BENTLEY POND PROJECT
Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful with our grant request to Veolia, however due to the high amount of slit in the pond we shall still proceed with the dredging of the pond and the necessary tree work around the pond. This work will commence from late November through December 2019. A replacement fence, surfacing and dipping platform will be completed during 2020.
Our aim is to restore and improve the condition of the village pond and surrounding area, improving amenity value and making it a better environment for wildlife. The site is currently very uninviting with poor water quality due to the silt problem. By improving natural surrounding and adding facilities for visitors of all abilities, we plan to make this a focal point of the village.
We had a consultation stand at both the Bentley fete on 21st July 2018 & at Bentley Primary school's Bfest event in June 2018, which gave us an opportunity to speak with people of all ages about the current status of the pond, the work that is required and to receive their feedback.
Following our recent tree survey, we have applied to East Hampshire District Council for permission to do various works to the trees around the pond. Over the years the condition of the pond has deteriorated and accumulated silt, the water quality is poor and the surrounding area is in need of attention.
Bentley Parish Council has met with three pond specialists to discuss this project obtaining three quotations. During the Parish Council meeting on 10th June 2019, it was agreed by the Council to hire Aquamaintain to complete the pond work. We are currently in the process of obtaining further quotes to help with the tidying up process around the pond area. We plan to include a new picnic area, new surfacing, new fencing and a dipping platform with improved access points.
We shall close off the current entrance at the corner of School Lane because it is too dangerous and move it further up the road where there is improved visibility and we will provide a second entrance to the pond from the path near Brook Cottage at Carters Meadow.
The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust completed a survey of the Bentley pond on 13th July 2018, to review this information, please click here. Please click here to review the survey about the habitats that live in Bentley pond completed in March 2019. Please click here to review the survey about crested newts that live in Bentley pond completed in March 2019. Please click here to review the survey of habitats that live in the grassland near the pond completed in 2015 by Hampshire Biodiversity. Please click here to review the advisory notes on Great Crested Newt and management of the pond. Please click here to review habitat suitability.
Pond Design -
The design shown below is a guideline of what the new pond area will look like although its not 100% accurate. There will only be three picnic benches which are currently situated at the pond. The two old benches have been removed and the main source of material will be grass for this Biodiversity area. We will add a hard surfacing foot path area from entrance one to connect to the current surfacing so that wheelchair and pushchair users can also access and enjoy the wildlife that the pond has to offer.
Please note that the island in the pond will be removed due to the following reasons that we have been informed by the consultant:
Wildfowl (and fish) are both negative to the health and amount of biodiversity that a pond can support when they are over stocked, because they both eat water plants and their dung makes the pond over-fertile. I believe there may not be fish currently present, as they probably do not like the anoxic conditions (low oxygen levels due to sediment/leaf-litter). I would certainly recommend that fish are not introduced to the pond, as they could breed and their population will grow to the detriment of other wildlife.
However, wildfowl could be controlled to an extent by your suggestion of a small raft, just allowing one pair to breed on the pond (preferably ducks, not geese). It maybe that a small raft with a duck house (small enough to exclude geese) could be installed on the pond from early spring to late summer and removed during the winter period to be cleaned, treated as necessary, allowing it to last longer by removing it during the wet, winter months. Moorhen should breed within any areas of Iris and Reedmace as they naturally establish and I recall I may have seen a pair breeding in the past on the pond.
A recent report in an ecology journal highlighted startling facts that 367 species have been extirpated (locally extinct) from Surrey over the last 200 years (and the rate of species loss does not appear to be decreasing), with 28% of those species associated with wetland systems, the habitat that has suffered the most. The situation is no doubt similar for Hampshire. The loss is largely down to modern agriculture and nutrient enrichment (which fish and wildfowl add too) is a key reason that many once widespread and common aquatic plants are now becoming threatened - e.g. lesser spearwort, a marginal pond plant that I had thought was common, I recently found out is now classed as vulnerable.