Sidmouth man looking for volunteers to save pond from ‘choking to death’

PUBLISHED: 12:30 28 June 2018

Simon Papworth at the pond in The Knapp. Ref shs 25 18TI 6057. Picture: Terry Ife

Simon Papworth at the pond in The Knapp. Ref shs 25 18TI 6057. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Pond wildlife which is ‘choking to death’ because of weeds and neglect could be given a saving grace if enough volunteers come forward for a new community project.

Simon Papworth at the pond in The Knapp. Ref shs 25 18TI 6055. Picture: Terry IfeSimon Papworth at the pond in The Knapp. Ref shs 25 18TI 6055. Picture: Terry Ife

Simon Papworth is hoping to breathe new life into the Knapp Pond near his home in Deans Mead and save it for future generations.

He is working with East Devon District Council to take over the pond and enlist volunteers to help clear weeds and reeds by cutting back the roots.

Mr Papworth said: “The number of ponds in Britain are steadily declining, affecting the balance of our ecosystem.

“We have a pond in Sidmouth, once healthy, but now choking to death through neglect.

Simon Papworth at the pond in The Knapp. Ref shs 25 18TI 6057. Picture: Terry IfeSimon Papworth at the pond in The Knapp. Ref shs 25 18TI 6057. Picture: Terry Ife

“There is an opportunity to save it, before it is lost forever.

“A small amount of help from a group of us, can save this bit of Sidmouth for future generations.”

The pond is located on a small triangle of grass between Deans Mead and Peasland Road and is made of concrete with an attached bog garden.

Mr Papworth estimates the pond is around 500 square metres.

He said that he had also noticed invasive weeds such as the New Zealand pygmy weed had laid siege to the waterway.

He added: “This invasive aquatic plant was introduced to the UK in 1910 from Tasmania, and is so vigorous, that it displaces our native pond plants.

“It causes the oxygen levels of the water to drop, due to the increased decomposition of dead plants.

“This leads to the death of most living creatures in the pond.”

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “It is a great idea to restore this pond as it is an important habitat within the town.

“Highlighting the problem of invasive species is also vitally important as many aquatic areas suffer from the damaging effect of invasive species.

“The countryside team will offer support and advice to the volunteer group and we look forward to seeing an improved and thriving pond in the coming years.”

Anyone who would like to become a volunteer and help save the pond for future generations can contact Simon by emailing sipapworth@hotmail.com or by calling 07734788763.

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