The small lake, termed the
Fish Pond is situated beyond were the stables used to be, towards the Gamekeepers Cottage on the north side of Parlington Lane, it is a small lake, undoubtedly man made. In its heyday it formed an attractive feature and was probably part of a laid out walk around the grounds. The 1908 Ordnance Survey maps, clearly show footpaths round the lake and gardens.
A surprising number of fish are to be found, in this tranquil little lake, it is fed from the larger lake across Parlington Lane beyond the Gamekeepers Cottage. It then overflows into a culvert which cross the gardens of Parlington Hall, this stream known as the River Crow, continues down the valley, almost entirely culverted, to Aberford.
Rumored to be stone paved, to facilitate the retrieval of ice during the winter months for hauling down to the Ice House. It was partially cleared of silt some years ago, but I am unable to confirm whether this belief is true. However, that it would have supplied the Ice House is certainly a fact as it is the nearest source. Also the severely cold winters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would have caused it freeze over to some depth!
It is imaginable that the lake would have provided a great winter skating rink for the family and friends. You can almost picture a Dickensian scene, with men in long coats and stove pipe hats, with the women in volumous dresses and bonnets!
The pictures above and below were taken on Boxing Day 2004, a thin skin of ice was evident, but soon thawed with the rise of the sun. In the centre of the image on the far bank is the stream from the larger lake.
The lake looking back towards the Hall, parts of which can just be seen in the trees beyond the lake. Before the demolition of the stables in the early sixties, the skyline would have been dominated by the Cupola which rose above the main entrance to the stables. It can just be seen in the image at the foot of this page, on the very edge of the picture on the right, beyond the chimney on the stable block.
The lake sported a small footbridge at its eastern end, today this is no longer in existence and the lake is largely silted up in this area. Neither does it flow into the river crow except on occasions where a heavy period of rainfall occurs.
Usually the crow lies dry as its culvert crosses the Old Hall gardens. This may be unfortunate from a human perspective, as the sound of water gurgling and tumbling through the channel is most satisfying and relaxing. However it is a veritable highway for Badgers and other forms of wildlife, who use the underground network rather as a traveller might take advantage of the London underground.
There are a series of cast iron pipes which were recently discovered during remedial works to the banks on the south side of the lake, I suspect that these may have been a by-pass arrangement to allow water into the culvert, which was also the source for the fountain, the main feature of the gardens.
The cast iron pipe which sits very near the surface, discovered during repairs to the lake.
Parlington Hall in the late Nineteenth century. Taken from a photograph provided
by the Garforth Historical Society.