Pond Maintenance

A Task day in 2011 thinning willows in Alfreds Pond

Alfreds Pond is a natural pond, water drains into it from the football pitch, and from the land above it towards the green container.

Alfreds pond in 2003

The pond had become silted from leaf and wood fall,  willow was slowly reducing the area of open water. The enclosing tree canopy kept sunlight from reaching the pond surface. The ecosystem was missing many of the species associated with a healthy pond.

Tasks necessary to bring the pond back to a good condition were:

  • Remove the silt from the pond.
  • Reduce the canopy.
  • Remove some willow.
  • Create a natural barrier around the pond to discourage dogs from churning the water.
  • Monitor the pond for recolonizing species.
The pond margin, before silt was raked

Some tasks days in 2011 were assigned to the jobs of pulling the silt to the banks using rakes and cromes. Volunteers donned waders and ventured into the water to crome silt from the middle of the pond. Tree branches that had fallen into the water were winched to the bank. An interesting effect when standing in silt wearing waders is the inability to lift your feet due to the suction. Volunteers can be helped out using planks, and by moving the silt to allow liquid water to flow into the space of a departing foot.

The next task was reducing the willows that had taken over the centre of the pond, reducing the amount of open water available to other species. Willows reduce water in the pond by transpiration, and by physically displacing it.  Again volunteers ventured into the water, and by a process of cutting roots and winching, root balls were pulled to the bank. Some willow was left to allow cover for ducks and other animals.

The pond in early summer while the water level remains high.

During the pond clearance stages, other volunteers removed small trees and bramble that were encroaching on the banks and shading out pond margin species.

After this was complete, it was noticed that dogs were now attracted to the open water. Turbidity (cloudy sediment in the water) is detrimental to many pond dwelling species. A further task day in 2015 was allocated to lay a hedge around part of the pond, discouraging dogs from some sections of the pond.

The tree canopy remains in place. Thinning the canopy is a job for qualified chain saw operators.

Species we hope will return to colonise the pond are: Smooth Newts, Water Beetles, Dragonfly Larvae, and pond margin plants such as reeds and pendulous sedge.