The objects of the society are:
to provide fishing for its members
to maintain and improve the fishery as opportunity presents
by mutual effort and discussion, to improve the standard of fishing of its members and particularly to encourage juniors
We are a committee run fishing society focused on preserving freshwater angling within North East Suffolk. Across 4 locations, we have 5 lakes, two sections of the river Waveney and Buss Creek to choose from so you will always find the perfect spot to fish.
Disabled facilities can be found at Reydon Pit 1 (Sherwood Water) and Buss Creek whilst the lake at Kessingland has the option of parking near most of the swims with only a few steps giving access to them.
Toilet facilities are available at both our Reydon and Kessingland sites.
The Society was originally formed in 1972 when the then Lord Stradbroke asked Southwold tackle shop owner Peter Sherwood if there was anything that could be done to help manage the fishing at Henham Dairy Pond. Peter got together a group of local anglers and the Henham and District Freshwater Angling Society was formed with Lord Stradbroke as its President and Peter Sherwood the Chairman. The Society proved highly successful with fishing on the River Wang and a stretch of the upper Hundred also being made available. Don Friston became Chairman in 1984 and over the following years additional venues were sought to accommodate the growing levels of membership and interest in the Society. Local businessman William Denny encouraged the Society to use the front pit on land he owned in Reydon and in 1985 both of the existing pits on the site were made available to members. Membership continued to grow and the need for additional venues was identified with the prospect of a major project to restore the overgrown Buss Creek being put forward as an option. The project took some time to put together but in 1986 members gave the green light for it to proceed. It was then that detailed planning and fund raising started. During this period, it was recognised that there was an increasing focus on the Southwold area and that the name of the Society should be changed to reflect this. In 1987 the decision was made to change the name to Southwold & District Freshwater Angling Preservation Society and William Denny became Society President..
It was at about this time that continued access to the popular Henham Dairy Pond became uncertain and William Denny stepped forward to offer the opportunity to dig two additional ponds on land he owned adjacent Reydon Pit 2 as potential replacements. The offer was taken on board and the Buss Creek Project expanded to include Pits 3 and 4. Sadly, William Denny never saw the completion of the Buss Creek Project as he passed away shortly before its completion. He was succeeded as Society President by his son Graham in 1989. The project received tremendous support from both local and regional organisations as well as the public at large and it was eventually finished and ready for its first season in June 1989.
Moving into the nineties, John Purdy, having become Chairman in 1991, felt that the Society was in a pretty good place but that obtaining some river fishing would make it complete. The following two decades saw several stretches of the River Waveney being leased, given up for various reasons and replaced with other stretches. 1999 saw the loss of the Deep Hole and the always threatened loss of Henham Dairy Pond eventually occurred in 2002. The latter was made available again in 2005 only to be given up again in 2011 due to a painful lack of water in what was always a very shallow pond. Fortunately, at the start of this period of uncertainty (2002) access to the lake at Kessingland was obtained which helped to maintain the capacity needed for our members. The period between 2000 to 2010 saw numerous opportunities to access stretches of river and at one-point members had the choice of 5 different stretches.
The late noughties also saw the Society faced with what was possibly the most serious threat to its future as the level of predation on the Reydon complex rocketed with regular Otter incursions seriously impacting valuable fish stocks which in turn started to effect the level of membership. Additional funds were needed at short notice and had to be raised through increasing subscriptions and introducing a levy to boost reserves to support a significant investment in expensive Otter proof fencing and restocking. Somewhere in the region of £30,000 was put together and a contractor engaged to erect Otter fencing on pits 1 and 2. Due to a lack of further funds, materials were purchased to allow members to improve and, in parts, replace existing fencing themselves around pits 3 and 4. A comprehensive restocking programme was put in place and delivered. Barry Reid became Chairman in 2011 and through the continued hard work and support of dedicated members, the predation was arrested, and stocks returned to a level to maintain, and in some cases enhance, the quality of fishing expected by members and visiting anglers alike.
Since 2012, the Societies portfolio has been rationalised. Stillwater fishing is available on our four lakes and Buss Creek on our Reydon complex and at our lake in Kessingland. River fishing continues to be catered for by two significant stretches of the River Waveney, both on the Suffolk bank. One on the non- tidal stretch above Ellingham Mill, the other on the tidal stretch in Shipmeadow / Mettingham. Stock levels have continued to be improved resulting in the quality of the all-round fishing available probably being the best it has ever been.
2020 has seen the Society, and the rest of the world, hit by the challenge of the Corona Virus. The level of uncertainty for Society’s and clubs in all sports has been tremendous with nobody able to predict the impact of the national lockdown, especially at a time when traditionally the annual subscriptions are due and expenditure is at its highest with leases to be paid and the cost of urgent maintenance. Thankfully, the Society was able to access £6,000 in national lottery funding by way of a Community Emergency Fund grant through Sport England. This enabled the Society to proceed with its day to day business without having to worry about any serious drop in income and to continue to plan for the next challenge its faces with a degree of confidence. As things stand the Society remains in a good position and looks forward to celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 2022.
Barry Reid – Chairman