The pond at Sayers Common was revisited this summer to undertake annual maintenance work. The summer was an extremely hot one and when we returned to maintain the area we found no water in the pond. This is an unusual occurrence and was found to have accelerated the spread of reeds and the integral willow stump growth to a degree that made it appear like a jungle scene. The damp mud and the lack of pond water beneath the blazing sun were obviously ideal conditions for these species to flourish in. This was very disheartening for the maintenance working party and took many weeks of extremely hard work to bring conditions back under control.
An explosion of reed and willow growth faced the volunteer working party.
The root spread on the reeds was considerable and each one we managed to pull up carried a root foot of over half a metre. This was entangled with the surrounding mud which lifted out with it and made it extremely heavy to manhandle. Such was the spread of these reeds which had transformed a beautiful open pond into a reed bed, that we had to resort to chopping them down rather than removing them. This was obviously not a long term solution but at least it returned the area to a semblance of normality in the interim period.
The reeds were cut back to the dry pond base.
The willow stumps were more accessible to cut back their growth as we were able to walk across the mud to them rather than wade through water. This was done as one of the first tasks but such were the favourable growth conditions during this hot spell that by the time we had completed our period of work they needed cutting back again.
All cuttings were manhandled to a central collection point for disposal.
We completed this task and removed the spreading brush around the pond so that it once again looked like the pond that had attracted so much wildlife but we knew that a more permanent solution was required. This is being considered to make it more manageable in future years.
Each visit progressively restored the pond to its previous state but still without the water that was necessary for wildlife to return again.