Restoring the pool at Berrington Hall

Thanks to funding awarded from National Highways under the Environment and Wellbeing Designated fund, we’re able to undertake vital restoration work to the pool at Berrington.

The pool was designed by ‘Capability’ Brown and, along with the parkland and garden, was his final complete estate before his death in 1783. The pool is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the large heronry which nests on the island every year.  

The pool is now in urgent need of restoration; the biodiversity of the pool has been adversely affected over the years due to the spread of reed cover and increase in the silt bed. Large carp have become the dominant fish species and predate on smaller fish which are a key food source for herons. Heron numbers have sadly declined over the last 10 years. It is therefore vital that we intervene now to ensure the survival of the SSSI and the heronry. 

A young heron waits for its mother by the lake
a young heron by the lake
A young heron waits for its mother by the lake

What's happening and when?

This work will take place during autumn 2021; sensitive woodland management will start on 20 September and lake work from mid-October. The project will be finished by early December. Moreton Ride and the lake walk will be closed for the duration of the project to allow the work to take place. 

•    Thinning of trees and shrubs (20 September) around the pool and the woodland in Moreton Ride to provide open canopy and improve water conditions. This will be combined with routine ash dieback clearance; we need to remove many infected trees for safety reasons as there's a potential risk to visitors if the badly infected trees next to footpaths shed limbs and boughs, or even fall as they “die back”. Moreton Ride and the lake walk will therefore be closed until early December.
•    Re-homing carp and restocking of the pool (mid-October), with any smaller, disease-free species being returned to the pool. We will restock with a native mix of smaller fish to support biodiversity and the heronry.
•    The pool will be drained whilst fish are absent to enable desilting works to take place.
•    We will also be removing any collapsed trees or trees that are causing detrimental impact to the stucture of the dam. 

What are we trying to achieve?

•    Enhance the biological integrity of the pool, including the SSSI, and improve habitat for the heronry.
•    Reduce tree cover around the pool to provide more open water conditions and enhance aquatic diversity.
•    Restore the pool and improve water quality through silt control and aquatic plant management.
•    Restore historic views across the landscape.

Thanks to our supporters and funding from National Highways, we're able to restore the 'Capability' Brown designed pool and improve habitat and biodiversity for the resident wildlife. Whilst the restoration work will be disruptive in the short term, the long term benefits are vital for the survival of the SSSI and the heronry. 

For more information, please email us: berrington@nationaltrust.org.uk