices in The Close to surprise David with a presentation. 

For once the well known solicitor who lives in Poringland was lost for words as he received the engraved glass plaque and presentation wine package. 

“David has been associated with the lakes from the very start" explained John Overton. "He helped us to purchase the land from RMC back in 2003 and has provided us with sound legal advice ever since. 

"David gives freely of his time, so we are really indebted to him" added John.              

“Thanks too to David’s colleagues as Leathes Prior who did a magnificent job in keeping the secret and organising the presentation.”

"A Very Special Place" says Wildlife Photographer

A newcomer to Poringland Lakes rates it as one of the best venues for dragonflies he has seen in over 40 years of wildlife photography. 

"It's a very special place" said 77 year old Ted Lemmon who has recently moved to Norfolk with his family. 

“Not only does it have rare dragonflies like the Norfolk Hawker but the sheer variety of dragonflies in such a small site is amazing" he said excitedly.        

Formerly a wildlife ranger with Bury St Edmunds Leisure Department, Ted regularly took visitors on guided walks of local nature reserves and introduced scores of children to fishing at the town’s lakes. 

Liz Dack Stars on BBC Countryfile  

Poringland Lakes’ trustee and renown local wildlife photographer, Liz Dack, appeared on this evening’s BBC Television’s ‘Countryfile’ programme.

Liz, alongside presenter John Craven, compared today’s female wildlife photographers with those of yesteryear in particular Emma Louisa Turner.   

Fittingly the programme featured some of Liz’s stunning birdlife photographs.

Emma Turner (1867- 1940) was an ornithologist and pioneering bird photographer whose 1911 picture of a nestling bittern in Norfolk was the first evidence of their return to Britain as a breeding bird after local extinction since the late 1800s.

For 20 years, she lived and worked for part of the year at Hickling Broad, chiefly on a houseboat of her own design, which she named ‘Water Rail’ after the first photograph she took in the Broads of a water rail.  She also had a hut on a small island in the south-east of Hickling Broad.

Her bittern picture resulted in her being awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Photographic Society.

Liz Dack's modern day photo of a bittern

Changes to Management Committee

The lakes management committee has a new yet familiar look about it.

Following the resignation of founding trustee Ray Noble and Ryan Westgarth who is returning to his native Essex, vice president Mick Waller will fill one of the vacancies on a permanent basis, and a new face will join the board of trustees.

34-year-old Jonny Causton (pictured above), who has lived most of his life in the village, is an avid and accomplished angler who holds the record for the biggest carp caught at the lakes, the 17lb 14oz 'Appleslice'.

“I am delighted to be asked to join the committee as a trustee.  I really love fishing at Poringland so it will be good to give something back” said Jonny who works in the insurance industry.

Chairman John Overton was delighted with both appointments.

“Mick had no hesitation in volunteering his services.  He approached me immediately after the annual meeting about becoming a trustee” explained John.

“Jonny will bring a fresh and youthful outlook to the team and has a wealth of knowledge about fishing” he added. “We are pleased to have him on board”  

Meanwhile founder Ray Noble has been appointed as a vice-president in recognition of his outstanding service to the Association since it was formed in 2002.

John Overton Elected South Norfolk Chairman

Newly elected South Norfolk Council chairman, John Overton, is enjoying his term of office.  John, who is also chairman of the board trustees for Poringland Lakes, was delighted to accept the post.

“It’s a great honour if a bit daunting” said John. “I am really enjoying my year in office, getting out and about in South Norfolk and meeting as many people as I can.” 

The chairman presides at full meetings of the Council, represents the Council at civic events and acts as a community ambassador.  The position is held for a one-year period and is apolitical.

One of the first to congratulate John was Lakes’ president Dave Gudgeon, who himself was vice-chairman of the Council in 2007. 

Norfolk Homes’ Project Celebrated

The end of an ambitious and costly project to restore Poringland Lakes was celebrated when the trustees made a special presentation to Norfolk Homes’ managerial team responsible for the restoration. 

Making the presentations to managing director Philip Makepeace and Ridings’ site manager Sean Eagling, association chairman John Overton praised Norfolk Homes for their commitment and support, not only to the lakes but to the village as a whole. 

The project, to restore three fishing lakes and two conservation ponds, took two and a half years to complete at an estimated cost of over £250,000.  It involved re-profiling each lake to improve access and safety, laying a geo-textile membrane and landscaping. 

Fittingly three of the founding trustees who are still board members, Dave Gudgeon, Ray Noble and Dr George Shearer, were on hand to join the celebration. 

“The transformation is remarkable” said Dave Gudgeon.  “It’s hard to visualise how much has changed since I first visited the site all those years ago.” 

Founding member Ray Noble was equally impressed.  “Norfolk Homes have done a wonderful job.  We can’t thank them enough” said Ray. 

“Now, thanks to Norfolk Homes, Poringland can truly boast one of the finest conservation and fishing sites in the country” he added. 

Task and Finish 

The old adage "task and finish" took on a whole new meaning for two Norfolk Homes' employees recently. 

After working for the Sheringham based company for many years, digger drivers Adrian Pegg and Michael Wright were charged with one last job, digging out and lining the two conservation ponds, before retiring. 

Adrian and Michael have been responsible for all the restoration work at Poringland Lakes which has taken close on three years to complete. 

No one was more appreciative of their efforts than lakes' founder member Ray Noble who was on hand to present the pair with engraved glass plaques to commemorate their efforts.          

"Adrian and Mick have been tremendous" said Ray. "Nothing was too much trouble for them and they have done a magnificent job which will stand testament to their professionalism" for decades to come" added Ray.

Commendation for Peter Aspinall

Lakes trustee Peter Aspinall has been highly commended at one of the county’s top community awards ceremonies. 

Peter was runner-up in the Environmental Champion of the Year category, part of South Norfolk Council’s Community Awards which recognise outstanding contributions made by individuals in support of their communities. 

Peter saw off some strong challengers to reach the final shortlist of three but was unfortunately edged out of top spot by the eventual winner, John Heaser who is well known for his work maintaining the toad population at Little Melton. 

Peter was acknowledged for the tremendous work he does at Flordon Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, south of Norwich. 

A giant screen backdrop to the stage at the glittering awards ceremony at the John Innes Centre, acclaimed Peter’s achievements with a citation which read: 

 “Peter regularly build, installs and monitors nesting boxes in Flordon and arranges litter picks.  Peter’s hard work has led to a huge variety of flora and fauna on the common.” 

“It was a lovely evening” said Peter who attended the event with his wife Samantha and family.  “I still don’t know who nominated me but whoever it was, I am very grateful” said Peter. 

Unfortunately, the tremendous work Peter does at Poringland Lakes was not acknowledged.  Had it have been, who knows but Peter could have landed the top prize. 

Well there’s always next year! 

'Mr Poringland' Joins Board as Chairman

Poringland Lakes has a new trustee.  Well known local councillor John Overton has joined the board as chairman.

Welcoming the new official, lakes’ president and founder member Dave Gudgeon was delighted with the new appointment. 

“John brings a wealth of experience and boundless energy and will be a big asset to the Association” said Dave. 

The name Overton is synonymous with Poringland.  John has been the local councillor for the best part of ten years, having first been elected to South Norfolk Council in 2007. He is chairman of the Eastern River Valley Neighbourhood Area and serves as a member of the Growth and Communities Policy Committee. 

John has long been a firm supporter of the conservation area and was instrumental in helping the Association obtain funding for its various projects. 

 “I was delighted to be asked to be chairman” said John.  “The committee and volunteers do a tremendous job and I hope I can make a contribution for many years to come.” 

Mick Waller Accepts Vice President Role

Many people have been instrumental in saving Poringland Lakes as a wetland environment but no one has made a greater contribution than Mick Waller.

The Brooke-based business man and managing director of Mick Waller and Sons Pumps has not only given his valuable time to the project and freely made available his equipment but his knowledge and commitment has ensured that Poringland Lakes will continue for generations to come.

In recognition of his services, Mick Waller has been invited to join the Board of Trustees as the first honorary Vice President of the Poringland Conservation and Fishing Lakes Association, an honour Mick readily accepted.

New Trustee Appointed 

A new trustee has been appointed to Poringland Lakes. 

Peter Aspinall will replace founding trustee Richard Gooderham who has served on the Board for over ten years. 

Announcing his surprise decision to stand down, Richard said “Now that the Association is financially stable and we have some younger helpers, I feel that the time is right to tender my resignation as a trustee and committee member.” 

Fellow trustees Ray Noble and George Shearer, themselves founder members, were quick to sing Richard’s praises. 

“On behalf of everyone connected with Poringland Lakes, we would like to sincerely thank Richard for the wonderful support and encouragement he has given to the Association since it was founded over a decade ago. 

“His sound counsel has been greatly valued and much appreciated and we will certainly miss his contribution to our management meetings and ad hoc meetings at the lakes” they said. 

Incoming trustee Peter Aspinall has a wealth of wildlife experience. He is the warden of Flordon Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest whose calcareous fen has gained internationally important conservation status.  Peter is also a South Norfolk tree warden and member of numerous wildlife organisations. 

Peter joined the management committee in February and has brought his considerable conservation experience to the table. 

“Having given the matter a lot of thought, I was happy to put my name forward as a trustee.  We have come a long way in the past twelve months and I am looking forward to continuing to make a contribution” said Peter enthusiastically.   

Lakes Attract More Photographers

Poringland Lakes is becoming something of a Mecca for local photographers.

Following the recent visit of reknown Norfolk photographer Mark Edwards, (see feature on People page) another well known photographer has also become a regular visitor. 

Wildlife photographer Liz Dack regularly contributes to several websites including the prestigious Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) site.

“I can't believe I have lived in Stoke Holy Cross for 24 years and didn't know these beautiful lakes existed” said Liz.  “I am passionate about wildlife and enjoy photography as a hobby.  I shall be up there regularly from now on” she added. 

Since retiring three years ago, Liz now spends much of her time as an events volunteer for the NWT and RSPB and has dedicated herself to taking wonderful wildlife photographs including these magnificent shots taken earlier today at Poringland Lakes.

We hope to feature more of Liz’s wonderful photographs as the year progresses.  A selection of Liz’s superb photos can also be viewed on her Flickr site by clicking on               


Dave Gudgeon – New President

Dave Gudgeon has been elected as the first-ever president of the Poringland Conservation and Fishing Lakes Association. 

The widely applauded decision comes after Dave stood down as Association chairman to spend more time with his wife and help develop a new dementia support group. 

A founder member of the Poringland Conservation and Fishing Lakes Association (PCFLA), Dave was instrumental in negotiating the purchase of the site and subsequent fund raising.  He has served as PCFLA chairman and trustee for over ten years. 

Announcing his departure to the committee, Dave said

“I think that the site is now in really good hands. I would like to say how much I appreciate the hard work everyone has put in to make the site as good as I imagined it could be when I first saw it all those years ago - a really beautiful haven, to be enjoyed by all our residents.

“As some of you may be aware, I am now becoming involved with a dementia support group, which we are setting up in Stoke Holy Cross which is taking up a good deal of my time and energy.  In order to do this, I am reluctantly compelled to resign from the lakes committee” said Dave with regret. 

“The lakes will always be one of the proudest projects that I have ever been involved with and one, I hope, for which I will be remembered, but, as I have already said, I think its future is assured by the team that is now in place ” concluded Dave. 

His fellow trustees were quick to acknowledge the outstanding contribution Dave has made to the lakes and had no hesitation in inviting him to become the Association’s inaugural president. 

“The amount of work Dave put in, especially in the early days, was phenomenal” said PCFLA treasurer George Shearer who worked alongside Dave for many years, producing the Five Plus village magazine. “His contribution will be a lasting legacy for the village.  It is fitting that he should be the first president.” 

Another trustee, Richard Gooderham, was also full of praise for Dave’s efforts. 

“It’s probably fair to say that without Dave’s drive and commitment, the lakes would not be the wonderful community facility we enjoy today” said Richard. 

“Dave can always be relied upon to offer good advice and guidance” said another of the original trustees, Ray Noble.  “We’ll miss his day-to-day involvement but it is great Dave will still be there in background to offer advice and guidance when needed.” 

Tree Warden Impressed

Poringland's tree warden Henry Gowman paid a visit to Poringland Lakes yesterday and was impressed with what he saw. 

“This was the first time I had explored the site.  I was struck by what a valuable habitat it provides, not only for wildlife, but for people as well” said Henry who has  advised the Association how best to manage its tree stock and has suggested some planting regimes aimed at both enhancing the landscape and encouraging wildlife.

“It’s a great pity that the area is going to be totally surrounded by development which will no doubt reduce the range of animals visiting the site, there being no ‘wildlife corridor’ to provide access” he added.

“I would suggest that the focus of the site be on insect, reptile, bat and bird life, as well as widening the species of tree and flora to provide an even more diverse habitat”  advised Henry. 

Following a career, firstly in the Royal Navy and then 30 years with the Police service, mainly in criminal investigation and special intelligence, Henry has a wealth of experience in countryside management.  He has been a tree warden since 1990 and led a project to improve the natural ponds that are the source of the River Wey. 

Henry retired in 1999 and moved to Norfolk to be with his wife’s family where he continued his voluntary work as a tree warden and has initiated several tree planting schemes in South Norfolk.  He also took up a post as a wildlife warden and tourist guide for the Broads Authority at How Hill, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  

Henry retired from paid work two years ago but is clearly a man who likes to keep  busy! 

Besides having an interest in environmental issues and town planning, Henry also has an interest in ‘wellbeing’ and is the chair of Sing Your Heart Out.  He has recently taken up the role of vice chair to Poringland and District Men’s Shed project.  He has been a crew member of the Norfolk wherry ‘Albion’ since 2005 and a skipper since 2009. 

Not withstanding his voluntary commitments, the coming months could see Henry having a greater involvement with Poringland Lakes. 

“I was really enthused by Poringland Lakes and I would be interested in becoming involved with the project on a long term basis” he said enthusiastically.

Top Photographer Visits Lakes

A regular visitor to Poringland Lakes is well known Norfolk photographer Mark Edwards whose stunning pictures appear in London's Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ulster Museum and even 10 Downing Street. 

Mark has also exhibited his work internationally at the Lianzhou Festival in China and the Calais Museum in France. Closer to home Mark's photographs have also been exhibited at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art and the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. 

Mark has also lectured in photography at several well known universities including Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge De Montford, Lincoln, Southampton Solent and the UEA. 

Reviews of his work have appeared in the Guardian, Independent and Times newspapers.

For more information and to see a selection of Mark's excellent portfolio, including some photographs of Poringland and the surrounding villages, click on www.markjedwards.com

Leading Conservationist Joins Committee

One the Norfolk’s leading conservationists has joined the Lakes management committee. 

Peter Aspinall is warden of Flordon Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest whose calcareous fen has gained internationally important conservation status. 

Not only is Peter a well-known figure on the county conservation scene but is truly a ‘local’ having been born in Shotesham and attended Framingham Earl High School. 

Peter’s appointment was warmly welcomed by Association chairman Dave Gudgeon. 

“Peter has a wealth of experience in nature conservation and will be a great asset to the Association” predicted Dave. 

Peter was equally enthusiastic.              

“The lakes were a big part of my boyhood and were instrumental in developing my love of the countryside, so I am delighted to be involved” he said.

Degree Student Joins Team


student, studying for a degree in fishery management and sustainable aquaculture, has joined the team at Poringland Lakes.

Following an approach from Suffolk’s Otley College, Neil Edwards has started a part-time placement to get some valuable hands-on experience of fishery management.

A keen angler, Neil was plunged into the deep end, metaphorically speaking, at the weekend giving a helping hand to sprinkle Bentonite into the lakes and being part of the boat crew. 

“I am really looking forward to learning more about fishery management” said Neil.  “Everyone is so supportive and friendly.  I am sure I will learn a lot and I am looking forward to getting stuck in” he added. 

Head bailiff Ray Noble is delighted to have Neil working alongside him. 

“Neil has already contributed positively and has given some valuable input, especially on stocking levels and water quality management.  He’ll be a great asset to the lakes and hopefully the placement will benefit his studies” said Ray.