There's very little surface water on our allotments in St Ives so what better than to have a pond on my plot, thought I almost a year ago. Hopefully loads of wildlife to observe while taking a rest with a cup of tea.
Thought a lot about the benefits of rigid v sheet pond lining before it hit me... whenever I dig a hole in the winter it quickly fills with water and stays filled. Could the heavy clay hereabouts have something to do with it? Could I make a clay lined pond? It would certainly fulfill one of my ongoing allotment criteria... something for nothing.
So this post is all about my pond experience. If you live in an area of moderate or significant clay as indicate by the map below you might want to consider a clay lined pond. My hole was dug in November 2010 and the assumption about clay was immediately confirmed... the flipping' thing was full of water before I'd finished and most of the work was completed up to my wellies in wet. Since then the development has been amazing. The mucky hole in the ground has transformed into a pond of clear water, home to a thriving community of plants and wildlife, always a source of interest while taking a rest.
Besides having a pond for free I was also able to stock it gratis... a call on allotment chums brought in pond plants, mud to 'seed' the water with bugs and a bucket full of frog spawn. Added to that I'd raised perennials from seed collected in my garden and transferred excess plants, so the pond and surrounds were soon bursting with new life as Spring arrived.
Unfortunately also collected some unwanted blanket weed which needs periodic cleaning out, so do be careful you don't accidentally introduce unwanted residents if you decide to instal your own pond. This invader came from one of the allotment water tanks. And you do need to carefully consider how you'll maintain the water level in your pond during summer. At its hottest I'm wheelbarrowing in over 40 gallons of water week... that's a weight of 28st (181kg). So you need a water source nearby.
Below you'll find links to more details on the plants and wildlife in my pond as well as a photo record of development taken at two week intervals. This post will be updated periodically to form a record of the pond for 2011. If you're thinking of having a go yourself and have a question leave me a comment or use the 'Contact me' tab above and I'll get back to you quickly.
Here's the map of England showing areas of clay concentration. If you want to see a map for a different area search Google for a map showing clay deposits.
Here's a list of what's in my pond (this doesn't include the wildflowers and other plants surrounding the pond)...
Note: The first home produce frogspawn arrived in spring 2013. To view the post about the click Allotment Heaven: Frogspawn!.
And here's a series of images showing how the pond has progressed from the beginning.