Creating Ponds on the North Downs
Creating, restoring and managing ponds within the Downlands Project area, which covers 130sq kilometres of suburban countryside including the green belt areas of Sutton, Croydon and north-east Surrey.
Project Updates: Oldest to latest | Latest to oldest
03/02/2012 14:48: More ponds restored - in Banstead Woods and Chipstead Cricket Pitch PondWe started work on Chipstead Cricket Pitch Pond ( in September 2011. The pond was cleared of willow and alder trees and then silt and other material was dug out of the pond to make it deeper. Staff operated the machinery aided by volunteers who cut up and burnt the wood by hand. The original plan was to line the pond with clay, but once it was dug out it seemed to be holding water well, so we are going to monitor the water levels over the spring and summer months and then decide if the pond does need lining in the autumn.
Work on Banstead Woods Pond was carried out during October 2011. Trees were pruned around the pond, which was then dug out and lined with bentonite clay, and the clay covered with material dug out from the pond. .
In November 2011 maintenance of 10 local ponds was carried out by staff and volunteers, and various volunteers were trained in pond management techniques. We have not yet planted the 3 restored ponds with native pond plants, but this work, along with installation of the silt trap at Moorcroft Pond will be carried out in March.
10/05/2011 15:29: First pond restored on the North Downs - Moorcroft Pond in FarleighWork started on the restoration of the first of the ponds, Moorcroft Pond in Farleigh, at the end of February 2011. Silt, vegetation and clay was dug out of the pond, and due to the wet weather, water in the pond had to be pumped out. The pond was found to be much bigger than previously thought, as all the silt and invasive vegetation had reduced the pond to a much smaller size. The silt and vegetation were piled nearby, and the clay kept separately. As the pond was bigger than previously though, more of the bentonite liner was needed to line the pond, so the clay dug out from the pond was used to cover the bentonite.
The pond is now ready to be planted up with native species, and this will be done in the next few months. The silt trap will also be constructed soon. A very positive response has been received from the local community, including local Councillor Chris Camden who said 'On behalf of the residents and Chelsham and Farleigh can I say a very big "well done Downlands Project" and an enormous thank you to the SITA Environmental Trust for making funds available and returning this sad sight into a blooming joy.'
08/02/2011 16:14: Funding boost of over £33,000 to enable project go aheadAlthough close to large residential populations, much of the Downlands Project area is of high value for biodiversity and includes many SSSIs and BOAs. The rich mosaic of habitats within this area, includes chalk downs, ancient woodlands, ponds, meadows, farmland and more urban fringe sites. There are around 100 ponds, many of which the Downlands Pond Project manages with the help of volunteers. However, some pond management requires the use of specialist machinery.
With an investment of £33,840 from SITA Trust funded the project will restore 3 ponds and and create 1, which are strategically important as ecological stepping-stones.
Moorcroft Pond is beside a country road in Farleigh. The water quality suffers from road run-off and the pond has become silted up. The old liner has also become degraded and the pond no longer holds water in the summer. We are going to reline this pond and also install a silt trap to prevent this problem from reoccurring. This pond is part of a network of ponds in the local area, so will quickly be recolonised by species. Work on this pond is due to start at the end of Feburary - more details and photos to follow.
Banstead Woods pond is the last of 7 ponds which were historically found within the SSSI, an ancient woodland which is greatly valued by the local community. The pond has become overshadowed by trees, contains excessive amounts of silt and doesn’t hold a lot of water. The biodiversity value of this pond has declined and we are going to restore this pond by removing the silt, digging the pond deeper and relining it with clay. Trees will also be removed or pruned to allow more light to reach the water, which will in turn encourage more plant and animals to recolonise the pond.
Chipstead Cricket Pitch Pond is on the edge of an area of woodland next to the cricket pitch. Chipstead Village Preservation Society would like the pond to be restored for biodiversity and opened up to be used by the local community for nature study and quite recreation such as picnics. The pond is presently very overgrown with willow and other tree species and the water level is low. Volunteers from the Downlands Countryside Management Project and Chipstead Village Preservation Society have started to remove the trees by hand but removing the stumps requires machinery and the pond needs to be dug deeper and relined.
Old Lodge Farm is an old dairy farm that the Downlands Project now manages and uses as a base for our conservation grazing project. We have improved local biodiversity by planting trees and hedgerows and we would like to improve the area further by creating a pond. We will dig out the pond and line it with clay and then fence the pond off to prevent livestock from accessing it and puncturing the new liner.
Our project will also enable the appropriate management of 10 additional ponds in the local area and will also encourage local people to become involved with the management and monitoring of their local ponds.