Set in beautiful, tranquil countryside just 10 miles from Horsham in West Sussex, Sumners Ponds is an excellent example of how diversification from traditional farming can provide great fishing on natural looking waters.
Since starting to develop the fishery about 20 years ago, owner Simon Smith has created a delightful venue which offers 10 acres of fishing on four spring-fed waters; camping and caravaning facilities on dedicated areas as well as on the field which overlooks Sumners Lake; and an anglers' shop, cafeteria and lounge area next to Sumners Lake.
Outside, wildlife conservation areas and attractive walkways have been created through woods and fields which form part of the farm.
There are three camping areas, Bluebell Park, Ribbon Park and the lakeside Sumners Park which offer a total of 91 pitches, most of which have electric hook-ups. Fifty three of these are hard standing pitches, 38 are grass and nine are premium angling pitches, each of which has it's own dedicated swim suitable for two anglers. In peak times it is often possible to accommodate tents in the overflow camping field although this does not have electric hook-ups.
Bluebell Park has a young children's play area and is particularly suitable for families as it is adjacent to the woodland walk and cycle paths. Ribbon Park, the new addition to Sumners Ponds, is situated between Farm Pond and Ribbon Lake and is ideal for anglers and campers of all ages with the added benefit of having running water available for each individual pitch. The new site is well positioned for access to the woodland walks and cycle routes around the farm. The Sumners Park lakeside camping area with its premium pitches is more suited to those wishing to fish.
Well behaved dogs are welcome on all camping areas at no extra charge. Non-angling visitors are also welcome at no extra charge although they should park cars in the car park.
The Reception, Visitor Centre and licensed Cafeteria by the lake (left) is open during peak and High Season times from 8.30am until 6.00pm every day from Sunday through to Thursday and until 9.00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It offers a three course menu during the school holiday periods and a Bar Menu during the spring and autumn months. During the day visitors can enjoy a full English breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea on the deck overlooking the lake in summer - or a bowl of warming home-made soup inside during the winter. All meals can be provided on an eat-in or take-away basis at all times.
In the shop, bait - including live bait - and fishing tackle plus a small range of groceries, camping accessories and essential items are available for anglers and campers whilst TV connection cables which provide five channels can be hired from Reception.
Wireless Internet connections are available for laptop computers in the chalet or on the decking seating area whilst all three camping areas have two high quality WC and shower blocks, two with wash-up areas attached. A laundry area is also situated on Bluebell Park with tokens obtainable from the shop.
The three-and-a-half acre landscaped match lake (pictured left) provides prolific fishing for barbel, chub, carp, crucians, tench and roach. Primarily designed for match anglers, this water is already providing great sport for day ticket visitors and club matches. Anglers wishing to fish the lake should check availability with the bailiff before starting to fish. Since opening in Spring 2005, catches from this mixed lake have surprised anglers with match weights coming in at up to 250lbs on average.
Growth rates are said to have been astonishing with the mirrors already averaging between 9lbs and 12lbs, the tench and bream 3lbs and the barbel between 3lbs ad 6lbs.
Sumners Ponds Fishery has few rules although anglers are requested to use only one kilo of groundbait at a session and to use an unhooking mat for the larger fish. A good sized landing net is also recommended. New match rules have been drawn up and are available on request.
In addition to day-ticket angling, a range of membership options are available for anglers who want to night fish the waters.
Whether it is fishing for carp which are exceeding 30lbs, pleasure fishing for tench, roach, rudd, chub, perch or bream, or taking part in matches on the new match-cum-pleasure lake which should mature to rank amongst the best in the area - Sumners Ponds is a fishery which is well worth a visit.
The new Reception, Cafeteria and Visitor Centre
2019 Ticket Costs and Opening Times
||Juniors (under 16)
||Senior Citizen (over 60s)*
|Day Tickets (One rod)
||7.00am - dusk
|Day Tickets (Two rods)
* Please note that Senior Citizen discounts are not available at weekends,
during the High Season or on Bank Holidays
* Three categories of membership are available at Sumners Ponds which enable anglers to night fish
and receive a discount on day-ticket prices.
For details please ring 01403 732539.
Created about 16 years ago by damming the stream in the bottom of a natural valley, Sumners Lake is more a lake than a pond and holds a large number of common and mirror carp in double figures and the mid 20s with the current lake record being held by a 34lb 7oz common carp.
In addition, there are good heads of tench to 7lbs, chub and bream to 8lbs, perch to a healthy 4lbs, roach to 2lbs and pike to over over 15lbs, making Sumners Lake an ideal all-round water where pleasure anglers can catch good sized fish throughout the year.
At three-and-a-half acres in size, the majority of the lake is about five feet deep, making it an easy water to float fish.
However, along the dam side of the lake depths go down to the natural valley floor, giving up to seven-and-a-half feet in places and making the segment of Sumners Lake from the dam wall to the island good for fishing the feeder, especially for the silver fish in winter.
Most anglers fishing Sumners Lake tend either to fish the pole or waggler in the margins or open water, although those who want to reach the island use feeder or ledger tackle. The swims around the island are good not only in summer but also in winter because this is where the bigger chub often tend to hold up.
As one would expect with a water holding carp, fishing floating baits is also effective. Indeed, Sumners Ponds has a reputation for being a good water for taking fish off the surface with good sized specimens falling regularly to dog biscuits and floating pellets.
Fishing floating baits in the margins is particularly effective whilst anglers who like fishing for good sized perch should try float fishing lob worms.
Popular baits for those fishing the float or ledger include luncheon meat, sweetcorn, expander pellets, boilies and maggots which are all productive, particularly when fished over coarse fish pellets.
The original farm pond at Sumners Ponds, Farm Pond was enlarged about 19 years ago and now provides angling in a delightful setting. The pond typifies everything one would expect from a good old fashioned farm pool and is renowned locally as one of the most prolific waters in the district.
Although just under an acre in size and smaller than Sumners Lake, it can hardly be classified as 'small'. Indeed, it is what many pleasure anglers would describe as an ideal size, and with plenty of trees, bushes, shrubs and waterside vegetation there are plenty of pegs where anglers can hide away from the fish - and each other!
Whilst the carp in Farm Pond may not run as large as those in Sumners Lake, there are still some big fish to be had with good quality commons and mirrors to 27lbs and an abundance of tench, roach, rudd, chub and perch. Although there are no bream in Farm Pond, the roach go to 2lbs - a good size for the species irrespective of the size of water.
The majority of Farm Pond is four feet deep with pockets up to eight feet, although the water shallows at the far end from the entrance in the areas where the reeds are encroaching into the water. Because it is reasonably shallow, most anglers fish the pole or waggler,
Whilst many anglers fish in open water, fishing the margins and to reeds at the far end of the pool also provide a good number of fish, particularly on summer evenings and when there are few anglers on the pool.
Again, best baits include luncheon meat, expander pellets, maggots and worm with boilies being a favoured bait for the bigger carp and sweetcorn for general fishing in Spring and early summer.
Again the use of groundbait is limited to one kilo per session, although groundbait is not usually requried as baits are best fished over a tight bed of 2mm coarse fish pellets.
The two acre Ribbon Lake is the latest addition at Sumners Ponds and, as its name implies, is an attractive meandering ribbon of a water with islands to fish from.
Well stocked with silver fish including tench, chub, barbel and crucians, Ribbon Lake is becoming popular with match anglers and is an ideal water for beginners or parents with children as even youngsters can be guaranteed to catch on most visits.
Sumners Ponds on the Net
Sumners Ponds has its own website where postings keep anglers up to date with what's happening on a regular basis - pay them a visit at www.sumnersponds.co.uk.|
How to get there...
From the North and Horsham: Follow the A264 to Billingshurst and Bognor and pass the Toyota garage on the right. Immediately after the hump back bridge turn left, signposted Barns Green and Christ's Hospital. Follow this road for two miles and you will pass through the village, cross a small bridge over a stream. The turn into Slaughterford Farm is on the right. Follow the track and the fishery will be found behind the farm buildings.
From the South and Coolham: Head north to Barns Green from Coolham crossroads on the B2139. After one-and-a-half miles take the first left at the small crossroads and follow this road for a mile. Pass over the railway crossing, round the sharp right hand bend and turn left into Slaughterford Farm. Follow the track and the fishery will be found behind the farm buildings.
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