One of my students, Anne, mentioned in class yesterday the lakes in the south of Cambridge, and when I looked puzzled (there are no lakes in the south of Cambridge) she produced her street map and pointed at a patch of blue, or rather, a series of three patches of blue.
It turns out there are some lakes in the south of Cambridge – the south-east, if I’m being picky, in Cherry Hinton, where many of our students have their residence, not all that far from where I live. I have never seen them. They are on the site of a former chalk quarry, chalk pits having been dug at end of the nineteenth century to supply the British Portland Cement works located in Romsey. The pits closed in 1956, and were flooded in the 1980s. So, we have some lakes.
The lakes are not open to the public (although they seem to be a popular place for local people to sit out in the summer – the fences are merely a token barrier); the northern-most of the three bodies of water is used by the territorial army, the middle lake by anglers, and the southern-most lake for nothing in particular.
A movement has been started, however, which campaigns to turn the lakes into a proper facility for local residents (The Cambridge Lakes Project), with proposals including the rather wild but engaging suggestion that part of the shore be turned into a beach.