This wildlife pond by the woodland at the western end of the ecovillage is an attractive and interesting new amenity which should enhance awareness about water based biodiversity and increase the wildlife interest of the area for ecovillage visitors, students and small tour groups alike. Already residents have started diverting their perimeter walks around the land to include a walk past the pond.
Village resident Stephen Peel has led on the creation and establishment of this wildlife pond, recognising that, the small stream aside, we have no body of water in the ecovillage. Along with Eileen Brannigan, he successfully applied for the relevant funding from the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and then engaged local volunteers to help with the installation, landscaping and planting.
To date, most of the planting has been sourced locally for free, and current plant species include: common rush, blue flag iris, yellow flag iris, beaked sedge, yellow marsh marigold, delicate fern moss and floating pondweed.
There has been natural colonisation of the pond by additional plant species, including coltsfoot and water speedwell. Rowan and apple trees have also been planted close to the pond and, as these mature, they will frame the pond area beautifully.
Planting of other species is proposed in the coming months and some of the remaining grant funding will be allocated to buying in some aquatic plants to ensure good aeration of the pond water, attract water based insects and provide cover for pond dwellers.
The only fauna introduced to the pond has been frogspawn but these seem to have been predated as, sadly, they have not been seen beyond the four-legged tadpole stage. However, numerous freshwater invertebrate species have populated the pond, including: water beetles, skaters, shrimps, dragonflies and water boatmen. Also present are various fly species, snails and leeches – and a female smooth newt has also been observed in the pond.
Various birds incluing thrushes, starlings, finches and crows visit the pond to drink and bathe. Some small mammal and bird remains have also been found at the water’s edge, presumably eaten by foxes and other local nocturnal mammals.
This pond is a lovely addition to the ecovillage in terms of promoting biodiversity and encouraging nature to thrive, and shall become part of the already established village Biodiversity Walk. As its planting matures, the pond will become even more attractive as a walking destination, where one shall be able to sit and quietly observe the busy insects and wildlife that dwell in woods by water.
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