As has been previously mentioned, the pond and its surrounds
were designed, planted and thereafter have been managed to
maximize the area for its benefit to the local wildlife.
Down in the Depths!
Back in 1997 there were actually very few plants planted in
the pond and over the years these have expanded, in some cases a
little too well. Some species have also colonized the area
naturally and by accidental introduction by the public. In the
latter instance the most notable plant being Australian Swamp
Stonecrop, which to put it bluntly is a plant you don’t want in
your ponds or lakes under any circumstances as it rapidly takes
over and ultimately deprives the pond life of oxygen, and it
dries out smaller ponds.
Occasionally, as part of the management, the excessive growth
of some plants is removed to prevent a total coverage of the
water body by emergent water plants.
Animal life in the pond took off earlier than expected when a
water beetle landed on the butyl liner while it was actually
being laid. Since then the amount of animal life that has
colonized the pond has been quite astounding. Within a year no
fewer than 15 species of water beetle had turned up as well as
the uncommon Water Stick Insect. Both Greater and Lesser Water
Boatmen are common species found here too.
No animals were deliberately introduced into the pond. This
was so an ecosystem and food chain could develop naturally
through colonization. It is virtually certain that several
species hitched a ride on the plants that were introduced in to
the pond though.
toads, frogs, and Smooth Newts all breed in the pond and can be
seen throughout the year if you know where to look. One
pleasantly surprising colonizer of the area, both pond and
grassland, has been the Grass Snake, because a female has now
successfully raised her young here every year since 2003. This
shows that the pond has a stable amphibian population capable of
supporting this higher predator.
In summer up to 13 species of Dragonflies may be seen, of
which 9 have been seen egg-laying in the pond. They can vary
from the large Broad-bodied Chaser and Emperor Dragonfly to the
smaller Damselflies that include; Large Red, Common Blue, and
Azure. Occasionally you might see something a little less
common such as a Banded Demoiselle or Red-eyed Damselfly.
Growing in the Grassland!
Throughout the year the grassland area is home to a large
array of wildlife. The existing sward structure of the
area was fairly poor when the pond was created. So, again to
encourage as great a diversity of wildlife as possible, a range
of meadow plant species were introduced.
early spring Primroses and Cowslips grace the fresh green grass,
and there then follows a whole succession of species, including
Meadow Cranesbill, Wild Carrot and Ox-eye Daisy, throughout the
summer ending with Field Scabious and Common Toadflax in August.
The many plants in turn have become home, shelter, food, and
a place to breed for many animals. With patience you can find
animals such as: Common Shrew, Sloe Shield Bug, and Grass Snake,
along with numerous species of ants, flies, beetles, bees,
butterflies, moths, and bugs.
In late summer the area abounds with the call of grasshoppers
and crickets. Amongst the common species are two that are
starting to spread through Britain’s grasslands after many years
of having very restricted southeast distributions. These are the
Long-winged Conehead and Roesel’s Bush-cricket and it is
believed that the warmer, later summers that we have had
recently are partly responsible for their spread, because they
mature later in the summer than most species.
VIP – very important pond
All in all Mayford Pond has in its first 10 years become an
important place for the village’s wildlife as it not only
provides habitats for so many species in its own right, but also
for species that are expanding their populations into new areas,
and as a connecting site between other wetland sites in the
The figures below show that at least 472 species have so far
colonized the pond and its surrounds further emphasizing the
area’s importance for wildlife. The links below lead to
more information about the individual group including a table
giving the entire list of observed species.