THE COMMUNITY WOODLAND POND
We thought a pond would be an attractive addition to the woodland as it would create a different habitat to encourage a wider range of wildlife in the area, including insects, such as dragonflies, and perhaps amphibians, such as newts and frogs. It would be a source of water for birds and mammals already on the site, while other wildlife, such as hedgehogs, could be attracted to the site.
The pond was planned to be about 600 mm deep in the middle with shallow, sloping edges. It was excavated in early September 2017 and fenced to prevent children and dogs from getting into it. We had hoped that it might fill without the use of a pond liner, but despite heavy rain during the winter of 2017–18, the pond did not fill as much as we expected and in the long hot summer of 2018 it completely dried up.
We therefore decided in the autumn of 2018 to excavate the pond again in order to reshape the deeper central area and line it with carpet and a pond liner. We were able to do this work with the aid of an Awards for All grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.
Pond filling up after re-excavation and lining in November 2018
We put in a timber wall on one side with a bank behind it to form a safe retreat for frogs and toads. The construction is a bit experimental, but aims to provide a damp, safe habitat behind the timber retaining wall. Soil has been back-filled around the pipes and timber boxes so that they are buried and the pipes will give access to the spaces created by the boxes. Normally the pipes will be above water but when the water level in the pond is high, the lowest of the three tiers of pipes may be under water for a while.
Exposed structures to shelter frogs and toads before backfilling with soil (November 2018)
In the spring of 2019, we added aquatic plants, partly in the hope that they would help the pond to clear. In time, we hope the pond will be an interesting visual addition to the Community Woodland with different vegetation around its margins, such as Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Flag and Meadowsweet.
Pond in the spring of 2019
In May 2019, the pond received its first dragonfly in the form of a male Broad-bodied Chaser, a species which is often the first to colonise new ponds. It could often be seen returning to a favourite perch by the water's edge. The pond also now has water snails, water beetles and pond skaters, and we look forward to seeing how life in the pond develops over time.
Male Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly perching at the water's edge
We hope the pond will add a new dimension to the woodland area from both a biodiversity and aesthetic viewpoint.
The Pond Bank
The bank next to the pond has been planted with a mix of small trees and shrubs, and the end facing towards the butterfly bank and insect hotel has been sown with wildflower seed left over from the butterfly bank.
The pond bank planted with trees and shrubs in late October 2017
We are very grateful for donations from the Community Coffee Shop and from individuals to enable us to fund our work at the Community Woodland as well as an Awards for All grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.