The following email has been sent to all those who gave in their addresses at the inaugural meeting of FoSTAP on June 10th last year:

Hello,
I’m writing to let you know that at last arrangements have been made to renovate the pond in St Andrews Park. For those of you who are possibly not familiar with its location, it is immediately on your left as you enter the gate at the bottom of Melita Road. The funding was raised at Music-in-the-Park events in the last few years of its existence and currently stands at £13,300. With the demise of Music-in-the-Park, Jo Corke and I, as joint convenors of the Wildlife sub-group of the Friends of St Andrews Park group, have been negotiating with the park manager, Chris Hammond, to try to agree a plan. Some of Chris’s major concerns have been the susceptibility of the pond to vandalism, the danger to the pond lining from dogs and the issue of maintenance. We also had some difficulty in finding a suitable contractor with a good track record of creating/renovating large ponds. It has now been agreed that we will place the contract with Turtle Productions of Stonehouse, Glos. Their website is at www.turtleproductions.co.uk if you would like to know more about them.

The renovation plan will be as follows:

Remove all water (and save it in a bowser where practical), remove stones to council depot, remove plants for composting and remove existing liner.
Radically prune overhanging vegetation
Lay 2” of soft sand on the base
Lay a geotextile membrane on the sand
Lay a 1,0mm thick rubber liner as a single sheet with an anchor trench around the perimeter
Put two further layers of geotextile membrane (at right angles) over the rubber to help protect it
Lay pieces of ‘Terram Erocell’ on top of the membrane. This is a lightweight textile material about 100mm (4”) high. This is a three-dimensional cellular (i.e honeycomb) structure designed to physically confine soil or other material
Infill the cavities of the ‘Erocell’ with low-grade topsoil to a height of 25 – 50mm (1” to 2”) above the ‘Erocell’ and compact it
Lay half lengths of turf around the perimeter of the pond
Install a plain wooden picket (i.e. with gaps between the slats) fence around the pond at a distance of 1m (3’3”) from the water line. This will have a sprung-loaded gate for access
Lay a series of paving slabs, set in cement and sand, leading from the gate to the water’s edge, with different colour paving adjacent to the water
Re-fill the pond and plant marginal/bog plants plus lilies.

It is intended that the grass inside the fence will only be cut annually, thus leaving it to grow naturally for the benefit of wildlife. Turtle Productions have told us that they intend starting work towards the end of April, with the work taking about a week.

Chris Hammond has told us that because of budgetary considerations he would like us to keep a lump sum available for emergencies, maintenance and repairs. We hope that we can keep these costs down by having a rota for interested people to keep an eye on the pond, hopefully on a daily basis. If you would like to be involved in this or the pond in general, please let Jo (Jo.Corke@blueyonder.co.uk) and me know. We could do with more people playing an active part in the Wildlife sub-group of the Friends, so if you’d like to be involved, again, please let us know. Please note that I’ll be on holiday from April 1st to 8th incl.

John Mayne

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Hi John,

I visited the pond with my daughter on Sunday and I thought it looked great. For those who haven't seen it yet - take a look and imagine the planting after a few months growth.

Well done to you and those involved.

Simon
I also spotted one or more newts - were they added as part of the project or did they wander in?
There were 2 youngsters there with their fishing net and a tupperware box, but I gently persuaded them that letting the newts etc live in the pond was better for them and everyone else. I encouraged them to make use of their net that day by fishing out some twigs that had been dropped in.
With the really young ones it will be a balancing act between allowing them to explore whilst preserving the pond.
Have the goldfish gone? I couldn't see them on Sunday. Hope they have, as wildlife and goldfish tend not to mix!

Great pond though - well done!

Des


www.wildmonty.co.uk
Glad to hear that people seem to approve of the renovated pond! When the grass and pond plants grow and spread, it should look even better. We're hoping to add an explanation board later in the year for visitors. Also more plants are being added, including oxygentating ones on the surface water, and more stones will shortly be added at the shallow end.
Jo Corke and I are in the process of setting up a rota for people to keep an eye on the pond, hopefully on a daily basis. If anyone could help out, even if it's only once a week, it would be appreciated. Please email us at jo.corke@blueyonder.co.uk and johnmayne@blueyonder.co.uk

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