Wellsprings Pond

The idea of the Wellsprings project was initiated by the Parish Council in 2005 following an SODC report on the Brightwell cum Sotwell Conservation Area. Independent assessment led to developing a management plan which aimed to return the pond and its surroundings to a more natural state, taking into account the need, particularly of the residents, to maintain the area in good order with a visually attractive appearance. The Plan was agreed by the Parish Council, the Wellsprings Residents and the Environment Group

The Wellsprings Pond is a widened channel where several springs emerge, the water being retained by a low stone dam. Surface runoff is brought to the Pond from Bell Lane by a ditch and when the water table is high, water gushes from springs in the slope above the Pond. The outflow from the Pond travels down the stream to a point opposite the Red Lion where it enters a culvert that takes it along the north side of Brightwell Street to emerge opposite Brightwell Garage.

Before the village had a piped water supply in 1949 and mains drainage in 1958, the Pond and its stream would have been a source of supply for some villagers and a means for disposing of waste. Analysis of the water content by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) Wallingford showed it to be slightly alkaline and low in phosphate. The British Geological Society (BGS) Wallingford found that the water was a mixture of two-thirds modern water (the last few years) with older water (more than 50 years).

Work started in January 2006 with a contractor employed to improve the shape of the pond to give a more gradual slope and to modify the ditch with a meander and silt traps to prevent silt from building up in the pond. Planting in and around the pond involved sowing grass and wildflower seeds as well as planting plugs, such as of yellow flag and marsh marigold. Native species of shrubs including spindle, wayfarer and guilder rose were planted alongside the footpath providing a thicket for birds and other wildlife.

The Wellsprings residents continue the careful management of the habitat of the Wellsprings: monitoring of the flora and fauna around the pond is carried out by the Environment Group.