Newton Lake was created in 1853 by Thomas Legh, then Lord of the Manor, and remains the property of Legh Family Estates. It was formed by building a strong embankment across the valley of Newton Brook which is fed by Millingford Brook and Ellams Brook to the North of Newton Lake. Newton Brook flows through the lake, continuing down the overflow, heading south towards Warrington. As the valley filled with water, a lake of approximately 6.5 hectares (16 acres) was formed. It was created to provide a recreation area for the gentry of the time.
Over the last 150 years the lake has been gradually silting up. Sediment from surrounding agricultural land mixed with industrial waste is transported downstream by Millingford Brook and Ellams Brook, which is then deposited into Newton Lake. This is a natural river process, which is turning the north area of the lake into a wetland area. However, the silt contains a range of contaminants, which are polluting Newton Lake, reducing water quality and therefore the diversity of aquatic life.
The lake was created by Thomas Legh as part of a business venture to take advantage of the new Newton-le-Willows railway; the area was to be developed for large merchant villas but was never completed. A poem at the time indicates that the contamination of the brook and Lake was already a big problem by 1900.
One of the country’s first motorway sections cut Newton Lake in two and has since contributed to contamination levels in the Lake silt. Noise contamination. Visual intrusion.