Stevenage pond restored in community conservation effort

PUBLISHED: 17:28 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:28 12 November 2019

Conservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald Usher

Conservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald Usher

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Conservationists and green space volunteers dusted off their waders last week in an effort to restore a popular Stevenage pond.

Conservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald UsherConservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald Usher

The community initiative - co-ordinated by Stevenage Borough Council and The Conservation Volunteers charity - saw the neglected pond on Symonds Green Common cleared of weeds and industrial debris.

The area - adjoining The Crooked Billet pub - had been recognised by the council as needing restoration after three warm summers had allowed excessive vegetation to build up.

Volunteers also erected leaky dams feeding into the pond, in an effort to slow the flow of silt which runs from the pub car park and A1(M) motorway.

Green Space volunteer Ronald Usher said it was "absolutely fantastic to make a difference, despite being knee deep in mud for most of the day".

Conservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald UsherConservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald Usher

"There were bits of scaffolding and old wood - and weeds which had imposed on 90 per cent of the water," Ron said. "For three days straight, we cleared the weeds out and tried to make it look like our pond again."

North Herts College students also lent a hand, building bird feeders to encourage wildlife to return to the area.

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One third of the pond is to be left covered in vegetation to unlock the potential of the habitat.

Conservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald UsherConservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald Usher

"The aim is to get ducks, moorhens and frogs inhabiting the space again," said Ron - who works full-time as a bus driver in Stevenage.

Another green space volunteer, Peter White, said he hoped the project would "encourage dragonflies to lay their eggs by the pond," and signal "the return of fresh-water shrimp".

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor - who also sported wellies last week - hailed the project.

"Symonds Green Common is a beautiful area of Stevenage," she said. "I am delighted to see members of our Symonds Green community and representatives of our contractors Wates and Mulalley, all working together to restore our lovely pond and create some new wildlife habitats - what a great example of community action."

Conservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald UsherConservationists and volunteers gave the Symonds Green pond some much-needed TLC last week. Picture: Ronald Usher

Green Space is a team of local volunteers who work in collaboration with the council to improve community spaces.

The group undertake a variety of ecological work, including coppicing, bulb planting and pond improvements.

For more information, visit http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/parks-and-open-spaces/71506/

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