Cannop Ponds: New plans revealed for beauty spot following years of debate

  • Watch Ken Goodwin's report here.

People in the Forest of Dean are getting the chance to see the latest proposals for two lakes near Coleford. 

Plans for the future of Cannop Ponds have been revealed to the public after the original idea to drain the lakes was rejected by residents.

In 2022 thousands of people signed a petition to save the ponds when Forestry England said the dams needed to be replaced or removed because they may not prevent flooding in the future due to climate change.

It proposed draining the lakes and creating streams instead, to prevent future flooding.

Forestry England said the dams needed to be replaced or removed.

People living in the area were furious, pointing out that the area is a wildlife haven, a beauty spot, and attracts tourists as well as people who live in the forest. 

In 2023 campaigners said it would be ‘total vandalism’ to get rid of the dams, as arguments continued.

Now the plans have been scaled back and new ones drawn up. Forestry England says the aim is to create a site that is better for wildlife and for the community.

Josh Howe, Forestry England, said: “What we are doing here is we’re going to maintain a significant body of water at lower Cannop. And at upper Cannop, we’re going to take a more natural approach to minimise the engineering work that would otherwise be required.

Local people argued that the area is a wildlife haven.

“We want Cannop Ponds to be a place for everyone, and what we want to do is increase the natural habitat and provide spaces for wildlife to thrive so that people can come here and enjoy.

"Whether you’re here to walk the dog or whether you need to find space for quiet contemplation the ponds will be a place for everybody.”

A protest group was formed to save the lakes and one of its organisers says they are hopeful that the outcome will benefit everyone.

Katherine Williams, Save Cannop Ponds, said: “In principle, from what I know so far, I think they’re going in the right direction. They're certainly listening to us which is fantastic news.

“I mean, obviously the plans at the moment are just drafts so the devil is going to be in the details.  

“I have to say in the past three months, the communication between Team Cannop and Forestry England has been very good. It’s all amicable and we just sit down there and thrash it out on the table until we can reach some sort of compromise or agreement.”

The revised proposals will now be put out for consultation.