Work is underway restoring the old Holt Pond. This has been is a sorry state for a number of years and funds have recently been secured to  do the job with a welcome donation from the Park’s own volunteer group.

The process has involved getting in a 9 tonne tracked digger to remove the accumulated sediment and rotting vegetation, being careful to leave this close by to help relocate some of the flora and fauna. At this time of year the pond was effectively asleep and the Palmate newts which are one of its key features had yet to return for breeding.

This was originally an old dew pond constructed with a thin layer of clay. The clay was concreted over at a later date and it was this that had broken up causing all the water to drain away. Some 20 tonnes of old concrete was removed and the profile of the pond restored.

Next we added a layer of soft sand, the liner, followed by a protective layer of geo-textile and finally another layer of top-soil. This sandwich of materials will ensure that the pond will hold water for another 40 years and also that the aquatic and marginal vegetation will quickly take hold.

Within a day of starting to add the water the first three newts had arrived. It will be some while before the water level is spot on, in the meantime the volunteers are working hard turning the environs in to a wildlife area starting with a hibernaculum (hibernation home for reptiles) made out of the old concrete.

The area will be fenced off as before and used for wildlife encounter sessions throughout the season.

The Park’s second annual BioBlitz event will take place on the 10th/11th August. This is a 24 hour nature hunt where we try to find as many different species as possible, with over 600 identified last year. It will be interesting to see how many  species will have moved back in to pond site by then.

For more information about this ad other related events see the Park’s web-site on www.hants.gov.uk/qecp

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