Adding a pond.


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I would like to have some permanent water in our woodland. Our patch is part of Ninewells wood which would suggest that there should be some water about. However I believe the term ‘well’ was in the past used to describe a spring or a natural water source. Not a hole in the ground with a rope and a bucket. However, despite the name there is very little water in the wood, well I have not located it, and certainly not nine wells or springs or ponds.As you can see our well contained various undesirable items, I think the square thing is some sort of polystyrene insulation from a fridge that was dumped in there many years ago. I have now removed all the floating objects, who knows what lurks at the bottom.

After we had the Conifers felled, there was a huge amount of brash lying on the floor and I got a guy in with a J.C.B. and he spent some days scrapping it up into numerous brash heaps, some of which were burnt off and others were left. Also whilst he was there I got him to dig out a hole in the ground. I was interested to see if it would fill with water and thus become a pond. This is how it looked immediately after the J.C.B. had finished working.

It does fill up sometimes after a lot of rain or snow but it also dries out completely for many months during the summer. So it is never going to support any aquatic life and is not much use as a watering hole. It has water when there are puddles everywhere and is dry when everywhere else is dry.

This was how it looked a couple of winters ago.

Now it has mellowed a bit and when its full it looks OK.

I read about other peoples woods and am always a bit jealous that they have streams or ponds and I do not. Recently I have been reading ‘The Wood’ by John Lewis-Stempel, it is quite good and he of course has water in his wood. He has stacks of other stuff. Its only 3.5 acres and it is remarkable what visits and grows there. I suspect a lot of literary license is being used. Our wood is not large, but it is almost 7 acres, also it is part of a much larger wood. Ninewells is probably about 50 acres, whereas Mr Lewis-Stempel’s wood is on its own. Still its a good read and it has got me into thinking I should do something about making my hole in the ground into a pond.

I think my approach will be to put marker sticks all the way round the perimeter in the next few days as the pond is about as full as it ever gets at the moment. Then when it recedes or dries out, I will dig a horizontal shelf about 50 cm wide all the way round so that I can lay a pond liner onto it and fix it with large flat rocks, (which there are lots of in our woods). Also I will fill the gaps between the stones with smaller stones and soil.

Before putting the liner in place I will obviously check for any protruding rocks but as the hole has been there for about 4 years now, it has developed a good layer of soft leaf litter/gunk all over so it should be OK.

Then it is just a matter of waiting for it to rain. Simple yes???

I am not sure what sort of liner to go for, and suggestions are most welcome also any helpful hints about how to execute this little project so that it is successful.