Skipwith Common Sept2022 4699

English Ponds

What we are doing to ensure English Ponds will be here for the next generation, recently undertaking a programme of enhancing some of our existing ponds.

This year to celebrate International Earth Day (22nd April 2020) here at Escrick we are working hard to maintain and improve a number of environmental areas, one of which being ponds. Keep reading to find out more!

Pond; an area of water smaller than a lake that holds still, fresh water. Some ponds are formed naturally, filled either by an underwater spring, or by rainwater – sometimes referred to as Dewponds. Here at Escrick Park we are fortunate to have an abundance of ponds, both natural and man-made. The benefits are far reaching, not only to encourage wildlife and amphibians but to help with field drainage and ditch management and flood control.

We have recently undertaken a programme of enhancing some of our existing ponds. This work is being done extremely carefully, so as not to disturb the existing plant life and amphibians that already call this home. Sometimes this means putting waders on and carefully walking through the water hand pulling reeds and invasive plants. At our Menagerie commercial site, we have done just this, to help make coming to work, that bit more enjoyable, click here if you are looking to relocate offices.

Constant management of the plant life is key so that the water does not get smothered with weeds. One example where we are beginning to see the fruits of our labour is just outside Escrick village at a site called Reed Ponds. Having removed some of the over hanging trees and planted a wildflower mix around the site we are already starting to see the benefits.

We have also had a major enhancement of our ‘Duck Decoy’ pond just off the Skipwith Road. This work was undertaken with the help of Natural England to recreate the area to the glory of its original design dating back to the 1860s. A duck decoy ponds purpose was traditionally used to lure ducks and enable capture of wild ducks. However, these days, it is used for school visits and educational purposes.

Most of our other ponds are very well stocked with fish and regularly attract dragonflies, wild fowl, newts, frogs, and toads. We even have a regular pair of Oystercatchers who return to nest every year on two separate sites.

A fantastic example of where a totally new pond can draw in wild life is at The Three Hagges Wood, where a new pond has been created in a natural dip in the field.  The clay soil acts as a natural bund and allows for seasonal fluctuations in water height to aid multiple different species. As with everything at Hagges Wood, this is to support a diversity of wildlife, flora, fauna, amphibians and insects and we are very excited to see how this develops over spring and summer 2020.

The most recent pond addition is next to the site for the new café, due to open later this year. Make sure you stop by grab a coffee and see what wildlife you can see!

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