The Parish Council, the residents of the Wellsprings and the Environment Group are embarking on a management plan for the Wellsprings pond. This plan has been drawn up by Rod d'Ayala of the Ponds Conservation Trust, which is based in Oxford Brookes University, following extensive discussions.
The idea is to return the pond and its surroundings to a more natural state, but taking into account the need, particularly of the residents, to maintain the area in good order. By following the plan, it is hoped to maximise the wildlife value of the area, while improving and maintaining its visually attractive appearance.
Work is proceeding, possibly with the assistance of a grant from SODC, mainly in three overlapping areas. One is to remove the more obvious garden plants on the road side of the pond and to replace them by reseeding and plug-planting with native plants more typical of pond margins. Another is to move some of the earth from the edge of the pond to make the slope less steep and use the spoil to construct a small bank to stop vehicles backing onto the grassed area. Then there is the attempt to stop the sediment entering the pond from the ditch which carries water from the Wellsprings road, such as by installing sediment traps and making the ditch meander. The planting of some low native flowering and berry-producing shrubs at one place between the road and the pond is another proposal in the plan.
As the work is carried out, there will be a time when the area may look rather bare when the garden plants have been removed and the native plants are still getting established, but this will not be for too long.
One puzzle is why there is so little aquatic vegetation in the pond and so little life. Is it because from time to time ducks invade the pond and eat what is there, or could there be a problem with the quality of the water? The plan aims to increase the pond plants to cover 50% of the area and to take samples of the water for analysis from time to time to understand its composition.
By recording and monitoring the plants and animals and by rotational cutting of the grass and shrubs, it is hoped to enhance the Wellsprings and increase its value to the village as a place of interest and beauty.