Wind in the willows

The sky was tinted by Saharan dust and gusts of wind from the fringe of former Hurricane, now tropical storm, Ophelia whistled round us this afternoon as we pondered down at the pond on the requirements and materials for repairing the western jetty, hopefully in the next few weeks.

As Ophelia moves away she has failed to help our pond with rainfall, very remiss of her given the current severe shortage of the wet stuff, as the photos show!

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Dates for your 2018 diary

Nothing like planning ahead!  Here are two dates to save in your diary for next year:

  • Saturday, 7 April 2018 – our Spring work morning at the pond; and
  • Sunday, 10 June – our Summer Splash Out and AGM in the afternoon in the Church Barn.

More details nearer the days.

Thank you, and hope to see you then.

Posted in Events, Summer event, Update, Work morning | Tagged , , ,

Biddenham Show 2017

This American signal crayfish was the subject of much interest on our stall in the Village Hall at the Biddenham Show yesterday.

Fear not! Chris didn’t encounter it in our village pond but brought it from Ickwell.

As other species introduced from abroad have also done, this American invader is unfortunately causing massive destruction of our native species.

Thank you for visiting us yesterday at what was, despite the less favourable weather, another enjoyable Show.

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Pond life

There’s a new brood of five little moorhen chicks down at the pond. They scurry away quickly as soon as they spot you, as you can see in the photo of them hurrying to the safety of the reeds.

We’re starting to remove the azolla from the pond tomorrow, although it seems to have been overtaken by duck weed now!

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Azolla away

At its meeting in June the Parish Council kindly agreed a grant to enable us to purchase a robust net to assist in removing the pesky azolla from the pond.

Together with the skimming apparatus created by our volunteers this will help us deal with the azolla without having to wade in the pond during the period of the protected great crested newts breeding activity.

We will be starting the process of removal in July. And looking forward then to the return of reflections in the pond!

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Summer Splash Out and AGM 2017

On a sunny and pleasant though breezy summer’s day, our Summer Splash Out and Friends AGM on Sunday, 11 June was a most enjoyable and well attended occasion. Thank you to everyone for coming along to join us in the Church Barn and for your continuing support for the Biddenham village pond.

We looked back over another busy year for the village pond, including the concluding events in the special programme of events celebrating the pond project’s 30th anniversary, the comments submitted to the Borough Council on the Bedford Local Plan 2035 seeking to safeguard the future of the pond and its wildlife, and impending work to remove from the pond the azolla which had returned with a vengeance this year. You can see the full review of activities tabled at the Splash Out by clicking here – AGM 2017.

There was a slideshow of how we celebrated the 30th anniversary, and Chris Jones showed us wildlife from the pond under the microscope.

Jenny Kimber retired after 12 years as our secretary at the Friends AGM held during the afternoon. The chairman, Peter Applewhite, paid tribute to Jenny’s tremendous and tireless contribution to the work of the Friends and the pond team over those years, and presented her with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the Friends with their thanks.

Paul Godden was nominated and appointed as our new secretary and thereafter the pond management committee was re-elected for a further year, and Andrew Ewing was re-appointed as independent examiner of the accounts.

Our cream tea bakers and makers once again provided a most delicious spread, and were warmly thanked by those present.

Finally, another date for your diary: Saturday, 11 November from 10.00 am to lunchtime, our Autumn work morning at the pond. More details nearer the day on the website, on the Facebook page, in The Loop and on the village notice boards.

Posted in Events, Summer event, The Friends | Tagged , ,

Bedford Local Plan 2035

Bedford Borough Council is preparing a local plan that will set out how much growth there should be in the borough in coming years (housing, jobs and associated infrastructure) and where it should take place. Current planning policy documents look up to 2021 and the new local plan will extend that period up to 2035. It will also include policies that will be used to make decisions on planning applications.

The Council has asked for comments on the consultation paper it has issued about the new plan, together with a number of supporting evidence documents. The consultation period ends on 9 June 2017.

In the Borough Council’s consultation paper an area of land off Gold Lane, Biddenham, and within sites numbered 29 and 691 in the documentation is shown as a potential development area at this stage: that area of land is not immediately adjacent to the village pond. But in a supporting document, the current draft Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA), the whole of the land in sites 29 and 691 is shown as being suitable, available and achievable for development.

Our village pond is not served by streams or springs and relies on precipitation and run off from adjacent fields for its water, and importantly the entire area surrounding the pond is currently wildlife friendly. Developing all the land in sites 29 and 691, particularly the field to the north of and by the side of the village pond, between the pond and Duck End Lane, would have a significant and substantial practical and aesthetic impact on the pond.

It would threaten the pond’s very survival and the survival of the wide range of wildlife it supports, including rare and protected species, by adversely impacting both run off water to the pond and also the pond’s setting in the presently attractive open and wildlife friendly landscape around it, thereby reducing the scope for and ability of wildlife to migrate to and from the pond and thus the opportunity for sustainable healthy breeding through genetic diversity with other populations.

The Friends has submitted comments, in a letter to the Borough Council, concluding that given the need to protect and conserve our natural environment, not least species protected by the law, wildlife corridors, and sites of local importance, and to safeguard the future of the village pond, its wildlife and the open wildlife friendly landscape in which the pond sits, it is seeking:

  • at the very minimum, the removal from the threat of development of the field by the side of and to the north of the pond and its retention as open space, that is to its reassessment and recategorisation as land not suitable, available and achievable for development (as was categorised land to the west of that field at Stage 2 of the availability assessment); and
  • more substantially, the removal from the threat of development of the whole of the land in sites 29 and 691, south of the A4280, and its retention as open space, and similarly therefore its reassessment and recategorisation as land not suitable, available and achievable for development.

Please do support your village pond by writing to the Borough Council’s Planning Department with your comments. You can send your comments by email to planningforthefuture@bedford.gov.uk or by post to:

Local Plan 2035 consultation
Planning Policy Team
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall
Bedford
MK42 9AP

Thank you.

Posted in The Friends, Update, Wildlife | Tagged ,

Spring work morning

What a difference a fine day makes. Mother Nature was kind to us for this year’s Spring work morning and it was a pleasure to work by the pond on such a nice morning. And to see the return at last of the traditional Spring bonfire!

Nine energetic, enthusiastic and well equipped volunteers arrived. They trimmed, they strimmed: they pruned, they mowed: they cleaned, they tidied, leaving the site all the better for their hard work.

A tremendous effort and a great team.

Thank you to all of them and to the Manor Hospital for the welcome refreshments that gave us a mid-morning boost.

Posted in Events, People, Photos, Work morning | Tagged

Pond life

It was a lovely Spring evening tonight, Friday 31 March, perfect for Frog Foraying.

Of course, the frogs didn’t appreciate that so didn’t turn up, and nor did the toads.

But Chris and his three companions exploring the pond by torchlight spotted newts, common and great crested, with ramshorn snails, water boatmen, clouds of daphnia and other little beasties.

We can’t always see it but happily life carries on in the pond.

Thank you to Chris and to those who came a’foraying.

 

 

Posted in Events, Frog foray, People, Photos, Wildlife | Tagged , ,

The sun shines on the …

… reed removers!

Our last session this morning till the Autumn of removing reeds to prevent encroachment across the pond. Now we steer clear to enable the protected great crested newts to do their stuff.

Thank you, Will and David, what a team and a great morning’s work that has left the pond looking all the better for it.

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