The Activity Centre
BACKGROUND / HISTORY
After the 1960s, owing to the axing of hundreds of miles of railways the facilities at the lake began to decline.
In the early 90’s a group of local residents and those with an active interest in the lake would meet up at the Hotel Rudyard to discuss the lake’s future. This group was called the Rudyard Lake Users Forum.
Many issues and concerns were raised by the Forum to (the then) British Waterways. These issues usually fell on deaf ears and they felt they didn’t really have much power to influence the future of the lake and it’s environs.
In 1994, things really looked bleak. A meeting took place and the area manager for BW announced there would no longer be a ranger on site from March 1995.
Naturally, the forum was concerned about vandalism, litter etc with no ranger on site and there were talks of getting a part-time ranger- but how could someone working 2-3 days a week look after 168 acres of water, 5 miles of footpaths and all the lake usage?
Around this time, owing to a Gillespie report, the forum looked at the potential revenue streams and, long story short, believed it was possible to hire a full time Ranger. The next hurdle was to convince B.W that this was plausible and attempt to strike a deal.
RUDYARD LAKE LTD.
A deal was made and there was a hasty formation of a company, Rudyard Lake Ltd. The business plan suggested that B.W should only be concerned with the reservoirs water management and allow the company to manage the day-to-day management of the lake (e.g boats, anglers, litter, footpaths, fences, vandals etc).
By 1995, Rudyard Lake Ltd had ‘inherited’ 2x 20 ft portacabins along with the rental costs so it was in their best interests to get rid of them ASAP. Several projects began to improve the facilities at the Dam Head: the access steps to the pontoon, a permanent toilet block and converting the N.S.R Boathouse into a visitor centre.
“People “rediscovered” the Lake on their doorstep, a place which previously had something of a run down reputation and which many hadn’t bothered to visit for several years.…
With the opening of The Visitor’s Centre in 2001 Rudyard Lake received much positive press coverage and relatively local people from places such as Congleton and Macclesfield “rediscovered” the Lake on their doorstep, a place which previously had something of a run down reputation and which many hadn’t bothered to visit for several years.
With Great Britain’s success in rowing in the subsequent Olympics, and the increasing popularity of the area, people were making demands for improved facilities of both storage and catering.
Considerable efforts were made to obtain further funding in order to construct what today we refer to as The Activity Centre which opened in 2005.
Apart from supplying racks for the rowing club and storage for volunteers tools etc. on the ground floor there is an office for the Ranger, a Rudyard Lake League of Friends refreshments room and a café / shop.
A lift is provided to the first floor rooms and toilets with accessible facilities along with balconies overlooking the Lake.
The rooms can be hired at a most competitive price which aids The Trust in paying the overheads and maintaining the Lake’s environs.