Stradwell Pond, Nettlebed May 2013
Nettlebed Common Ponds Project News June 2012
There is a silver lining to this summer’s storm clouds! The weeks of heavy rain have filled the ponds on Nettlebed common to the brim.
The ponds were the focus of a training workshop led by local ecologist and pond expert, Rod d’Ayala, in June. Participants, who came from all over the Chilterns, spent the day discovering how little is generally understood about ponds. The ‘chocolate box’ version can be far cry from the thriving freshwater habitats which we are endeavouring to preserve on the common. By Rod’s definition, a pond is a small body of water between 1 square metre and 2 hectares in size, which holds water for at least 4 months of the year. Some ponds naturally dry out from time to time, and yet may harbour rare isolated species.
The number one priority for a healthy pond is clean water. Nettlebed ponds are fed
only by rainwater – there are no springs or streams here. Rainwater starts out clean,
but can become polluted once it reaches the ground. Overhanging trees such as willow
may cause a build up of sludge from rotting leaves. Ducks and fish can also cause
pollution, especially if there are too many of them. And contamination can be caused
Picture from Radley Village website www.radleyvillage.org.uk/ourvillage/natural_history/insects.htm#Miscellaneous
Our thanks go to the Chilterns Commons Project, who organised and financed the Pond Restoration Training Day. For more information see:
Our next project will focus on Jack’s pond (see picture below) where, come September, Sonning Common Green Gym will start to reduce excess vegetation, to improve water quality and light levels.
Healthy ponds may not match people’s idea of what a pond ‘should’ look like, but they, and the creatures who inhabit them, are still a delight to behold – especially when the sun does come out!
If you would like to take part in a pond restoration working party, or if you just want to know more, please contact: Elizabeth Smeeton on 01491 641199
To prove the point, a sample of water scooped from Stradwell Pond was found to contain
a small number of aquatic invertebrates. This time last year there were none present.
A promising sign that last winter’s restoration work has paid off, and that this
pond is slowly coming back to life. Nearby, one of the course participants spotted
an insect resembling a Daddy Longlegs (Crane Fly) – which turned out to be the strange-
GCN found by a neighbour in their garden near Stradwell Pond. It was returned safely!
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