A weed-clogged dewpond, first established at Seaford Head in the late 19th century, has now been restored as a haven for wildlife.
Local volunteers from the Seaford Natural History Society, with support from Seaford Town Council and South Downs National Park, clocked up over 500 hours from May 2022, to reinstate the biodiversity value of the pond.
A grant from the Volunteer Conservation Fund (VCF) allowed the willing locals to improve the fencing, buy tools and safety equipment.
The real hard work involved extracting and controlling invasive weeds – New Zealand stonecrop and parrot’s feather – which had taken over the pond.
The edges of the pond were then revealed, cleared of bramble and coarse grasses and a new surrounding path created.
With help from conservation charity Froglife, the busy teams created two hibernacula, as winter shelters for reptiles and amphibians visiting the pond.
Now, almost half the surface area is open water, where just a few months ago none existed. The pond is now providing fresh water for birds and grass snakes.
A recent wildlife survey at the dewpond recorded over 200 species, including the rare lesser emperor dragonfly nymph, which is the first UK record of its breeding.
The volunteers have formed a Friends Group to continue the pond management and further development, which will extend the ongoing benefits to local wildlife.
Paul Baker, from the Seaford Natural History Society, said “It is so rewarding to have completed the project successfully, and in particular to see its ongoing legacy, which will continue and expand on the original vision”.
It is so rewarding to have completed the project successfully, and in particular to see its ongoing legacy, which will continue and expand on the original visionPaul Baker from the Seaford Natural History Society
For more information about the Volunteer Conservation Fund please contact the Grants Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org