The pool is known locally as Betley Tip, not because it was a landfill site but because it was once used as a dumping ground for waste ash and cinders.
It was initially excavated for sand in the early 1800’s until the 1830’s when the Crewe part of the West Coast Main Line, as it is now known, was constructed. It was then used to deposit ash/cinders from the steam trains and from furnaces located at Crewe Railway Works. A railway line ran around the perimeter of the site so that trains laden with ash could easily be emptied simply by opening the side doors of the carriages and shovelling the ash directly into the pit. Over time, the ash mounted, eventually reaching some 60 feet in height above ground level.
When cinders were put into the pit they were often still burning which meant that the area glowed at night. During the war, German bombers used the glow as an aid to targeting Crewe, knowing that the bombs needed to be dropped just five and a half miles North West of the pit. Subsequently, the pit was covered with clay approximately one metre in depth and the glowing ceased. (As an aside, the bombers started using a 10 acre lake at Crewe Hall as their reference point, the moon reflecting from the water providing them with their location. American soldiers billeted at Crewe Hall in preparation for the D-day landings then used dynamite to remove the banks of the lake with “fish three foot long” being seen blown into the air and into the surrounding field.)
In 1948 the pit was purchased by a quarry company. The deposits were extracted and used for a variety of purposes including linings under houses, running track surfaces and football pitches (I’ve still got the marks on my knees from the days when I used to play on cinder pitches).
The pit was sold to the current owner in 1991 and ash extraction continued until 2002/3. The pit constantly filled with water from underground springs and a large pump was needed to remove this as the pit tended to fill quickly.
Before the site was closed large lumps of fused cinders were returned to the pit, perhaps providing the snags that anglers are now finding. Trees were planted under the guidelines of the local council but a large piece of extraction machinery was left on the pool’s island as a reminder to others in years to come of the pit’s history.
Lymm Angling Club took up a lease on the water in January 2010. Prior to this the water was unfished, except perhaps for the odd poacher and guest of the owner.
Stocks wise, the owner reports putting around 3,000 4″ to 6″ carp (mostly commons) in the pool across 2005/6. Most of these fish are thought to have fallen foul to cormorant predation but the survivors are known to have already reached the 13lb 8oz mark. In addition to these fish, others have been stocked apparently without the knowledge of the owner. These include ghost, mirror and common carp, known to be well in excess of 20lb, tench to at least 7lb and perch and bream, the top weights of which are currently unknown.
Not long after taking over the water the club added a further stocking of some 30 carp (mirrors, ghost and common) into the low twenties. The richness of the water should hopefully mean it will not be long before it produces its first 30lber.