Bordering our village is some beautiful countryside.
Areas of  "Outstanding Natural Beauty" and Nature conservancy. Coupled with this is the river Thames on our southern border providing an overall natural habitat for much wild life.

The lake from the birders viewpoint on the west bank - January 2001 - Picture courtesy of Paul Earle


The fact that we have that path is entirely due to the tenacity of ONE MAN : Christopher Wallis.  He was then the Chiltern Society Footpath rep. for Little Marlow & was asked by the Parish Council to attend the Public Inquiry to object to Folley's plans to divert the footpath to beside the railway line.  As he always believes in the positive approach, he suggested the route which was adopted.  This was not supported by the Parish Council: at the time the PC rep at the Inquiry (who had best be nameless) called him "a little monkey".

 It was back in 1966 that the Folley Brothers began to dig the former farmland in Coldmoorholm Lane that we now know as Spade Oak Lake, to extract the valuable flood plain gravel that was in great demand for the motorway, building program. Since then the site has developed into an integrated facility incorporating sand and gravel extraction, readmix plant, inert waste recycling and land filling.

 It may interest younger readers. and those new to the parish that a footpath originally crossed through what is now the lake. In 1968, a public enquiry, was held at which Little Marlow Parish Council sought to retain a path running from Coldmoorholm Lane westward to Little Marlow. Footpath No.4, as it is so elegantly known. now runs some 200 yards north of its original line. Thanks to the tenacity, of Little Marlow Parish Council and the Coldmoorholm Residents" Association, this well used path, forming part of a pleasant circular walk. is available for the use of future generations.

 Gravel is no longer dug from Spade Oak, but the area is used by the current owners, Lafarge, as a depository for gravel dug elsewhere,. Much of the aggregates removed from the Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton Flood Alleviation Scheme (MWEFAS) is stored here today.

 It was in 1999 that the Parish Council and Lafarge began discussing a permissive path around the lake to celebrate the new Millennium. Now a new footpath and bridge have been built over the stream on the eastern side to link with the existing network of paths, and a bench sited at a convenient location.             I

 The official opening, and a small ceremony to mark the handing over of the agreement for the permissive footpath to the local community took place on the 26th April 2002.

 Geoff Fitchew 

Little Marlow gravel pits lake is officially declared a nature reserve.     By Ben Funning
A LAKE formed by gravel extraction and thought to be a home to hundreds of birds at Spade Oak has become a nature reserve . 
Spade Oak lake, in the Little Marlow gravel pits area, was formed when gravel extraction started at the site in 1966. 
Quarry owners Lafarge Aggregates and Little Marlow Parish Council agreed to turn it into a nature reserve to mark the millennium. 
It was officially opened on Friday by Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire and chair- man of the Berkshire, Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. 
The lake has been developed for wildlife and community use. A bridge has been built over a stream, and a footpath and benches have been built so members of the public can see wildlife. 
Parish council chairman Clir Dallas Banfield said it took a few years for all legal arrangements to be put in place. He said-. "The idea was suggested some time ago from Richard Boas of Coldmoorholme Lane Residents Association. "We were talking about millennium projects and he suggested a nature reserve, and the parish council took it up from there. 
"We approached Redland and floated the idea to them and the response was favourable.
"But it has taken quite a long time to sort out the legal side."
Lafarge Aggregates still owns the site but has designated the pathways as public rights of way, and spent £5000 on facilities around the lake.
The parish council is responsible for the information and access. 
Cllr Banfield said : "We are absolutely delighted. It is something we think is safe-guarding the area for the future and we are really pleased."
Opening the bridge, Mr Aubrey-Fletcher said the community, the environment and Lafarge would all benefit from the nature reserve. It can be accessed from Coldmoorholme Lane, near the Spade Oak pub and from Little Marlow Village.

BUILDING BRIDGES: Vice Lord Lieutenant of Bucks Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, with representatives from Lafarge Aggregates and Little Marlow Parish Council, opens the bridge to the now nature reserve.

Thames Path