Sailing is one of many water-sports carried out on the lake at Astbury Mere Country Park and with a nice following breeze on a sunny day in September this youngster is having a quiet, steady sail and just enjoying the moment. Kayaks can be seen near the shore in the background.
Astbury Mere was originally a sand quarry, in 1984 operations ceased and the quarry closed. For over 50 years the local residents had put up with a noisy major industry on their doorsteps, wildlife started to gain a foothold and it was thought that the area might become a local amenity. But a proposal was put forward to construct a major industrial complex on the site. Dismayed, the locals set up an action group to fight the proposals and intensive negotiations were started. After years of uncertainty the landowners agreed to sub divide their estate; half the site would instead be developed for housing whilst the remainder would be given over as open space and so began the creation of Congleton’s first Country Park. The action group then became the Astbury Mere Trust, a registered charity and a limited company whose main objectives are to: “Provide for the benefit of the inhabitants of Congleton and district a managed and maintained country park at Astbury Mere in perpetuity for recreation or other leisure time occupation with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants”. Since its opening in 1989 the Country Park has become a valued recreational resource for the inhabitants of Congleton and beyond. In this time the Park has matured, not only in physical terms with the growth of trees and shrubs but also in its evolution as an important outdoor recreational and learning resource. Although still owned by the Trust, Astbury Mere Country Park is managed by Cheshire East Council ( Link
My thanks to Matthew Axford, Countryside Ranger, for providing a much more detailed history than there was space for here.