Lime Avenue ponds Restoration Project

The Ranger Team will be working hard on the Lime Avenue ponds restoration project for the next few weeks

The restoration of the Lime Avenue ponds in 2017 was a long awaited project to restore a historic piece of landscape. Read on to discover the history behind the ponds and the work that happened.

Project overview

The project began in August 2017, when the Calves Croft area was closed for two weeks to bring in heavy machinery.

Heavy machinery used for the Lime Avenue ponds Restoration project
Heavy machinery used for the Lime Avenue ponds Restoration project
Heavy machinery used for the Lime Avenue ponds Restoration project

The project involved de-silting, removal of recent (c1980's) modifications and re-instating the original watercourse between two ponds along Lime Avenue.

 

Pre-project planning

 

Our Ranger Team spent months carefully planning this project, working closely with an arcaeologist and a team of ecologists. Both were on site throughout the project to provide assistance. The archaeologist oversaw the project and assisted our team where required and the ecologists worked hard to carefully relocate any amphibians in the area to the Hibernaculums, which were constructed by our Ranger Team and the Youth Ranger Group to provide a refuge for a whole host of amphibians, including newts.

Ecologists are working with our Ranger Team to help carefully relocate amphibians to the Hibernaculums
Ecologists are working with our Ranger Team to help carefully relocate amphibians to the Hibernaculums
Ecologists are working with our Ranger Team to help carefully relocate amphibians to the Hibernaculums

Historic development

The pond first shows up on a map in 1740 as one pond. It was described in 1810 as a series of pits alongside the margins of the Lime Avenue.  Lime Avenue was planted in 1670’s and there was a substantial re-planting between 1840 and 1860 and the species of Lime tree was changed  from Common Lime to Large Leaved Lime.

1824 still shown as one pond on the map.

Historic development of the Lime Avenue ponds - 1824 map of Lyme
Historic development of the Lime Avenue ponds - 1824 map of Lyme
Historic development of the Lime Avenue ponds - 1824 map of Lyme

1850 first time it is shown as 2 ponds

Historic development of the Lime Avenue ponds - 1850 map of Lyme

1871 ponds no longer functioning, silted up and overgrown.

1909 ponds fully restored by Thomas Wodehouse the 2nd Lord Newton. At this point the Lime tree were removed and shrubbery was planted including Golden Yew, this was thought to create more of a duck flight pond as part of the hunting estate.

Historic development of the Lime Avenue ponds - 1909 map of Lyme
Historic development of the Lime Avenue ponds - 1909 map of Lyme
Historic development of the Lime Avenue ponds - 1909 map of Lyme

1980’s saw additions to the Lime Avenue ponds which involved a silt trap, a water feature in the dam to reduce stagnation, flagstones to aid visitors and an upper island.

 

Lime Avenue today

Now that the project is complete, the ponds have provided better breeding conditions for newts, dragonflies, damselflies and bats.

Calves Croft and Lime Avenue are open April-October to visitors and dogs on leads. At certain times of year, there will be sheep grazing around Calves Croft (look out for signs at the gates). You can also admire the sighlines and trees of Lime Avenue from the garden.

Lovely to see the upper pond full of water once again
The upper pond full following conservation work to the Lime Avenue
Lovely to see the upper pond full of water once again