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The Friends of Sudbury Pond

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The Friends of Sudbury Pond are regarding work completed up to the end of 2014 as ‘Phase 1’ of the project. We hope to be discussing any further improvements to the pond with the community after Phase 1 is completed.

Our intention is to provide the community with an attractive water feature with future facilities for the enjoyment of residents, especially the young.

Our thanks also go to the Ward Councillors Chris and John Hobson for their continuing support of the project and obtaining the kind assistance of Gentoo.

We apologise for any disturbance which may be caused during the pond work.

Future work on the pond depends on the success of the ‘Friends of Sudbury Pond’ group and their proposed agenda.

 For those interested in helping this group please contact Bob Mullen at b2mullen@hotmail.co.uk or telephone 01642 324939

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e-mail sent to FOSP members on 22 March 2014:-

Dear All,

After clearing the excess bulrush from the pond, thanks to the kind offer of a JCB from Gentoo, we now have a clear stretch of water in the pond. It is encouraging to see regular visits by a pair of Mallards and a number of waterhens. The south east end of the pond now has clumps of frogspawn and provides an eery feeling of lots of little frog eyes peering at you from just above the surface. A number of water plants have been planted/replanted around the edges of the pond (Rush and Phragmites).

Whilst clearing the surface of floating vegetation last week I had a number of visits from nearby residents, some who volunteered to help and others recalling the varying depths of the pond. One resident from Sudbury showed me some photographs of the pond with a very high water level taken from one of his windows, everyone near the pond were worried about flooding at the time. Others mentioned times when the pond was virtually dry. We have yet to investigate the reasons for this massive variation.

To monitor depth changes I have placed a depth gauge in the pond.The present depth at this location is almost 15 cms. From this reading and based on observations over the last few years I guess the pond is about a third of its average level. I am probably the only person in Middlesbrough praying for heavy rain over the next few months.

I am presently putting together a funding bid list for the further Phase 2 work on the pond. Included in the list is a number of tools that volunteers can have access to and we could possibly use in helping other Friends groups across Middlesbrough if and when requested to assist.

The FOSP group have yet to decide what features we add to the pond. Suggestions so far are a board walk from the metalled footpath out to the middle of the pond with a dipping platform, a 3 person seat placed beside the footpath, a more solid walkway on the footpath near the Sudbury houses, safety signage for the pond, a lectern-type interpretation board explaining the history of the pond to also include a key of aquatic species to be found when pond-dipping. Any other suggestions from the FOSP would be very welcome. We will also be conducting a leaflet drop in the neighbourhood seeking residents comments and suggestions.

On Monday, 24 March at 10:00 am we have Jonathan Pounder and his Environmental apprentices coming to the pond to do some practical work. Gentoo again helped us by delivering a load of topsoil from their Longridge Wood site. If anybody is available to help on the day you would be very welcome. If you have a wheelbarrow, rake, shovel or spade to use we will be spreading the topsoil on the site ready for grass seeding in the next few weeks. As areas around the pond are still a bit squidgy I recommend wearing wellies.

Thank you all for your interest in Sudbury Pond and best wishes, Bob

e-mail sent to FOSP members on 11April 2014

 

  

        Pond on 08 April 2014

 

 

Dear All

After clearing the excess bulrush from the pond in February, thanks again to Gentoo and both Cllrs Hobson, the pondwater finally became visible. From observations over previous years it looked as though the pond was about one third full. I Installed a depth gauge in the pond on 04 March and the initial reading was 135 mm. The latest reading on 08 April was 195 mm. The rainfall forecast for Middlesbrough over the next few months is an average of 50 - 60 mm per month so I hope to see the pond eventually covering a lot more of the boundary vegetation.

Tests on the pond water indicate that it is very healthy and clean. Under the microscope there are lots of wrigglies and small translucent 'bugs' (daphnia, rotifers) which are happily chewing on the non-flagellate algae appearing on the open water surface (hopefully it doesn't become a nuisance). Frogspawn appeared along with mating frogs in early March.

The rough green area of the pond boundary near to the tarred footpath was scraped earlier by the JCB in preparation for some grass seeding. Gentoo again came to our assistance by delivering 20 tonne of topsoil pro bono. Jonathan Pounder and his Environmental Apprentices came in late March to spread the soil across the proposed seeding area.

The raw earth around the pond still looks a bit like WW1 Flanders but give it a few months after the grass seeding and growth of pond plants and I am sure it will be a pond to be proud of.

During the next few months we will be liasing with the community to consider the placement of a boardwalk/dipping platform, a number of informative and warning signage and hopefully a park bench near to the  tarred footpath for the use of oldies like me.

If you have any ideas on the future of the pond please drop me an e-mail. If you have a spare couple of hours why not do a litter-pick around the pond. Most of the litter I collect almost certainly comes from schoolchildren (judging by their food and drink choices), parents take note, but we still have a dog-poop problem presumably from uncaring adults. Dog-poop carries a dangerous organism - toxocara, this mostly affects children and can lead to blindness, its not a risk worth taking, always bag the poop and drop it in the red waste bins provided by the Council.

We now have a pair of mallards as regular daily visitors to the pond. At first I was very careful not to disturb them but whilst splodging in the pond profiling the island edges they flew in and quite happily swam around me without any worries. We have also had visits from four waterhens but they are a bit more  apprehensive.