As the weather changes again we are on the final part of our project.  This involves bringing together all the information our wonderful volunteers have collected, planning our end of project conference and celebrating all the good work that has been done so far.

Water sampling

Throughout 2021 some wonderful volunteers have been undertaking a large scale water sampling task.  This has involved visiting 20 sites in just 2 long days, doing on-site water chemistry and taking water samples.  These samples are then shipped to a lab at Birmingham and Keele Universities, where they are tested to look for nutrients and ion analysis.  This whole process has been repeated 3 times during the year – often in less than ideal weather.  We have finally finished the task and are now working our way through the data.  I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to those volunteers.  It wouldn’t have been possible without you, and this data will go on to form detailed information for landowners and managers on the best way to manage these ponds into the future.

New volunteer tasks

After nearly 3 years of data collection by our fantastic volunteers we are now sifting through to see what we have learned and what we can share with others.  To help us do this we are looking for some volunteers who want to help us with some data entry and sorting.

Firstly we are looking for someone who would be willing to plug lots of numbers into a spreadsheet to allow us to compare all of our ponds with other ponds nationally.

We are also looking for someone who will help us categorise our ponds – according to levels of phosphates and electrical conductivity and highlighting any that have rare species.  This will help us raise the profile of the good ponds and share tips to improve the water quality in the others.

These tasks can be carried out at home and would suit someone looking to fill some of the dark wet days ahead.  If you think you might be able to help, or want to find out more about this then please do get in touch

Finally, we are carrying out practical site management on a few sites over winter.  This will help remove some of the trees shading out ponds and let in the light, so that the plants and animals will thrive.  If you would like to join the work teams, visit a few new sites and blow away the winter cobwebs please contact David Hutton, Project Manager to be added to our list.

Norton Canon Orchard

We have some wonderful news about this site, which was visited during 2019 as part of the development stage of the project.  This small site, which contains 5 ice age ponds within one field, would have been at the edge of “glacial Lake Letton” and is in an area with a very high density of ice age ponds.  The site provided a wonderful habitat to numerous pond invertebrates and amphibians, in a historic apple and perry pear orchard.

The ponds were visited during a trial augering session with staff and students from the University of Birmingham and were found to contain remnant peat deposits.

All this information helped to encourage Herefordshire Wildlife Trust that this site was worth protecting for the future, and I am pleased to say that it has now been purchased and will become a nature reserve open for public access.  A fantastic find as part of the project and it will provide another wonderful place to visit these ice age ponds.

Norton Canon Orchard. Photo by Giles King-Salter.

End of Project Conference

A date for your diaries Wednesday 2nd March 2022.  This will be our end of project conference and we will be presenting our findings and sharing our success.  We couldn’t have done this project without our fabulous volunteers, landowners and pond champions and hope that lots of you will be able to join us – virtually or in person.  More details will be available nearer the time, but please do save the date.

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