Once A Ponda Time...

It started off with the aspiration to build one huge clay lined pond. So we had to clear away the topsoil and put it to one side before excavating clay. Lots of clay. But our clay was the wrong kind of clay. Our clay was filled with stones. We had to pick them out and it took a very long time...

Some of the work was done by children from Skinners Academy (in the green T shirts), some by Lloyds volunteers (in the blue T shirts) and some by the regular ELL volunteers. The work with Skinners Academy meant that we needed to have finished the pond by the end of July. It soon became obvious that it was going to be difficult to finish off the whole pond, clay lined, by that time. We changed our plans so that there would be two ponds: a larger butyl lined pond and a smaller clay lined pond. We had a Permablitz on the weekend before the pond launch to finish off the pond and finished off the pond just in time. On the day of the launch we planted some edible pond plants and put some fish in the pond.

The butyl lined pond was lined with cardboard (soaked in water to make it flexible) and the butyl was covered with various fabrics to allow water to wick up the edge of the pond to hydrate plants growing on the banks. We didn't want to end up with bare butyl around the end of the pond. We mounded earth over the edge of the pond and the interior of the pond was more than a metre deep in the centre. We tried to remove stones from the clay in the clay-lined end by soaking it in water and hand sorting it. This took absolutely ages. To try and make the clay lined pond water tight we let it dry out and compressed it with our feet. We tried doing this several times. Even with the wall of this pond being 15-20cm thick, the clay lined pond never held water. In the end we made that pond into a bog, filling it with earth and bog plants like Galingale and Bog Myrtle.