four to five years, the Knepp Estate has
repairs and maintenance to carry out to the
penstocks of the Knepp Lake. To
facilitate these works, the lake is drained,
and the fish harvested.
maximise the commercial benefit of this
operation, a company called Castle Carp was
established in the 1990s. Les Bamford
brought his experience to the company whilst
the estate provided the property.
Carp specialized in the breeding and growing
on of the 'Leney' strain of
adult fish to fisheries, and traded
successfully for several years until heavy
floods in 2000 and 2001 washed away much of
the commercial carp crop. Because the
company was not producing any income for a
few years, it was disbanded and absorbed as
a farm enterprise within the Home Farm.
In 2004 one of the smaller ponds was
drained, but the catch was minor (approx 20
carp) and all the proceeds went to cover the
costs in the labour etc.
the plans to dredge the main lake took
precedent over carp farming, and for several
years the estate has anticipated that the
lake would be drained to commence dredging,
and therefore has not sought to restock.
Mr Bamford has tried to harvest the lake in
the last couple of years, but the estate has
felt that it was sensible to delay until the
lake had to be drained.
to the suitability of the pond for carp,
this can only be improved by dredging the
lake. At present there is both an
active heronry and a cormorant roost in
woods adjacent. These birds thrive off
the fish in the lake and in shallow water
will damage bigger fish, which de-values
them. Deeper water will provide better
shelter from airborne predation and
hopefully more habitat.
are referred to as 'Leney' after Donald
Leney who started importing this type of
carp into Great Britain in the 19301s from
the national fish farm in Holland, the fish
originating from the Galicia region in
Poland. The fish that he imported were all
hand picked by him and he bad a habit of
picking all the 'fast growers' of a
particular year class; any 'runts' were
rejected. These prime fish were stocked from
his fish farm in Surrey into what are now
famous carp fisheries around mainly the
South of England.
most famous of these waters, Redmire Pool in
Hertfordshire, was stocked by Don Leney in
March 1934 and in 1952 produced Richard
Walker's record 44lb Common Carp. Redmire
Pool still holds the record to this day with
a 51lb 2oz fish caught in 1980 by Chris
Yates. Redmire Pool is unique in that it has
never received any further stockings of carp
since 1934 whereas the other waters he
stocked have all had other strains of carp
introduced, therefore the carp in Redmire
are all still 100% pure Leneys.
1992 Les Bamford. the lessee of Redmire
Pool, negotiated on behalf of Castle
Carp an agreement with the owners of Redmire
Pool that allowed Castle Carp Ltd to remove
adult carp from Redmire for the purpose of
breeding. Because of this agreement Castle
Carp were the suppliers of 'pure' Leney