The whole Ice Age Ponds team is working hard to get ready for Spring and our pond survey season. In the current circumstances we don’t know what this will look like, but are coming up with our plans, as best we can.
We are still fitting in occasional site surveys and Beth, Sarah and Dave visited a site near Blakemere in January to look for “Ghost Ponds”. These are ponds that have been lost to changing farming practices, time or drainage schemes. This mostly involved Beth getting very muddy and being recorded by Dave. We think we were successful in our hunt and hope to tell you more about this exciting site in the future.
Walking Pond Surveys
Some of our volunteers have spent much of the autumn and winter walking footpaths and rights of ways to see if they can spot ponds that were marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey maps produced in the 1880s. I am delighted to say that they have so far been able to identify just over 400 ponds – about ¼ of those that we were looking for. Many of the remaining ponds are too far from a right of way for us to confirm whether they still exist. Given 2 lockdowns and Christmas holidays, not to mention snow and flooding, we are delighted with this result and are using this data to help us plan where to survey this year and look forward to seeing what else they find as the weather and conditions improve.
Volunteer Pond Survey Training
To get ready for the 2021 survey season we are going to hold some training events for our volunteers.
On Friday 5th March, we will hold our first online pond survey training. This live session will involve a talk on the general ecology of Ice Age Ponds by project Ecologist Will Watson, followed by a more detailed talk about how to complete the Ice Age Pond survey form by Beth Andrews and Giles King-Salter and a chance to ask questions afterwards.
This will be followed on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th March with a short (2 hours-ish) site visit (on either day) to practice completing the survey forms and confirm that you are happy with the different questions. You will need to book a personal timeslot for you (or your bubble) to join us on these days to enable us to keep volunteer numbers spread throughout the day. There will be staff available to support you on the day and a chance to come back and ask more questions the following week if you need to.
The online session is primarily aimed at new volunteers who are keen to undertake pond surveys this year (conditions permitting) but all our volunteers are welcome to join in this session. There have been some minor changes to what data we collect and the layout of the forms, mostly following volunteer feedback in 2019. The practical sessions would be beneficial to all our volunteers hoping to come out and be involved during 2021, just to refresh memories and demonstrate the changes.
More details of this weekend of training will be sent out soon but if you are interested then please contact Project Manager Dave Hutton on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place and get more details.
Beth Andrews, Ice Age Ponds Project Officer.
On 18th January 2021, Ian Fairchild gave a talk to the Teme Valley Geological Society (TVGS) about the ongoing Lottery-funded project on Conserving Herefordshire’s Ice Age Ponds with emphasis on the geological aspects including the ice age landscapes of western Herefordshire.
The lecture was recorded on Zoom and is available at https://youtu.be/xlRovYSYbJM