It closed it’s doors in 2016. Since then, it has regularly been visited by graffiti artists, urban explorers, the bored and wandering. Such is the draw of forbidden and neglected places.
In July 2018, a fire destroyed the buildings. The cause of the fire is not known, but there was a spike in natural open fires during the heat of that summer.
Little of the single-storey structure now remains.
Across the public path, over the collapsed chainlink fence and in to the private. You can catch a glimpse the lake through the trees before you turn and follow the path towards the main site.
Approaching from the east, you first come across the tennis courts, still fenced in with only a little debris scattered on the surfaces. Beyond that, the main block of the club. A covered steel structure to the south is all that remains of the main structure. The sub-level staff / changing rooms and toilets are intact.
A washing machine sits out in the wild with a full load spilling from it’s door, in front of a graffitied wall that pleads ‘forgive’.
Behind that, a smashed piano lays on it’s back, probably pushed from the upper level and mortally wounded some time ago.
Stepping over the debris, a door sporting a warning about high voltage is pushed open easily, eagerly. A bank of fuseboxes and circuit breakers occupy one wall, the floor strewn with shelving and signage. Through to the next room, lockers line one wall with one or two on their sides and backs. Tyres have to be clambered over to progress.
There are numerous holes in the graffiti-tagged walls giving glimpses of the morning light through the tree line outside.
Soon emerging through a door at the opposite end, it doesn’t take long to pass through the small building.
Back outside, there are steps leading up to where the main building stood, it’s footprint clearly visible in the flooring.
Bright-orange rusted shipping containers sit to the north, housing burnt wireframes of shelving units.
A section to the south still has it’s metal girders and roof. The tiled floor leads to an overgrown area concealing two more shipping containers with their doors open. Their contents have been spilled; there are broken electronics and furniture littering the ground.
Passing the containers, your eyes are drawn to the left by the sudden view over the lake. Mist is rising, overseen by Land Rover or what is left of it. Picked at over the years by scavengers and given a custom pain job by visiting artists. Foliage has grown up and through the body, creeping out through the front.
Cannibalised further before your very eyes, someone appears with a farm jack and removes two more wheels.
Heading back through the main building, down the steps and on to the path down to the body of water glimpsed before, there are several signs reminding you that this is private.
You can argue that trespass is trespass but when it comes to a neglected, a beauty spot like the one at the end of this path, you might as well throw respect and caution to the wind and enjoy a natural, picturesque watery habitat that has benefitted from the closure and reduced traffic to this space.
It’s a lake. The surface still, save the disturbance by waterfowl and other birds that live here.
It feels like the only trespass and disturbance at this point is against nature. Looking over the lake is such a contrast to exploring the unnatural mess up the hill. An unnatural mess, you could argue, that should have been contained instead of being allowed to spill down hill.
This whole site is evidence of us; layers of trespass. Abandoned furniture thrown and distributed wildly. Windows smashed just because. A playground. An experiment in responsibility and chaos.
Stop by for late night barbecues by the lake. Wild swimming. Nature studies. Vandalism. Violence.
There is currently a planning application open for the construction of houses on this site.