As part of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2010-11 we were able to rebuild and extend our two wildlife ponds in the garden.
The first stage involved a hired digger which created the necessary big hole, after which we organised a work day in which a large team of our members worked from 10am to dusk
• lining the base with sand
• covering that with fabric to prevent a puncture of the liner
• and positioning the liner
Then we stepped back waiting for the rain, which had fallen heavily all winter. Instead we had a drought which went on so long there was a danger that the liner would be damaged by exposure to too much sunlight.
Wessex Water and Bath’s firefighters came to our rescue, taking water from a hydrant in Marlborough Lane, about 300 metres away, and piping it to fill the pond with 50,000 litres of water.
Subsequently we built a platform for pond-dipping and the local wildlife did the rest.
Now the pond contains frogs, newts, dragonfly larvae, and all the varied life of a truly wild pond. There are no fish, because they would destroy the balance. Visitors to the pond have included mallards and even a kingfisher, as well as lots of dragonflies and damselflies throughout the summer.
So far we have had no evidence that the otters living in the river have found us, though a very large mature male was killed in the road in December 2013.
The second, smaller pond was a much simpler job to create but because it was planted with over-vigorous marginal plants it has become very overgrown. Yet another task to be embraced.