Gravel Pits South: Disappearing Ponds

De-shading ponds April 7th 2024

The last time we were at this site was in 2018. Back then it was a fairly uneventful task- we came, we saw, we conquered, we went home. This year was a bit different.

Tom’s Land Rover, our version of Thunderbird 2, had a breakdown en route leaving us not only locked out of the site’s car park but also bereft of tools. As you can’t save the planet without tools it was a bit of a problem. Luckily Chris went and found our broken ‘bird and collected as many essentials as he could; Nathan collected the keys to the barrier as well so we did finally get started albeit a bit later than planned.

Setting off with the tools and other kit we journeyed into the wilds of Gravel Pits South, part of Moses Gate Country Park, next door to Darcy Lever Gravel pits. The plan was to de-shade the ponds by removing the surrounding trees, this would let more light get to the pond. But first we had to find the ponds. In the years since our last visit the trees had grown, like they do, hiding them from view. We trudged in the mud looking for ponds, walking past them once or twice before finally finding them totally obscured.

With 19 volunteers we began the job of de-shading. There was a lot of new growth and re-growth which was easy to get through as the stems were quite thin. Everything that was cut down was used to make a dead hedge around the site to deter intruders and off-road motor bikes.

While we were there Rick did a quick pond survey and found great crested newt eggs. If you want to find out more about ponds see ‘Do Ponds Succeed’ and the ponds category.

Thanks to everyone for doing a great job.

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