Longshaw pond restoration project

A moment of peace and tranquillity by the Longshaw Pond in autumn

This October, our ranger team carried out much needed repairs to the Longshaw pond that will make the area not only more pleasant for visitors but will help to encourage and support the wildlife in the area. Read on to discover the history behind the ponds, the work that happened and the benefits of the project.

The pond at Longshaw is a much loved and iconic feature of the Landscape. It is also an important historic feature that is home to an abundance of wildlife and provides an area for much needed peace and calm for visitors.

The fish pond, as it was called on an 1833 map, appears to be the same shape and in the same location as today’s pond. A pier and boat house appeared by 1889, with the pond being used for boating and swimming by the Duke of Rutland and his guests.

Today the pond is an important habitat, it provides a home to many types of wildlife, including newts, ducks and water voles. The work to repair the pond will maintain this valuable habitat, restore the historic feature and ensure it can be enjoyed by our visitors.

An elusive water vole swimming across the pond
An elusive water vole swimming across the pond
An elusive water vole swimming across the pond

Longshaw Lead Ranger Rachel Bennett braved the November downpours recently to check the new repairs to the pond,“The pond is a focal point for visitors, but it’s been leaking for quite a few years,” she said. “This October we’ve been fixing the leak with our contractors, so we hope once the rain stops a bit, the path by the pond will be a lot drier in future.” 


 

Lead Ranger Rachel at Longshaw checking the pond repairs during the heavy rain in November
Lead Ranger Rachel at Longshaw checking the pond repairs during the heavy rain in November
Lead Ranger Rachel at Longshaw checking the pond repairs during the heavy rain in November

The stones lining the clay bank had been collapsing into the pond for years, and repairs had to be carefully carried out to maintain the pond’s archaeology as well as protect the animals that live there, including newts, toads and frogs, damselflies and dragonflies and flocks of mandarin and mallard ducks, among many others.

Before starting the repair work, Rachel and National Trust ecologist colleague Chris Wood had to check all the pond’s amphibian residents had left for their winter homes in nearby mud and log piles. Rachel continues,“If anyone was out walking at dusk in October they’d have seen Chris and me with powerful torches sweeping the pond for two hours looking for frogs, toads and newts,” she said. “We didn’t find any so we knew we could go ahead.”

 

The Longshaw pond before the repairs took place this October
The Longshaw pond before the repairs took place this October
The Longshaw pond before the repairs took place this October

A temporary dam was put in place around a six metre section of wall to carry out the work using the original stones, which took two weeks.“The pond is a really important feature for visitors, particularly for families and people with buggies, and when we said we had to carry out repairs people were really keen to help,” said Rachel.

 

A temporary dam was constructed in order to carry out essential repairs to the leaking pond
A temporary dam was constructed in order to carry out essential repairs to the leaking pond
A temporary dam was constructed in order to carry out essential repairs to the leaking pond

The restoration work to the ponds is now complete and we would like to thank our visitors and supporters who helped to make this project possible, "we’d really like to thank the many people who contributed to our pond repair raffle,” Rachel said. “The raffle raised nearly £3,500 towards the repairs, so the newts, frogs and mandarin ducks - and the runners and walkers who’ve been wading through puddles for years - would like to say thank you too!”
 

The restoration work to the ponds is now complete
The restoration work to the ponds is now complete
The restoration work to the ponds is now complete