What Does Tonbridge and District
A&FPS have to offer?
7 Lakes and 14 miles of river to choose from in Kent and East Sussex.
The Society was formed in January 1875 under the title of ‘The Tonbridge Angling Club & Fish Preservation Society’. It’s avowed objectives were to provide sport for it’s members and to prevent poaching and netting of the Medway. It’s waters were from Powder Mill Lock to Hartlake Bridge and subscription was one Guinea, entitling the holder to a family ticket. No Sunday fishing was allowed.
In 1882, an agreement with the Tonbridge Skating Club for a joint lease of the Old Ballast Pit was entered into. Some years later, it came under the sole control of the Society and in 2008, it was purchased outright. The Society was re-organised in 1891, changing it’s name to the Tonbridge & District Angling & Fish Preservation Society – it’s present title. The extent of it’s water was from East Lock to Ensfield Bridge and with the addition of the more recently dug gravel pits and farm ponds, it controls basically the same water today.
1894 saw the allowance of Sunday fishing from the Racecourse – now the Sportsground. The following winter was exceptionally hard, with the river from Tonbridge to Maidstone frozen. This was the downfall of the then Secretary who drowned whilst skating. By 1903, the supply of fish for re-stocking was, despite appeals, drying up and the Society had to start a re-stocking fund, a principle which continues today.
Following the war years, the Society had been able to strengthen it’s financial position, but come 1925, it met with hard times. One effect of this, was having to dispense with the services of it’s bailiffs. This was in keeping with the economic state of the country, but by 1930, they were reasonably stable. In 1930, the Society became affiliated to (the now dispanded) NFA and fished the first ‘All England Championships’, later called ‘National Championships. Local matches generally started at 8am or earlier and finished with a weigh-in at some pre-arranged place in the town at 8pm. The Society was much troubled with pollution during the next few years, both from sewage and the Gas Works. Much has been written recently about environment issues but the Society has been at the forefront of the anti-pollution battle for years. In 1952, the Society’s financial position was rocked by an outbreak of foot and mouth disease which struck at the start of the new season.
In 1970, the Society’s waters once again suffered from serious pollution at Cannon Bridge. After legal action and protracted negotiations, compensation was secured and re-stocking was carried out.
During the 1980’s, the much awaited flood prevention barrier became a feature above Tonbridge, however, much of the old weir pool and Shallows were lost as a result of it’s construction. As compensation, gravel extraction provided new waters and Longfield, Haysden and Barden lakes came under Society control. In 1983, a short stretch of the Wallers Haven near Pevensey was acquired.
Much of the area between Haysden Lake and Barden Park was developed by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council to form the Haysden Country Park, formally opened in 1988 with marked improvements in the facilities available to the Society.
In recent years, a section of the River Eden, a farm pond at Pippins Farm and Weirwood Resevoir have been added to the Society’s portfolio as well as the construction of the ‘New Lagoon’ at the end of the Old Ballast Pit which will further compliment the variety of fishing provided by the Society. This puts the Society in a strong position for the future among the largest clubs in the South and aims to continue offering the tremendous value for money that it has always done.