FLOW Project Leader Jane takes us through the wetland improvements made at Spinney Pond, Bracklesham.
This pond was identified during the ditch surveying work of Bracklesham Parish in 2016. We could see on tihe maps that there had been a significant pond here and the area is a flooding hot spot, so we thought it had potential for improvement.
A BioBlitz was carried out here to check that there were not any important species that we may have overlooked when carrying out the ditch surveys. None were found, and we were aware how few plant species there were as it was so dark.
20 October 2017
Work with volunteers took place to open up the site, removing brambles, deadwood, nettles and dumped rubbish. We had a bonfire and piled up the dead material to create a dead hedge on the roadside of the pond to act as a barrier.
26 October 2017
The leaning willows can clearly be seen now, and each willow could be graded for its bat potential.
26 February 2018
Willow were surveyed and the trees with bat potential identified. Stephen Bacon, tree surgeon, was brought in to fell the willows.
28 February 2018
This pond took three days to clear of the willows and the wood was cut and stacked onsite as habitat for invertebrates and birds.
19 April 2018
Theft of wood from the site necessitated a temporary fence going up but the metal rods from this fence were then stolen.
04 October 2018
The willow had grown up and it was difficult to see the outline of the pond. The site was dug out by a contractor for deeper areas and a bund put in to hold water during high rainfall, but also to allow the water to flow into the neighbouring rife.
08 October 2018
Some areas of the pond were sealed with clay so that the water could sit in it.
20 October 2018
The one year’s growth of willow was cut away and the willow debris was removed from the pond and piled up on old logs so that it does not regrow.
The next stage of this pond’s story will be to remove the large willow stumps that keep re-growing. We may have to poison and cover the stumps but in the long run we will leave the dead wood in-situ as a habitat.
We will monitor the pond throughout the winter to see how the water is stored and whether any adjustments need to be made to the bank profiles. We hope to add wetland plants to make this an attractive wetland feature – joined to the water vole habitat of the rife that runs along Bookers Lane.
Post by Jane Reeve