A COMMUNITY project to revitalise a West Devon village pond has been hailed as a 'raging success.'

Earlier this month the village of Zeal Monachorum celebrated the re-opening of its village pond which has been transformed into a wildlife haven and fantastic fishing spot.

The Zeal Monachorum Angling Club, in conjunction with the Environment Agency, worked together to create the new fishing venue.

The pond, now resembling a lake, has been extended and designed with junior and disabled anglers in mind.

The work was funded by a £8,500 grant from the Environment Agency and has seen stock-proof fencing erected to protect waterside plants and the pond de-silted to improve fish and wildlife habitats.

Bob Collet from the Environment Agency, who officially opened the venue on September 6, said: 'This is a marvellous example of local people working together to breathe new life into an old village pond that has been turned it into something special.

'It's now a place where young and disabled anglers can fish in peaceful and unspoilt surroundings.

'Funds contributed by the Agency came from increased rod licence sales and are an example of licence fees being ploughed back into fisheries for the benefit of young and disabled anglers.'

Ken Hogg, from the angling club, added: 'We're really, really pleased and thrilled by the lake.

'The opening day was excellent especially considering the weather.

'The restored pond will not only benefit our club members but is a place everyone in the local community can enjoy and we appreciate the Agency's advice, funding and support — the project's been a raging success.'

The angling club has stocked the lake with a variety of fish species including roach, rudd and carp and introduced bankside and floating plants such as water lilies.

It has also provided safe fishing platforms for disabled and other anglers.

As well as anglers, the lake has already started to attract wildlife including kingfishers and dragonflies.

The project has taken two years to come to fruition.

It has been supported by local landowner and farmer, Paul Quick, and the newly-formed club now boasts 30 to 40 members with lessons for junior members and a request to give lessons to adult members.

A number of the club's junior members also organised a sponsored bike ride to raise funds for the pond project.