Last time we started our walk along the west side of the lake, taking in the rocky promontory and seeing the planted trees creating a parkland. Now nearing the end of our stroll along the raised walkway we happen upon a timber boat house sitting above a watery dock with rowing boats moored. We are at the northern head of the lake, and here on the far side of the boat house is a canal offering an alternative outfall into the Cock Beck, with a series of stone culverts and lock gates to facilitate a feature waterfall, designed for intermittent use. The enabled waterfall uses the difference in levels between the two lake outlets to form a cascade over large stones placed for dramatic effect, creating a wooded dell.
Above the waterfall on a natural elevated site is an old ruin, comprised the stone walls from the original St Mary’s church in Garforth. Just the arched Chancel window and two flank walls create the folly, and on its east side is a steep bank down to the other route out of the lake by the original line of the Cock Beck, where the dam wall was established. The two outlets therefore create in effect a small island between them with the folly as its focal point along with the enchanting waterfall.
We walk round the northern end, the folly above us on our right, we pass over the two water outlets by their respective footbridges and head down the east shore. Now looking right across the lake we can see the small island. It is from this shore that serious military enactments organised by Colonel Gascoigne take place from time to time. All was tranquil now, but on these occasions soldiers would embark in boats to invade the defenders on the island, and then advance beyond deeper into the estate, driving the defenders before them until they resisted at their citadel, the Hall! The estate would echo to the sound of gunfire and cannonade, the colonel and his aides would observe, from the advantage of his favourite horse, the progress of his troops! All this was thoroughly choreographed by the colonel prior to the activity and was keenly reported on by the newspapers of the day, such as the Leeds Mercury. Our walk continues heading back towards the cottage, but one last bridge over a stream from the Hollins, to cross before we reach our destination. The third part will conclude this article about the lake next month.