It’s every young boy’s dream: headline a major music festival and have your bespoke-built angling facility lauded as “beautiful” by Trout Fisherman Magazine. Some people are lucky enough to achieve one of these feats, but few others, if any for that matter, have managed to pull off the coveted double-whammy. Roger Daltrey is one hell of a man!
Nestled in the sleepy expanse of Heathfield, East Sussex, Lakedown Trout Fishery has been offering up a secluded escape from reality for anglers ever since Daltrey shunned shouting about his generation for a hot second to open the doors in 1981.
Trout Fisherman magazine described the place as a “visual assault on the senses. There can be no prettier fishery in this land. Spikes of bright yellow flag decorate the banks which are thick with beds of rose bay willow herb, bee-haunted fox gloves & spotted orchid. A place where wild browns & rainbows live side by side.”
Indeed, it sure is a stunning spot but underpinning it all is a slight air of absurdity that the whole thing has a bit of rock ‘n’ heritage about it too. After all, Daltrey even designed the four spring-fed lakes that cover the 26-acre facility himself—this wasn’t a case of the frontman simply putting his name to it in a bizarre marketing stunt. In fact, rumour has it there is even a cheeky poster of him selling bait in the lobby, complete with the tagline: Codrophenia.
For years, this sanctuary in Sussex has remained free of any hotel room trashing controversy, however, last year the fishery ran into a dispute with locals over plans to open a craft beer bar on site. While the fisheries lawyer claimed, “This is not a bar or a pub, in the sense you might have in a village. It is a taproom offering locally produced beers which you can sample on site and then purchase to take home,” the locals envisioned a fishing clan of Keith Moon’s incarnate getting sloshed and yielding their carp mallets like maniacs.
“I always promised myself that if I ever made any money, I’d have a pond at the bottom of the garden,” Daltrey once joked, “and now I’ve got it.” The pastime is one that takes him back to his childhood when angling was all the rage. As anyone who has watched the BBC series Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing can attest, there is something truly nostalgic about a bit of a lakeside lark.
This notion is something that Daltrey has always relished. While he might be no stranger to hair-raising thrills in his day job, that makes reclining into the quieter side of things even more vital, so albeit it might sound incongruous, the star investing a bit of money into mindfulness that even the public can enjoy makes perfect sense.
With prices ranging from 2 fish for £35 to 6 fish for £60, you can angel six days a week (closed Tuesdays) and catch a beer in the taproom afterwards. Who knows, you might even meet The Who star on the bankside while you’re at it too.