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About the Lake = = = = = = = = = Radipole Lake is a lake on the River Wey, now in the English coastal town of Weymouth, Dorset. Along the western shore of the lake, and between Radipole and the town centre of Weymouth, now lies the modern suburb of Southill. The lake is a nature reserve run by the local RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), as it is an important habitat for reed bed birds. The lake flows into Weymouth harbour. Radipole Lake is an ideal site for both beginners and experiences birdwatchers alike, with well-known birds such as house sparrows, finches and robins, alongside rare and unusual birds like Cetti's warblers and bitterns. There is plenty for families to do, with specially created trains, bird events, and during the summer, family activities such as pond dipping and bug hunts.
(Please note the above information has been taken from Wikipedia)
As most of you are probably aware by now, I recently had a holiday in Weymouth and have been writing various reviews about the places that I visited during my time here. I was staying in a house with my parents, sister and nephews which we paid to have for 2 wks. (Although I only stayed for 1 week). This was a short walk from the main town and beach and every-day we had to pass the lake in order to get to the town or the beach. As this became a daily thing and we spent some time here with my nephews I thought it would be a great opportunity to write a short review about it.
The Lake = = = = = = The lake is located at the bottom end of the Harbour which is near to where we were staying. The lake is very big and although you couldn't see the full size of the lake when we walked past it, we did drive past it a few times which is then you realise how big it really is. You can walk around the whole of the lake which I am told takes a good few hours due to the size of it. The pathways round the lake can get quite thin so I'm not really sure that this would be suitable for wheelchair users or people with push-chairs. Although I only saw the main part of the lake I feel as though this was enough to write a review about it. The lake itself runs into the harbour and a bridge slightly separates the lake from the harbour. You can walk over the bridge and cars can also park here during
the day and evenings. The lake has a number of different benches where you can sit and enjoy the view of the lake. The majority of the benches are kept well and always look reasonably clean to sit on. Me and my mum sat on the benches a few times whilst my nephew fed the ducks during the week. There are also various bins around the lake and a telephone box located at the start of the bridge. The lake itself looks clean and I have never seen any rubbish in or around the lake. The lake doesn't have barriers or a fence around it so you so need to be careful when going here with children. The bank which separates the main part of the lake form the path slopes down which children can easily slip down if they get too close. Whenever we were here I ensured I had good hold of my nephews. The main part of the lake does have a decent footpath either side of it which is split into two which enables pedestrians and cyclists to use the path. On one side of the Lake is an underpass which takes you to various housing estates (we had to use the under-pass every-day) and the other side of the Lake has various different paths which can take you further round the lake towards The Swannery Car Park (pay & display car park) or into the main town and to the beach. The under-pass is painted, which makes it looks attractive.
Although we didn't see a huge range of different birds (we weren't looking out for them), there were various types of ducks and swans on the lake. At time there were also a lot of seagulls as well which is the disadvantage of it being so close to the harbour and the beach. On the far side of the lake to where we had to walk is a Ghurkha Bar & Buffest Restaurant. This always seems very busy and there are always people in the restaurant. There is an outside area to the restaurant which goes out onto the lake. My nephew loves feeding ducks so we used to get a cheap loaf of bread from the local supermarket so we could feed them a bit each day. There were always ducks & swans to feed at the lake and there certainly wasn't a shortage of them. As soon as you throw them some bread more ducks swim over from the other side to come and get some bread. On some occasions (a lot of occasions) the seagulls would also fly over to see what food they could get. Quite often they would take it from the ducks. The ducks are friendly and are quite willing to take the bread from your hand if you hold it out to them. The seagulls can be a pain as you tend to get large flocks of them and they can get quite close to you (which I didn't like). Some of the seagulls also try to follow you with the food as well, until they know you don't have any left or aren't going to feed them anymore. We didn't really want to feed the seagulls and wanted to feed the ducks more, how-ever this was something we couldn't really avoid. On some occasions if someone was feeding some of the ducks one on side of the lake where most of the seagulls where you could get away with feeding the ducks without the seagulls stealing the food from them.
My nephew loved feeding the ducks on a daily basis and he didn't care about the seagulls flying over to him when throwing the bread to the ducks. (I think I was more scared of the seagulls than he was!). My nephew also enjoyed collecting the feathers that he found on the floor, particularly the swan feathers. Occasionally you will see baby ducks with their mothers; how-ever they tend to be on the other side of the bridge where the back end of the harbour is. They stay here as they have to try and stay away from the seagulls. There are a few rocks this side where they can sometimes shelter their babies. On morning as we were going out we saw a mother and her 3 baby ducks & nephew wanted to feed them, how-ever I told him not too as we didn't want to attract the seagulls to them. There were already a 2-3 seagulls flying around her so we didn't want to attract anymore to her. She swam with her babies and sheltered under a wooden walk way which people use to get to and from the boats and she knew the seagulls couldn't get to them. We were out for the majority of the day and returned home a good 4-5hrs later. We couldn't see the duck and her babies; how-ever we suspected they were sheltering somewhere. The following day we saw the mother duck on the rocks, how-ever she only had one baby with her which was sad. The other ducklings were no-where to be seen. The seagulls obviously got to them which was very sad. We went into town and returned again a few hours later and we saw mummy duck quacking and calling for what I presumed was her last duckling. We couldn't see
Pictures of Radipole Lake Nature Reserve, Weymouth
the duckling anywhere, despite trying to look from the bridge for a good 15mins. We presumed the seagull had got to this one as well. This saddened us all and thought it was a real shame that the ducklings get eaten by the seagulls. The ducks try their best to shelter their babies but it's not always possible, especially with the amount of seagulls around that area.
On a few occasions particularly during the evening we did see some drunks like tend to gather on the benches on the corner of the bridge. There was never normally more than 3-4 of them together and they never caused any real trouble. You could see that they were drinking out of bottles or cans and sometimes they would be a bit loud. We just walked over the far side of the bridge past them. I did notice that there weren't as many drunks here as there was last year so I am guessing they regularly check this area now and move them on. There is a Community Support Office who cycles across the bridge daily as well so this probably puts the drunks from drinking here.
Overall Opinion = = = = = = = = = The lake is beautiful, and looks lovely in the summer with the grass and tree's growing over and near the lake. The main part of the lake does narrow towards the back but it goes further out which are the parts of the lake we saw when going past in the car. We never got the chance to walk around the whole of the lake unfortunately, but perhaps this is something I will do when I visit Weymouth again. It's clear that the lake has a range of different wild-life to look out for and which some people will be interested in, especially the different types of birds. A lot of people like going here to feed the ducks and swans as there are so many of them. It's a real shame that the seagulls are attracted to this area as I think it does spoil it a little especially when they come and take the food meant to be for ducks. It's also really sad that a lot of the ducklings get eaten by the seagulls. If you are not feeding the ducks and don't get flocked by the seagulls then the Lake is a really nice place to sit and it can be rather calm and relaxing. As the lake is only a short walk (approximately 5/10mins) from the main town, then I would recommend visiting the lake. You can get some beautiful pictures of the lake during the day and when the sun is setting.