Paddling Pond

Stokes May Morass

Stoke Morass 1716

Stokes Bay showing the Stoke Morass in 1716

Most of Stokes Bay was for many years inundated by the sea. It was part of the great ‘Stoke Morass’ that ran from Browndown to Gilkicker Point, before those features were named. Over hundreds of years it gradually dried, leaving the river Alver to flow the length of the Bay exiting to the sea at Gilkicker. The river also changed its course, particularly when the Royal Engineers diverted it into Stoke Lake following complaints from the Vicar of Alverstoke about its state.

Stokes Bay 1810

Map of 1810 showing the route of the River Alver

The Paddling Pond (Pool)
As a result a pool of water was left at the Bay close to Stokes bay pier and this became a popular paddling pool for Gosport residents and children in particular.

Stokes Bay Pool in 1873

Stokes Bay Pond in 1873

Stokes Bay paddling pond in 1939

In the 1930s Gosport Borough Council built a concrete path to the pool. The path ran from the Anglesey Road corner with Stokes Bay Road, to the pond and on to the promenade. A path ran all the way round the pond and the pond itself had an island to one side. The pond was filled in 1961 because of problems with water purity and warnings from the Medical Officer of Health who had drawn attention to the unsatisfactory reports made on the bacteriological state of samples of water taken from the pond. The council had tried to clean the pond but decided that it was too costly and the lack of use by the public led to them deciding to build a new paddling pool near to the Sailing Club. Sections of the path to the old pond now remain, enigmatic in their nature and mysteriously leading nowhere. The area is, unsurprisingly, prone to flooding.

Path to the Pool

Path to the Pond in 2016 looking from the Promenade

Path to the Pool

Path to the Pond in 2016 looking towards Anglesey Road

Path to the Pool

Path to the Pond in 2016 looking towards the beach.

Path to the Pool in 1999

This Google Earth view of the path to the pond in 1999 shows that much of the path still survives beneath the grass.


Stokes Bay Paddling Pond

Old postcard of Stokes Bay Paddling Pond (Credits to original photographer, unknown)

Stokes Bay pool 1927

A postcard of the pond in 1927 (copyright photographer unknown)