Looking after Fyne Court's dipping pond

A common hawker dragonfly patrols its territory

Recently Fyne Court's dipping pond has been undergoing a revamp, find out what work has been going on.

What’s going on?

Fyne Court is well known as a great place to go and enjoy a day out pond dipping. It’s the perfect spot to learn about the huge variety of life that calls UK freshwater home.

Recently Fyne Court’s pond has not been looking its usual self; over the years the pond has gradually become overgrown and silted up. The ranger team have allowed this to happen over recent months in order to make the pond less appealing to pond life in preparation for remodelling the pond.

The pond was dug out and profiled to provide a broader range of habitats for different species. Some creatures prefer to live in shallow water, and some in deeper water, with the deeper areas also providing a refuge for overwintering animals if the margins of the pond freeze over.

The pond restoration in progress
The pond restoration in progress

What have we been doing?

As well as making the pond more varied, we've created a new pond dipping platform. The platform comes complete with built in identification aids, wheelchair access and enough room to accommodate large groups of visitors. This replaces our existing, smaller dipping platforms that had limited access to the water.

New native plants have been planted, once established they will improve the area surrounding the pond, planting this space as well as the margins of the pond itself with native species. This in turn will promote pollinating insects; bees, butterflies and hoverflies, all of which will provide food for larger predators such as dragonflies and birds.

What will I be able to see and when?

The main works are now complete, though the new plants are still fragile, so please refrain from dipping for pond-life just yet.. However, these plants will establish over the course of next year, and it is likely that aquatic invertebrates will begin to arrive far earlier (dragonflies were being seen the day the digging works were completed!) 

In the next few months amphibians should return to the pond, so you can look out for frogs, toads and newts. As of spring, insects will begin laying eggs in the pond, so young dragonfly, damselfly and diving beetle nymphs should begin to arrive. Adult insects such as water boatmen and pond skaters will be present too. 

New bridge by the dipping pond at Fyne Court
New bridge by the dipping pond at Fyne Court

By next summer the area will be heaving with insects, the pond will contain feathery gilled newt tadpoles and grey wagtails will be feeding on the bonanza of life.

Ponds are great indicators of the health of our natural places, containing species that point to the quality of our water, highlighting issues with soil erosion, and allowing plants and animals to thrive that form the base of a huge and complex food web. We must always remember that the majestic birds of prey and the songbirds that act as our natural springtime orchestra would not exist were it not for (among others) the humble mayflies and caddis flies that call our ponds home.

The new pond dipping platform at Fyne Court
The new pond dipping platform at Fyne Court