We’ve recently reached an exciting stage in the development of our new pond and wetland system, as part of the Urban Nature Project. We sat down with Louise Simmons, Senior Project Manager, who’s been carefully managing the process from the beginning, to hear more about what’s been happening with our brand-new pond.
Q: Hi Louise! How long have you been working on the pond redevelopment project?
Hi! This has been a long time in the making. The liner of our previous pond had reached the end of its lifespan, so the redevelopment of our gardens for the Urban Nature Project was the perfect opportunity to refresh the whole wetland system, overall we’ve been working towards this for a number of years. We’re now at a really exciting stage, where we’ve completed the structural work for the new pond and started carefully moving flora and fauna into their new home.
Q: What steps have we taken to ensure the existing pond life is protected, and able to thrive in their new environment?
In September last year we successfully moved plants, invertebrates, water, microbes etc into a large temporary pond where they could safely overwinter while their new home was being built. You can read more about the translocation process in our previous blog post.
We’ve also worked really carefully on the designs for the new pond to ensure the wetland area is biologically diverse and a thriving home for urban wildlife. For example, the previous pond was quite dominated by reed beds. Reeds are an important group of pond species, however if given the chance they will quickly take over the habitat, which reduces the chances for other species.
Our new design includes purposeful habitat breaks and steep banks that will hopefully keep the reeds in check and prevent them from taking over. We’ll be planting a range of diverse pond species in the autumn.
Q: What’s your favourite feature of the new pond?
I think that would have to be the new island for birds like coots and moorhens. Our previous pond did have a version of this, but the new one is much more in keeping with the setting. It’s made out of small stones and gravel so will naturally migrate around the pond as the birds make it their home and settle in. This mini island will also act as a refuge for birds from foxes.
Q: The design for the new pond includes accessibility as a key component, can you tell us more about this?
Yes, this is something that was really important to us when designing the new pond. We’ve created a sunken pathway around it that means visitors with limited mobility can easily take part in pond dipping activities without needing to bend down low.
We’ve also improved flow around the pond by creating lots more vantage points so visitors can see and enjoy the pond from all angles.
Accessibility has been a key component in design for the entire gardens. You can read more about that in our blog post.
Q: What’s next for our pond?
We’ve done a small initial stage of planting, where water lilies, reeds and irises from the old pond have been re-planted. We’ll have a much more extensive planting stage this autumn, where our plans to create new diverse habitats will be fully realised.
Our pond and wetland area is being redeveloped as part of the Urban Nature Project, which will see our five-acre gardens transform into a welcoming, accessible and biologically diverse green space in the heart of London. Find out more about our plans for our new gardens.