Brogborough Lake

Former brickworks is now a wildlife haven

Author: Pat
22nd April 2021

Pike at Brogborough lake

The expansive lake at Brogborough has recently been opened up to paying scuba divers, thanks to the persistence of a local dive outfit.

Situated just off the old A421 road between Milton Keynes (MK) and Bedford, Brogborough was once home to a large brickworks – in common with many towns and villages along this part of Marston Vale. Where the brick workings once stood is now only empty spaces and lakes, which formed when the clay pits filled with water after the pumps fell silent.

a largely secluded site and wildlife haven

Tony at Brogborough lake

Although once a large industrial site, today Brogborough is a largely secluded site and wildlife haven, accessible only via narrow country lanes and hidden from view as your drive around. It’s primary draw is for anglers, although there is a sailing and windsurfing club on site with areas marked out on the water with flags and buoys.

MK Scuba School have agreed terms with the site owner and are now offering training courses and pay-as-you-go dives at the site.

Pike at Brogborough lake

I dived it in July 2020, and again in April 2021 just after the winter 2020-21 lockdown eased in England. At an average depth of about seven metres dropping to about 12 in places, it’s an ideal spot for training, warm-up dives or just to get wet for fun. Entry is at the eastern side of the lake via a step into waist-deep water, which then drops down into a gulley full of debris at about 6m.

We have to talk about those gullies, or perhaps more correctly, scours: these are long troughs running north-south which make for interesting buoyancy challenges if you’re moving east-west. One minute you’re at six metres, the next up to only one or two, and then down the other side into the next.

The bottom, where it reveals itself, is largely soft mud and clay-like sediment.

Pike at Brogborough lake

And we also have to talk about debris, because there’s absolutely tonnes of it. Mainly discarded tyres, but also cars and vans, fencing, ironwork, pipes, baths and toilets… and presumably plenty more yet to be discovered. Jackie (of MK Scuba) said after some investigations they had also discovered a hut or building of some description in the northeastern corner, and that there was a ‘pit’ or deeper area to the west as yet unexplored.

Sunken car at Brogborough lake

In 2020 visibility had been poor, so it was a relief to discover 8-10 metres of decent vis this time around. Myself and buddy Tony followed the rope to the training platforms and were rewarded with the company of half a dozen very large pike hanging lazily about. They seemed less shy than before, perhaps having forgotten what divers looked like during the lockdown… or simply more confident to take us on now the water had cleared.

Sunlight at Brogborough lake

It’s a great place to spend a few hours on a weekend, with the promise of new discoveries. We’ll be back for more.

Brogborough Lake – need to know

  • Organiser – MK Scuba School (Jackie 01908 473132)
  • Diving- Saturday/Sunday mornings
  • Cost: £5 per person
  • Facilities: single toilet, no changing or other facilities
  • Website and directions:

Jackie from BrogSAC

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