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Here is the story of the restoration of Hill Farm Pond. Press HERE to return to the main Parish Land & Rights of Way page.
The earliest recorded evidence of the pond is on the Tithe map of 1841. It is believed to be a dew pond, probably originally used by watering animals, cleaning farm equipment and by passing travellers.
From 2006 up to 2009, a hard working group of volunteers from the village, led by Peter Hopwood, were involved with the restoration of Hill Farm Pond.
The pond had been neglected for many years (see picture right). Ellisfield Parish Council approached Lord Portsmouth for permission to take steps to renovate and rejuvenate the pond that was not only unsightly but appeared to be deteriorating to such an extent that wildlife had deserted the place.
By the end of the year a working party had been set up led by Councillors Cazenove and Hopwood. Their first steps were to invite professionals to survey the area and establish the extent and limitations involved in any restoration works. Reports were received from John Bramley, who had been recommended by Julia Frazer of BCTV and from Amanda Bassett of Hampshire Wildlife Trust. The outcome of the reports was that four surveys would be required before any major works; these would investigate flora, bat, and great crested newt/full invertebrate survey.
It was recommended not to install a path all round the pond, but to clear the area to the south of the pond, directly in front of Hill Farm Cottage.
Cllr Hopwood spoke to BDBC Environmental Health Department and they had agreed to provide a quotation for filling in the grip leading from the road and installing pipes/gullies and a settlement tank to address any toxicity issues associated with water running off from road. Cllr Hopwood undertook to prepare a Management Plan as suggested in reports and complete application forms for grants.
By this time, it had been established that Portsmouth Estates do not appear to own
the pond -
An application was made to the Breathing Places Lottery Fund; this included obtaining an aerial photograph showing the position and condition of the pond. Sadly this application failed as successful projects were to be included in a BBC series and Ellisfield did not meet their diverse criteria.
A survey of all villagers was conducted and overall there seemed to be support for the judicious removal of some of the fallen trees, leaves, brambles and a few young saplings together with lifting the crown/thinning some of the larger trees to allow in more light. A team of volunteers were identified who were prepared to assist with renovation and future maintenance.
Cllr Hopwood approached Hampshire Wildlife and arranged for appropriate surveys to be completed, the results of which did not identify any protected species, so we were given the all clear to proceed with caution; it was recommended that tree works and pond clearing should not start until autumn and that the pond should be cleared over a period of 3 years, clearing one third of the pond each year, to minimise disruption to wildlife
During this time Councillors Cazenove and Hopwood contacted a number of contractors to obtain quotations for the work to remove dead and dying trees and remove silt from the pond. The initial requirement to clear the pond of trees which have fallen into the pond, and to get more light to the pond by removing one or two more trees, and thinning and lifting the crowns. This will require the work of specialists in tree surgery.
Cllr Hopwood formulated a costed plan, for the project and then an application was made to the The Awards for All, Heritage Lottery Fund to request financial support for this project. This application was successful and we were awarded £10,000.
Villagers who had expressed an interest were asked to assist with a clear-
Caroline Cazenove provided refreshments to revive the many perspiring brows. A picture gallery showing some of the many volunteers that took part can be viewed at the bottom of this section.
To reduce the amount of silt running from Green Lane via grips into the pond the Highways Department have built silt traps at the roadside to replace the grips.
A spell of very cold weather firmed the ground and allowed phase two to commence using heavy machinery to remove the fallen trees. The timber was promptly cut and logged to manageable sizes for villagers to collect for firewood. Tree works carried out by Warwick Hawes and Chris Allen and his team; fallen trees removed from pond and dead/dying trees cut down. Crown lifted on large oak tree nearest Green Lane.
The last phase, the shifting of the large accumulation of silt below the pond surface, was then completed. All of the excavated silt was deposited to the rear of the pond area.
Overall, we see this project as an enhancement to the community and the environment, and hope that residents and visitors alike will enjoy this amenity for years to come.
Gallery of pictures from the original clear up in 2008
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