FLOW Project leader, Jane, talks us through a photo diary of changes made to Sheepwash Pond, in Sidlesham.
This relic pond was identified for improvement during the ditch surveys of Sidlesham parish. This thick willow copse hid an old dried up pond that could be seen on 1846 tithe maps and which can help to create, with management, wetland habitat for wildlife. Before any work took place, the site was surveyed for water voles and bats. Trees were marked where they had bat features, and these will be left or only gently lifted, avoiding any holes, cracks or splits.
25th October 2018
This relic pond was covered in large mature willow that had fallen and regrown and has bramble growing all through it. These were the plant species that dominated. Volunteers spent this session cutting out bramble and willow and burning the brash so that the edges of the pond could be seen.
27th October 2018
During this session the volunteers continued to cut out the bramble and to open up the site. It was tough going as many of the brambles were very old. We also had a team cutting up the willow to create a dead hedge along the front of the pond to put off fly tipping which has been a problem here.
31st October 2018
The bramble was pushed back and removed from a large corner at the back of the pond and this revealed a large depression that we are going to dig out. We also revealed two ditches that crisscross this site, both shallow and in need of digging out to bring water into the pond.
This final volunteer session tackled the last of the bramble and the extent and perimeter of the pond can now be seen. A large fire burnt the bramble and willow brash and the sun can now touch the ground where it hasn’t seen light for 30+ years. We continue to carry out the work of beavers!
14th November 2018
A contractor has been brought in to dig out this pond and to create some deep areas where water will be held for longer.
Work for 2019
During early 2019, this site will have dry coir rolls installed and these will be planted with a range of wetland plant species. The water levels will be monitored to see if any further digging or management is required and over the spring and summer species surveying will be continued.
Post by Jane Reeve