South Pond improvement works scheduled

The second round of work to improve the biodiversity and appearance of South Pond in Midhurst will start this autumn and winter.

Work will be carried out by contractors Land and Water, appointed by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). The work is being carried out in partnership with Chichester District Council and The South Pond volunteers group.

Work on the site paused because of the nesting season, but work on the next phase of the project will be ready to start in January. Some initial work will be carried out this autumn and winter to prepare for phase two. This will include:

  • Removing individual reed sweet grass growing in raised areas on the north bank. Unfortunately these were planted in error as part of the first phase, which resulted in them blocking the views across the pond. The works carried out will resolve this for residents.
  • On the south bank, netting and posts will be removed, apart from at the edge of the path.
  • Coir rolls on the south bank will also be lifted and re-sited, while alder and other saplings will be removed.

In January, work will take place on the north bank to dredge the remaining silt and rushes from the previously cleared open water cells. Coir rolls will also be repositioned.

Discussions are currently taking place into restocking the site with suitable plants. This work will take place next year, once the site is ready. There will also be ongoing management and maintenance works.

Councillor Roger Barrow, Cabinet Member for Contract Services at Chichester District Council, says: "As well as being a much valued leisure area for the community, South Pond is also a perfect site where we can help increase the amount of wildlife and biodiversity.

"We know there have been some issues in the past with some of the plants spoiling the view across the pond. South Downs National Park Authority has been working with the local community, volunteers and ourselves to come up with a solution to help resolve this.

"We wanted to let people know about the planned works and we will keep people informed along the way. The project will take a while, but we hope the final result will strike a balance between the pond being a haven for wildlife and being a scenic leisure spot for residents and visitors."

Andrew Lee, Director of Countryside and Policy for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: "We want this project to meet the needs of wildlife and the people of Midhurst who love the pond. This will not be immediate, nature takes time to adjust but in due course we can look forward to a place where grandparents enjoy taking their grandchildren out for walk and local school children can discover a variety of wildlife."

This year the South Pond Volunteers Group has been carrying out a wide range of work around the pond, Jubilee Path and the Orchard. This has included installing bat boxes and bird boxes. It also started a monthly bumblebee survey to find out what species of bees visit the area to work out whether more wild flowers need to be planted.

The group is also undertaking a water monitoring project at different sites around the stream and pond as well as removing unwanted weeds and keeping the area free from litter.

The group holds monthly working parties on a Saturday. People can get involved by contacting South Pond Group

Date of Release: 4 October 2017  

Reference: 3752