Community project to save Sidmouth pond sees wildlife success

PUBLISHED: 17:31 27 December 2018

Simon Papworth with volunteers at the restored pond. Ref shs 51 18TI 7026. Picture: Terry Ife

Simon Papworth with volunteers at the restored pond. Ref shs 51 18TI 7026. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

A once neglected pond is beginning to flourish with new wildlife and plants thanks to a community project.

The restored pond at the Knapp. Ref shs 51 18TI 7009. Picture: Terry IfeThe restored pond at the Knapp. Ref shs 51 18TI 7009. Picture: Terry Ife

Simon Papworth appealed for help through the Herald back in June to save Knapp Pond from ‘choking to death’ after becoming overrun with invasive weeds and reeds.

The pond, which is located between Deans Mead and Peaslands Road, is owned by the district council, and was built in 1992, in conjunction with the Sid Vale Association, as part of a nature reserve.

Left unattended, the Sidmouth resident felt he had to act to make sure the pond was not lost forever for future generations.

Six months later the Herald has caught up to see how the project is faring.

Simon Papworth at the pond in The Knapp. Ref shs 25 18TI 6047. Picture: Terry IfeSimon Papworth at the pond in The Knapp. Ref shs 25 18TI 6047. Picture: Terry Ife

Simon said: “Sadly, in recent years, the pond became overgrown with weeds.

“Brambles had gained a steady foothold in the surrounding neglected area.

“Our plan is to return the area around the pond to a nature reserve.”

Following the appeal, 15 people came forward to offer their time working over the summer and autumn to empty the pond of plants and mud.

Another task was to clear away an invasive weed called Australian swamp stonecrop.

The weed can regrow if just one fragment of leaf is left in the sun and the waste had to be buried away.

The project made further progress by the start of October when volunteers emptied and cleaned the pond.

Simon said: “Within two weeks, a water boatman was seen swimming in his new home.

“In November, we found young palmate newts, lesser and greater water boatmen, a water louse, rams horn snails and their eggs, and a rather large frog.

“How quickly nature can recover.”

During the clearing, a rare black poplar tree has been discovered along with a number of other interesting trees.

Yellow Rattle seeds have been sewn for a new wild flower area near the pond, which is set to be ready in 2020.

Simon said: “As volunteers, we are grateful for the encouragement of members of the local community.

“We look forward to linking with a school in 2019, and getting more young people involved.”

To volunteer, email sipapworth@hotmail.com for more information.

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