Big or small, ponds for all!

Frog c. Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

For this year’s Wild About Gardens challenge, The Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) are calling on people to put in a pond. From mini container ponds to larger sunken ponds, it’s THE garden feature that can make the biggest difference to wildlife.

With much of the UK’s native flora and fauna under threat, often down to habitat loss, Wild About Gardens sees the two charities join forces to raise awareness of the importance of gardens in supporting wildlife and offer tips and advice on how to make them more wildlife-friendly. 

The UK has lost ponds, rivers and streams at a rapid rate and only a small amount of our natural ponds and wetlands remain. Many of these are in poor condition and 13% of freshwater and wetland species are threatened with extinction from Great Britain.*  The loss of these important places – to development, drainage and intensive farming – is linked to a huge decline in wildlife, including frogs and toads, water voles and insects.

In Cheshire, the lesser silver water beetle thrives in several farm’s ponds as well as spawn of the rare natterjack toad appearing within coastal ponds on the Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Red Rocks Nature Reserve

Even our mammals such as the water vole or otter enjoy the benefits of freshwater ponds, where they will eat the young green vegetation from in and around the pool.

Adding a pond – by digging one in your back garden or simply by filling a waterproof container outside your front door – is one of the best ways you can help wildlife and enjoy the benefits of seeing water plants, birds and bees close to home. Digging a pond is great for hedgehogs to have somewhere to drink and for frogs, newts and other amphibians to feed and breed. All ponds – large, small, dug or container – are good news for bats, damselflies, dragonflies, other insects.

Ellie Brodie, Senior Policy Manager at The Wildlife Trusts says:
“It’s such fun to help wildlife with a pocket pond – it needn’t be big. All you need to do is fill an old sink or washing-up bowl with rainwater, plant it up and make sure that wildlife can get in and out – it’s easy! I love watching bright blue damselflies landing on the irises in my pond – they’re so beautiful and it’s great knowing I’m helping local wildlife.”

Helen Bostock, Senior Horticultural Advisor at the RHS says: “Ponds and other water features are an attractive focal point in any garden and are a real haven for wildlife. Even cheap container ponds made from upcycled materials will quickly be colonised by a whole host of creatures and help form a living chain of aquatic habitats across the neighbourhood.”

Cheshire Wildlife Trust are providing pond-tastic inspiration to get gardeners started this year with events for families to enjoy:

  • Enjoy our fabulous Springtime Wildplay at the farm – Come and see what springtime brings to the ponds, hedgerows and meadows, meet our newts and play games at Bickley Hall Farm.
     
  • Discover ponds and dragonflies with Wildplay at the farm on Wednesday 7 August! Come and use a microscope to take a closer look at the creepy crawlies in our pond.
     
  • Come and visit our dragonfly hotspots of Delamere Forest where you will learn how to identify the special insects on this slow-paced walk around the beautiful forest grounds.
     
  • This year Cheshire Wildlife Trust will be at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park from 17 – 21 July 2019  where they’ll be talking to people about why ponds are so important to wildlife, showing you how to make a mini pond in your garden, taking a close up look at pond life and providing some ‘make and take’ activities.”.
     
  • To book or find out more information on our events, please visit our events page

Download Jules Howard’s pond podcast! Jules will be interviewing ecologists and talking ponds for 8 weeks from April 18th. Download the podcast from www.juleshoward.co.uk

Download your free pond toolkit and find more inspiration for making your garden a wildlife haven at www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk.