Pondlife – the latest from the Pannells Ash Barn renovation
I fear I was the only life in the pond yesterday.
I donned my waders and cut a way through the dense hedging to gain entry to this aquatic region of the property.
The pond runs East to West on the north side of the barn and is between the barn and the road. Earlier in the year Bev and I saw a wild duck with her off spring happily making the pond their own.
It has obviously been neglected for a number of years.
Consequently it has become heavily overgrown with the traditional hedgerow members of the English hedgerow, blackthorn, hawthorn, and ouchanotherthorn, each struggling for their own bit of sky, some resorting to growing out over the water to access a bit of space.
Stepping into the unknown
Wading through the clinging mud and rotting vegetation, each footstep disturbed the sediment, releasing a pretty foul smell. At times I sank waist deep in silt and closer to the smelly water than I would have liked!
I cut a path along the southern edge of the pond trying to keep in the shallows, to get an idea as to the amount of work required to be done to bring life back to this pond.
At times I wondered if I was still in Castle Hedingham and not in some part of the Amazon. I did spy a sinister shape float through the duck weed but it turned out to be a well sodden old leather football and not some monster from the murky swamp!
The pond also seems to be the place were old tennis balls went to die – not even the previous owner’s dog was keen to get in here to retrieve it’s play things.
In the barn there’s an old hand pump which was used to draw water from the pond for farmyard cattle use. Today I found the other end of the pipe! It’s by the white plastic container:
The water level varies considerably with the rainfall and the run off from the field. Today the level had dropped by about two feet from the level it had been ten days ago, enough for me to wade the edge without too much difficulty.
The bottom must be the natural hard clay, but the years of neglect have allowed it to badly silt up.
When we had the Bat survey carried out, we also commisioned a newt survey. It came up negative.
I think I’ll need to take some advice on how best to bring this natural water feature back to life. For now it looks like a big job ahead of me.
Between the build and the pond, there’ll be a lot to blog about.