At the start of August CROW visited Clayfield Copse to work on the seasonal ponds.
It was a surprise to many of us that there are ponds at Clayfield other than that near the car park. In fact there are a number but it is unclear whether they were deliberately created, a byproduct of other human activity or are natural. The majority of ponds are the result of human intervention.
We concentrated our efforts on two of the ponds first clearing any litter (plastic bags, bottles, etc.) before cutting back some of the overhanging branches to allow in more light. The cut branches were stacked nearby to form habitat piles.
Although now dry, earlier in the year the ponds were filled with water and contained signs of life, including possibly newts. We are confident that when they refill in autumn, life will return.
As with all conservation activities at Clayfield Copse, the work was carried out with advice and guidance from Reading Borough Council's Parks Department.
Whilst overhanging branches are an obvious feature of woodland ponds, allowing in more light to some of them will create a greater variety of habitats and hopefully of inhabitants.
In addition to removing the overhanging branches, at the second pond we also raked back some of the leaf litter before digging out soil (heavy clay) from the bed to increase the depth over about a quarter of its area by between 30 and 45cm.
As ever, many thanks to all our volunteers for the day: Caroline, Dave, Dawn, John, Judith, Jules, Mike, Phil, Ricki, Roger, Shirley and Alan. Also to be remembered are Margaret who paid us a visit and the wasps who decided to attack Phil.
After the recent rain our efforts to deepen one of the ponds at Clayfield appears to be paying off as it is starting to fill with water. Also of note are the tree trunk and branches which have returned despite our efforts to clear the area.
What appears to be a hosepipe apparently snaking away to the bottom right of the picture is perhaps best not mentioned.
Our thanks to Judith for this update.