Local News

Moss Farm Fisheries on the up

posted by: Tom Rogers and Roger Lightup - Salford Online - Wednesday 27th April, 2011

click here to enlargeMoss Farm Fisheries has only been open since May 2010 and yet has become a small sensation in the Irlam area.

The fisheries focuses on fishing for pleasure rather than match fishing, and the warm and friendly atmosphere keeps anglers of all ages and abilities streaming through the gates.

With so few other open fisheries in the whole of the northwest, Moss Farm has quickly become a regional favourite.

It looked like an impossible dream to dig out fishing ponds on the beautiful Barton Moss. Not only was the land greenbelt, but it was also owned by property giant Peel Holdings, who "don't like selling land."

"It was sketched out on the back of a fag packet really," says Alan Whitehead, who co-owns the land with friend Tom Smee. "We've got a lot of debt with the Royal Bank of Scotland, they've backed us from the start. But our dream is so strong, we don't mind being in debt."

There are around 250 'pegs': 2 metre by 2 metre spaces for fishermen and women to angle from. And that's set to increase in the near future as Alan and his team dig out more of the Barton Moss for extra ponds.

With tench, bream and carp all occupying space in the Moss Farm waters, it's ideal for juniors to learn. Jimmy Coffey is a Level 2 Angling Coach and he's set to open an education centre, with Pond 1 to be renamed the Academy Pond.

"It's not only the secrets of fishing well," says Jimmy, "we're also teaching kids about the environment and what happens at the side of the water. For fishermen, that part of it is as important as the actual catching of fish."

Irlam and Cadishead Community Committee; the Hamilton-Davies Trust (a local charity who bought Alan and Tom their first fish); local companies have lined up to help the pair realise their dream.

And not only is the fisheries jammed full of people who love the relaxed and friendly atmosphere, it's recently won awards for the quality of its disabled access.

In the video, we speak to Graham, a wheelchair user who's near the top of the list of the biggest fish caught at Moss Farm. He loves the disabled access, the cafe, and the wide variety of people who turn up to have a go.

There are major plans for expansion, with three more ponds planned, and Alan, who lives on site, already has his own wormery - breeding big fat juicy worms to feed his fish on.

Moss Farm is vital for the future of Irlam - to bring in trade and more importantly, to let people outside the area know about the beauty and diversity of the Barton Mosslands.

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