Nature Notes

Ponds for Wildlife

On Friday evening 16th September, supporters of Forncett Nature Matters were treated to a wonderful presentation by Norman Stevens on the subject of Ponds for Wildlife.

2022.09.Pond Talk Photo N Stevens 1 sm

 Norman's pond, looking very well established. Photo: N Stevens

Norman had previously had a small preformed pond in a compact garden in Buckinghamshire and was enchanted by the variety of invertebrates, amphibians and birds it attracted. When he and Ann moved to their much bigger garden in Forncett Norman was determined to make a much larger wildlife pond, and they settled on a position in an informal part of the garden that could be seen from their windows.  Norman took us through the construction process of digging out to make different planting levels to suit a large variety of native species, then laying the protective liners, and finishing with a strong, waterproof butyl sheet. A pebbled area ensured an escape route (essential for adventurous hedgehogs), and is also used as a shallow bathing and drinking space for birds and other wildlife.  The most exciting part was filling the pond, planting it up, and establishing plants for pollinating insects around the pond - helped out by his young grandsons.   Once the water is in it’s always surprising how quickly the wildlife arrives, and before long the pond and its environs were alive with hopping, swimming, fluttering and buzzing creatures.

Norman illustrated the talk with many beautiful photos which showed how the pond developed over a few years, with examples from each season.  Norman’s main message for us was that a source of water, whatever its size,  is the very best thing you can provide for wildlife diversity, and watching its residents and visitors will give you endless pleasure.

Thank you, Norman, for an inspiring evening and for answering the many questions in the lively discussion that followed.

To watch a similar pond and a wildflower meadow being made, tune into ‘The Wild Gardener’ on BBC i Player

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