An open day on 17 April will provide a great opportunity to explore Mudchute’s fantastic new wetland, with expert guidance from Froglife, the amphibian and reptile conservation charity.
Mudchute’s wildlife pond, in the Lower Field, is well known for its populations of frogs and smooth newts, and pond-dipping has always been a favourite activity for visiting schools. Until recently, the wildlife pond was flanked by a derelict pond with a leaky liner, and a couple of shallow scrapes that only held water in winter. In the autumn of 2013, as part of Froglife’s Dragon Finder project, these were transformed into a series of five ponds, which will greatly improve the habitat for amphibians and other wildlife. Dragon Finder is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the project received additional money from Biffaward. The photo above shows the work in progress. To ensure that schools and other visitors can pond-dip safely, while causing minimal disturbance to wildlife habitats, a dipping platform has been added between two of the ponds, paid for from the Council’s sustainable development budget.
The new ponds are full of water after the wet winter, with two of the ponds currently merged into one (see photo left). Frogs are already spawning in at least one pond. Some planting of aquatic and waterside vegetation, later this spring, will complete the works.
The new ponds are being “launched” at an event on 17 April. Froglife staff will be leading pond-dipping sessions and craft activities for children, as well providing advice on pond management. There will be lots of other things going on during the day, including activities at the farm and an Easter bonnet competition. The event will run from 11am to 3pm. To find out how to get there, see the Mudchute website.
Photos by John Archer