Getting stuck in
Anyone visiting the ponds near The Old Beams in Shenley Lodge recently will have seen a tremendous change taking place.
For a long time, these ponds have been degraded, suffering from a combination of overshading and the build-up of leaflitter, which has reduced their ability to hold water and support aquatic vegetation.
As part of our ongoing programme of community projects, we have made the first big strides to restoring them to health.
This ambitious project has been pioneered by Wayne Palmer, the Parish Council’s Environmental Services Manager, bringing together Milton Keynes City Council (MKCC), the Newt Conservation Partnership, parish and ward councillors and of course local residents to begin this transformation.
The strategy for this project includes:
- reinstating a scheme of coppicing and pollarding of the surrounding willows
- using reclaimed timber from the site to create hibernacula (safe places for creatures to hibernate in) and habitat piles in the area of grassland to the west of the ponds.
- minor excavation of the accumulated leaf litter in the pond basins
- clearing water inlets to allow a steady flow into the ponds
- restoring the boardwalks and bridge near the ponds
The ultimate goal is to restore the ponds to health. Great crested newts, a protected species, are known to be on site, albeit in dwindling numbers, and these works will improve the habitat quality for newts and support the re-establishment of a thriving population.
Wayne fully intends for this to be a continuing community project which we as a parish can undertake every year to improve the site.
In the short term, MKCC will continue to work on the ponds, and the Newt Conservation Partnership will keep us updated on how our combined efforts are helping the area’s wildlife. We are also hopeful that we will be able to collaborate on other newt-friendly sites in the future.
We are proud of the work by our Environment & Landscape Team, parish councillors and the members of the local community who turned out to help.
Find out more about the Newt Conservation Partnership and Milton Keynes City Council’s environmental programmes, or click here to keep up to date with our forthcoming Community Projects.