The lower lake next to the Silberrad Student Centre was excavated in 1960. It has comparatively few trees around it but has a diversity of aquatic plants and insects on its margin. It also attracts a wide range of birds.
The middle lake and the top lake were originally separated by a dam - the site of the bridge in Constable's painting. The lakes were formed by damming a small brook running along the length of the valley. Lakeside House, the home of the Vice-Chancellor, now separates the two lakes.
It's difficult to be sure where Constable sat when he painted Wivenhoe Park, the view is almost certainly a composite one. Since we know that the width of the picture was extended unequally at both ends to include both the children's donkey cart and the deer house, it is impossible to point to a single spot.
At the head of the top lake is the site of the eighteenth century rock arch and boat house. All the that remains of the boat house is a brick arch under which the stream flows that feeds the three lakes.
To the south of the lake is a large mound, which are the remains of the ice house. At the north end of the ice house grounds, is one of the lodges built in 1846.
Wivenhoe House was commissioned during the Second World War and around 5000 troops were stationed here. Near the house there is a beautiful Cedar of Lebanon tree under which troops were briefed about the D-Day landings in 1944.
Replanting lost trees
Many of the trees were lost during the storm of October 1987. These were replaced with a mixture of scots pine, yews, larches and native Essex trees such as small-leaved lime and hornbeam.
There is also a holm oak planted by Oscar Arias, former President of Costa Rica and a graduate of the University.
The University's Grounds team now maintain the park and its important collection of trees. They do so in a spirit consistent with the work of both Woods and Constable whilst taking into account that it now lies next to a flourishing, modern University.