The pond on the Common
The pond on Rushmere Common is a natural pond which is fed by drainage water from other parts of the common. The Rushmere landscape is thought to be formed from the edge or end of a glacier during the Ice Age. This has brought a mixture of soils with sand, and layers of flint and clay. The pond formed in the valley that runs across the common and continues through to Foxhall, with the water forming the Mill Stream.
Decades ago, the pond was very much a big puddle surrounded by grass and mud. With natural evolution and continued management, it has become a very important wildlife habitat. The last 10-15 years have seen the management of hedgerows and a fence to help preserve the habitat. Wildlife continues to thrive and the Rushmere Commoners Committee is keen to continue to manage the area in future years.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust
The Suffolk Wildlife Trust have recently visited the pond on the common and have reported it to be in fantastic shape which is great news and very encouraging. Toad and frog’s spawn can currently be seen in the pond (pictures below), and some of them have already released their young. As the pond is not connected to a stream or a river, there shouldn’t be any fish in it. They are a high predator which means they will eat most other things.
The suggestions from the trust for continued management of the pond include:
- Aim to keep a minimum of 25% of open water which requires management of the reeds. The pond currently has about a third. Below is a link to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust website which has some more information regarding ponds with fluctuating water levels.
- Don’t let the saplings take hold and block light or take more water.
- Keep the edges shallow so wildlife can thrive in the shallow water.
- Allow the level of water to naturally fluctuate i.e., recede in the summer and refill with rainwater. Refilling the pond with bore water, which can be affected by human use of fertiliser, pesticide and other chemicals, can alter the balance and encourage more virulent plants such as algae, to thrive.
- Keep a diary over the next few years to record the frequency of the pond drying up, the time of year it dries up and the weather conditions throughout the year. Monitoring the seasonal changes over time will guide us in the management of the pond so it continues to thrive.