CONSERVATIONISTS have spent nearly nine years restoring Hewell Grange Lake near Redditch to its former glory - but the public is unlikely to see it.

Major work has been carried out to improve the lake's water supply after a period of 'drying out' between 1988 and 1995.

But residents will not be able to enjoy the lake because the footpath running around it is in the grounds of HMP Blakenhurst.

The project was funded with a slice of a £2 million grant from the Office of Water Service (OFWAT) which includes the regeneration of 22 sites in the Midlands.

Work started in 1995 and has been carried out in partnership with the Environment Agency, Prison Service, British Waterways and Severn Trent Water.

The lake deteriorated into a 'mud hole' after it stopped filling up in the winter when surface streams were diverted to supply the Birmingham and Worcester canal. The winter flow from one of the feeder streams has now been diverted back to the lake.

Supplies are also being directly pumped in through a specially created borehole connected to an underground water reserve.

Beautiful landscaped grounds surround the lake incorporating a French garden and intricate iron bridges

The Environment Agency's John Ratcliffe said: "This is an excellent project. English Nature and English Heritage have worked together with British Waterways, the Prison Service and Severn Trent Water to ensure the estate is brought back to its former glory."