Wading into Kirk Hallam lake and retrieving rubbish is all part of the hard work put in by a team of volunteers.
Twice a week a team of five from the Friends of Kirk Hallam Lake and Meadows muck in at the Godfrey Drive beauty spot to make it an enjoyable space for the community.
This includes clearing up mess made by youngsters who last week pulled out trees and blocked the stream by making a dam.
Esther Collington, treasurer of the group, said: “We get spates of this kind of thing, we used to get a lot of problems.”
The hard work of the Friends has paid off. This month they won first prize in the Erewash in Bloom awards for the third successive year in the Best Street, Communal Area and Friends Group category.
The group formed in 2007 and during the last four years have worked tirelessly throughout all weathers to totally transform the area by clearing the lakeside and meadows.
Esther, 63, said: “Eight years ago friends groups were taking off and we realised the lake needed a bit of TLC.
“Derbyshire County Council own the land and Shipley Country Park rangers come and tidy it up but it needed a bit of effort so the friends got together and the group has really grown since then.
“Members of the friends group can be seen on site every Wednesday and Sunday mornings working to transform the once neglected area into a wonderful green space.
“Everyone is very proud to have been awarded gold three years in a row. Certificates will be put around the lake”
Over the years members have been busy cutting back brambles, trees and bushes have been pruned and over 40 fruit trees have been planted. Thousands of spring flowering bulbs have been planted with the help of local schoolchildren and Pride in Erewash.
Many species of wild flowers, butterflies and birds can now be spotted. As well as this benches and a wheelchair accessible picnic table have been placed at strategic points around the lake, and all existing furniture has been stripped and repainted.
Paths have also been cleared and levelled making access easier for pushchairs and wheelchair users. There are also fishing pegs around the lake giving seasoned fishermen or young enthusiasts the chance to follow their hobby in idyllic surroundings.
Many community events take place at the lake throughout the year, culminating in a very successful Lakeside Festival in July. The first festival was so popular it has now become a regular annual feature in the calendar. The next one takes place on Sunday, July 3, 2016.
As well as this regular litter picks are organised (and refreshments provided) to help keep the area clean and tidy.
Esther added: “It is a good way to enjoy the fresh air and everyone gets a ‘work-out’ for free. The committee meet about every six weeks and everyone is welcome to attend and become part of this worthwhile project.”
Visit the group’s website for more information at friendsofkirkhallamlake.btck.co.uk, look them up on Facebook or drop into their next committee meeting on November 30 at 6.30pm in the committee room of the Sixth Form building at Kirk Hallam Community Academy.