Hidden amongst trees in South Norwood lies a large expanse of water - South Norwood Lake. The lake attracts a variety of people from those taking a stroll, fishing, sailing as well those capturing the nature on camera.

In 1809, South Norwood Lake was originally formed as a reservoir for the Croydon Canal. The fifteen kilometre waterway allowed goods to be brought by horse drawn barges from London and agricultural produce, timber and lime from Croydon were transported back to London. In 1836, the canal closed and was used as the base for a new railway line that was opened in 1839. The reservoir was abandoned but remained a popular place for fishing, picnics and skating in the winter. In 1881, a sports club was formed. The club was reported to have the largest number of tennis courts in the world at the time. Following a threat to build upon the club site in 1932, Croydon council purchased the grounds and opened it to the public.

South Norwood Lake is a beautiful open area where many people come to enjoy their surroundings. There are sailing clubs such as the Croydon Sailing Club. Croydon Sailing Club meets every Sunday at 10.00 which supports people from the age of 8 to learn to sail. They also give the opportunity for more advanced sailers to take part in competitions throughout the year. The lake also offers the perfect place to fish. Many eager fishermen go to the lake each day to spot exciting species of fishes namely: Three Spined Stickleback, Roach, Perch, Rudd, Gudgeon, Carp, Tench and Bream.

Many Photographers are also attracted there to capture the wonderful wildlife. For example, Steve Chapman, who travels from Norwich and visits the park 4 times a year described that he liked ‘taking photos of birds, trees, flowers, everything’. Another photographer, Dave Esterson (a local), said he had been visiting ‘since 9 years old’. He particularly likes visiting during this time of the year (February) to see the the Great Crested Grebe who ‘does a spectacular dance’. Great Crested Grebe are very famous for their elaborate courtship dances in which they create spectacular displays which park users may be able to spot. Also he enjoys visiting ‘in the Summer for the butterflies’- in particular, to see the Purple Hairstreak. He described that ‘not many people see them as they live at the top of oak trees’. The Purple Hairstreak flies in the canopy and feeds on honeydew (a sugar rich liquid secreted by aphids and other small insects as they feed on plant sap).

South Norwood Lake also provides the perfect place to sit back and unwind. Another park user said she visits very often in the Summer. She spends a ‘long time - two hours’ reading her book on the bench because it is ‘peaceful, tranquil, easy to get to’. During weekends and school holidays, the park is also enjoyed by children who enjoy riding their bikes around or playing ball games on the grass.

South Norwood Lake is a place enjoyed by all whether they are there to spot different species of birds and fishes or there simply to enjoy the fresh air.