Locals and users have expressed their shock at the sudden news that a popular lake and recreational spot will be closed to watersports and camping. The campaigners have demanded an urgent meeting with the charitable trust that manages Siblyback Lake on Bodmin Moor. They said they had about 30 people turn up to an urgent call for users to gather on Sunday (February 24) at the beauty spot, a popular recreation area for more than 40 years.
Although the country park will remain open, the users are concerned for its future, too, after the South West Lakes Trust (SWLT) shock news, which manages the site. The trust said the watersports and camping activities have not brought in enough funds to support themselves, leading to the “hard decision” for the charity. It also highlighted the many other aspects that remain available, including trout angling and The Rock Hopper Café, and the fact the closed activities are available at its other sites in Cornwall.
A spokesman for the campaign group said: “Local people were shocked to receive the news on Friday that SW Lakes Trust (SWLT), who manages South West Water’s lakes for conservation and leisure purposes, would be ending 40 years of history and banning all watersports activities and camping at Siblyback Lake. “Over thirty people turned up with only an hours’ notice on Sunday afternoon to discuss this terrible news and plan their next steps. “Many families have great memories of learning to sail, windsurf and kayak here as well as holidaying over weekends and in the summer holidays. SW Lakes Trust has ignored the users of Siblyback lake for many years while they have proceeded with their vanity schemes which have now failed.
“Siblyback Lake as a country park will stay open for now, we understand, but with this news coming completely without warning, the whole of Siblyback lake has been cast into doubt. “South West Lakes Trust hasn’t consulted the members or users, and this comes as a real shock to many.” Cornwall Councillor for Liskeard Nick Craker, who has been an active user of Siblyback Lake for more than 15 years, said: “Siblyback Lake has been a thriving destination for recreation and leisure for many decades. The footpath around the lake, the café, and the play park were all only made possible by those sailors and windsurfers who started to sail on Siblyback Lake 40 years ago. To abandon what put Siblyback on the map is a huge mistake.”
One user, Rachel Redgrove, said: “SW Lakes Trust used to hold annual User Group meetings to listen to our views. They hadn’t held such a meeting since 2011 when they decided they didn’t like what we had to say about their plans to install a new cable wake park. “The cable failed, just like we said it would all those years ago, and they finally removed it in 2018.” The users said they were now asking for an urgent meeting with the management and trustees of SWLT to discuss the future of “our beloved lake”. The SWLT said in a statement: “Activities have been delivered at Siblyback Lake for the last 30 years, and in that time, new activities and new places have grown rapidly. We’ve decided not to offer watersports or camping at Siblyback this year.
“It’s been a hard decision because we know how much some people enjoy these activities, but as a charity, we need to invest our funding responsibly, and they haven’t been supporting themselves in recent years. “The lake, trout angling, and The Rock Hopper Café at Siblyback will still be open to visitors and providing plenty of opportunities for all the family to explore the great outdoors. You can still enjoy stunning views and a bite to eat at the cafe, let the kids run wild in the outdoor play area, and make use of the trails. We will be continuing to offer both camping and watersports at Stithians, Roadford, Tamar, and Wimbleball and look forward to welcoming you there.
“The tranquillity of the lake means it’s now the perfect place to spot wildlife, go on a mini-beast hunt with the children or take advantage of the lake’s position in the Dark Sky Landscape of Bodmin Moor to stargaze at night. “During the year, we’ll review the situation as we are keen to see Siblyback offering activities for all in generations to come. We’ll be talking to our visitors and other stakeholders over the next few months to get the right model for Siblyback Lake. We may re-introduce the activities, but we welcomed everyone to Siblyback Lake for now. To enjoy nature at its best in 2019.”