Construction men

On yesterday’s cold, frosty but bright Saturday morning our four hardy volunteers gathered together and put in place the new planks and base for the western jetty. Thank goodness we weren’t planning to do the work today! Snow, snow, thick thick snow.

We encountered a few problems along the way but great teamwork overcame them and the jetty took shape. A little work remains to be done to complete the base and we’ll fine tune as things settle.

All in all a good job well done, thank you very much to our volunteers.



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Removal men

This morning we removed the old planks and beams from the western jetty and prepared for the new base on the bank.

On Saturday we’ll put in place the new base and the new planks and beams.

Thank you very much to our volunteers who worked hard and stayed reasonably dry until the great downpour just before their work was completed!

And a big thank you too to the Biddenham Show Committee for their generous grant towards the cost of the repairs.

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Your village needs you!

Developers are planning a massive 300 house development on a large area of agricultural land off Gold Lane, completely surrounding Duck End Lane. What is more, they aim to push ahead for outline planning permission very soon and before approval of the Borough Council’s Local Plan to 2035.

With the active support of the Biddenham Society, the Parish Council is leading the opposition to this proposal, which will be the subject of an exhibition by the developers in the Church Barn on Tuesday, 21 November, next week, between 1.30 pm and 7.00 pm. The Parish Council and Biddenham Society hope as many villagers as possible will be able to visit the exhibition to express their concern directly to the developers at this attack on the village’s heritage and open green space with its rural views, acting as a buffer between Biddenham and Bromham.

During the Local Plan consultation process, the Friends of the Biddenham Village pond expressed its concern at any development of land off Gold Lane which would have a significant and substantial practical and aesthetic impact on our historic village pond.

It would threaten the pond’s 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 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.

Biddenham is a historic village distinct from the urban area of Bedford, even though the Borough Council now chooses to regard it as part of the urban area, and has striven to retain its rural character and environment. The current substantial development proposal threatens all that.

Following the Local Plan consultation process, the Borough Council rejected most of the sites in Biddenham put forward by developers for building on. The main exception was an area of land bounded by Gold Lane to the east, Bromham Road to the north, and Duck End Lane to the south on which it was suggested some 160 houses might be built.

The proposal now put forward by developers, in advance of approval of the Local Plan to 2035, is for many more houses – 300 – on a much more extensive area of land, which would see a natural open landscape disappear forever, transmogrified into a built landscape. Which is why your village needs you to help ensure that the village’s heritage, environment, rural character and green open spaces are preserved for future generations.

Please tell neighbours and friends who may not be aware of this threat to the village or of the exhibition on Tuesday, 21 November. Thank you.


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Autumn work morning

We should want more rain as there is so little water in the pond, and we do, but not on a work morning.

We woke to rain but happily the sky cleared and our 11 enthusiastic, energetic and hard working volunteers beavered away cutting, trimming, pruning, mowing, tidying, and did a grand job putting the site in good order for the Winter.

Thank you so much to them and to the Manor Hospital for the welcome refreshments.

We did break at eleven o’clock for two minutes silence to remember those who have fought and given their lives for us.

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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.

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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.

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