Derby City Pond Warden Association - Spring/Summer 2017

Pond Dipping Advice

The best time for pond dipping is between the months of May and August, when the aquatic invertebrates are at their most active and the amphibians, such as frogs, toads and newts, have completed their breeding cycle. It is also the best time to view the aquatic plants when they are out in flower, thereby making them easier to identify.


Chaddesden Park - Main Pond Liner

It was concluded that some damage to the butyl liner on the main pond had taken place and it was agreed we would monitor the levels and see whether the damage could be located at times of low water levels during the summer. Unfortunately, the tear(s) in the liner could not be located, so we took the decision to apply for a grant to replace it. Our last newsletter explained how we had just learnt that we had been unsuccessful with a grant application of £1,250 made to the University of Derby Community Fund. We then agreed to explore the Tesco Bags of Help Community Fund in 2017, which DCC Parks have subsequently taken the lead on for legal reasons and we await the outcome of their application.

Little Eaton Gardening Club

Following a request from the Chairperson of the Little Eaton Gardening Club, Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson provided a one hour presentation to members on “Ponds through the Year - a Derby City Perspective” on the evening of 4th January 2017. About 30 members were present, the presentation was well received with a good Q&A session, and DCPWA were pleased to receive a £40 donation for their efforts.

Dale Road (Spondon) Ponds Maintenance

Mike Bardill, Derek Golson and Trevor Taylor (DWT) undertook a survey of three Spondon ponds on 21st January 2017 to determine their maintenance requirements.

Following a request from Mike Bardill (local Pond Warden) for help to remove some invasive plants, ten volunteers from Derby Parks Volunteers (DPV) spent a whole day on 31st January 2017 clearing both ponds at Dale Road Park in Spondon.

The work plan on the New Pond included

  1. Removal of strands of Crassula (invasive) spotted around most of the pond fringes. These need to be aggressively dug out by spade and buried elsewhere.
  1. Removal of Curly Waterweed (invasive) on fringes (being careful to retain Mares Tail and Water Cress).
  2. Thinning the Bullrush (Typha), to leave only a couple of plants.
  3. Remove all of the small willow trees around the fringes, ensuring root structures are dug out.

The work plan on the Old Pond included:

  1. Removal of strands of Crassula (invasive) spotted around most of the pond fringes. These need to be aggressively dug out by spade and buried elsewhere.
  2. Thinning the Bullrush (Typha) in the pond centre, to leave only a couple of plants
  3. Removal of the small willow and alder trees around the fringes, ensuring root structure is dug out.
  4. Removal of the bicycle, wooden branches and plastic thrown into the pond.
Dale Road New Pond

New Pond after Maintenance

Dale Road Old Pond

Old Pond after Maintenance

West Park Meadow (Spondon) Maintenance on 1st February 2017

Following a request from Mike Bardill (local Pond Warden) for help to remove large stands of glyceria plants at either end of this large pond, volunteers from Derby Parks Volunteers (DPV) spent a whole day clearing the vegetation to help the re-growth of the uncommon Water Crowfoot in the clear water.

West Park Meadow - Before


West Park Meadow - After


New Pond for Mackworth

DCPWA were asked if they could help Derby City Council Parks Dept with plans to create a new pond on the open space between Prince Charles Avenue and the A52. Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson met with Sarah Webster on-site on 20th October 2016 to discuss the problem with travellers and the proposed solution comprising creation of a natural pond and tree planting.

A second meeting with a representative of Severn Trent Water (STW) to look at any conflicts with the proposed pond site and existing underground water pipes, scheduled for 14th December 2016, had to be postponed. A re-scheduled meeting was held on 13th February 2017, this time with the STW contractor tasked to actually excavate the pond. However, it was still unclear where the run of underground pipes were on the site.

In May 2017, we finally found out that the main gas supply ran directly under the proposed location of the pond. As there was no viable alternative position for the pond on the site, we regretfully had to abandon plans to create one.

Mackworth Pond Survey

Surveying the site

Mackworth Pond Proposal

Proposed pond location

New Pond for Darley Barn

Darley Park has no pond, and the area outside the Darley Barn Outdoor Centre has long been earmarked for one. However, a requirement for one had to be approved by its inclusion in the Darley Park Conservation Management Plan and approval by Derby City Council Parks. Funding would be sought through a DerwentWise application by DCPWA.

DCPWA arranged a meeting of interested parties, comprising DCC Parks, the Outdoor Centre Management Team, FoDOS and DWT, at the Outdoor Centre on 13th March 2017. The Outdoor Centre were opposed to the initial location as it was earmarked for a floodlit sports court. DWT proposed an alternative location close-by, but this required Severn Trent Water approval as there were a number of inspection chambers in the area. DCC Parks subsequently identified that a number of underground pipes made this location unviable. As there was no other viable pond site due to flood plain issues, the proposal for a new pond on this site had to be abandoned.

Amphibian Surveys

Trevor Taylor (DWT) and Derek Golson (DCPWA) undertook their annual amphibian surveys under torchlight at an undisclosed site on the evening of 20th March 2017. The surveys identified a total of seven Great Crested Newts, of which five were males. The pond was in an excellent condition and the numbers of these protected species were as high as it had ever been recorded in the past.

Another undisclosed site was surveyed on the evening of Sunday, 23rd April 2017, which revealed a total of 21 Great Crested Newts amongst four different ponds. Once again, their numbers were equatable with findings over previous years, so there has been no decline in numbers at either site.

New "Pond" at Brindley Park, Allenton Development

Brindley Park is a new housing development by Redrow Homes in the Allenton area, close to the Chellaston Brickworks LNR. As part of their design for the site, a balancing pond was included to take rainfall off roads and pathways. The images below illustrate the design, which can hardly be classified as wildlife-friendly, and may be common in future housing developments.

Allenton Input


Allenton Overflow


New Pond at Aston Brickyard Plantation

DCPWA (Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson) were invited by members of the Aston Brickyard Plantation to review the recent construction of a lined pond on the site, and to make recommendations for “planting up”. An on-site review occurred on 9th May 2017, options provided which have resulted in a Million Ponds natural colonisation approach being adopted.

Aston North

Looking North

Aston Entrance

Towards Entrance

Cubs Pond Dip at West Park Meadow on 10th May 2017

DCPWA were pleased to be asked to host a repeat pond-dipping session for the Wedon Cub Pack from Spondon. DCPWA representatives in the form of Maggie Cooper, George Daly, Paul Foskett and Derek Golson ran the 90-minute event for 24 boys and girls, aged 8-10 years old. Paul Foskett led the tree and leaf identification session for half of the group, whilst the other volunteers undertook pond-dipping sessions for the other half over two 45-minute periods.

Invertebrates and amphibians caught were Dragonfly Larvae, Damselfly Larvae, Smooth Newlets (very young and hence small), Water Scorpion, Hoglouse, Freshwater Shrimp, Mayfly Larvae, Midge Larvae, Red Worm, Ramshorn Snail, Beetle and Tadpoles. A donation of £25 was gratefully received by DCPWA for its efforts.

Day of Pondomania at Sinfin Moor Park on 14th May 2017

John Bland (our local Pond Warden), Pat Sear, Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson were the DCPWA volunteers at this year's annual Day of Pondomania; the 11th consecutive year.

Pondomania - Pat

Pat Sear with Dippers

Pondomania - John

John Bland at Question Time

A dry spell leading up to the event had resulted in the water levels being lower than normal, resulting in muddy fringes to be negotiated before clear water could be found. Despite the warm weather on the actual day, visitor numbers were disappointing at around 26 persons of which approximately half were children. On offer were numerous Caddis Larvae, Freshwater Shrimp, Hoglouse, Pond Snails, Red Worm and a Beetle Larvae eating a poor Tadpole.


Tadpoles by the score

Caddis Larvae

Caddis Larvae

FoAP Pond Dip at Allestree Park on 21st May 2017

The annual Pond Dip at the Turtle Pond at Allestree was a great success again this year. The session ran from 1pm until 4pm, but people started arriving well before as we were setting up. The pond was looking great, with lots of emerging plants as well as the water lilies and pondweed to give shelter to all our beasties.

Thanks to DCPWA, we were well equipped with nets and trays and ID charts,although FOAP had bought extra nets to cope with our usual large numbers. The power of social media and Portway schools’ networking ability made it our largest event yet, as we counted over 80 people around the pond at one time and think the total for the day was over 150. The ice cream van did a brilliant trade.

The main attraction, as always, was the number of tadpoles it was possible to collect in one tray, not many were developing leg buds at that stage but lots of excitement in catching them. The more experienced dippers were looking for newts and dragonfly nymphs and we were fortunate to get plenty of newts with some beautiful male smooth newts displaying crests and markings. Dragonfly nymphs were not so plentiful this year, although there were a few broad-bodied chasers but none flying or emerging on the day.

Snails and leeches, water boatmen and surprisingly a caddis larvae were among the other finds. A few fish were caught but there seem fewer this year, perhaps the heron has been busy which is good. No beetles sadly, but pond skaters, hoglouse and freshwater shrimp made up the catch.

It was a great session and much enjoyed by all our visitors. The FOAP volunteers did a great job, thanks to Bill Grange and Steve Plant for the identification and photography skills also Felicity, Edwin and Monica . We were all truly exhausted by the end but with only one and a half wet children by the end, a good day.

Pond Dippers

No Room for more Dippers!

Turtle Pond

Hello; I live in the Turtle Pond!

FoLP Pond Dip at Sunnydale Park on 6-9th June 2017

The Friends of Littleover Parks (FoLP), led by Roger Miller as our local Pond Warden, held their annual series of pond dipping sessions with Year 4 pupils of Gayton Primary School. This was to link in with their curriculum studies on Habitats. In all of our pond dipping sessions, the basic skills were shown and guidance issued.

Reminders were given of the correct period for pond dipping, so as to not disrupt the breeding life-cycles. The sessions were particularly successful with many species identified. Smooth newts seem to be making a come back - many small examples were found. Sticklebacks, water scorpion, water boatmen, mayfly and damselfly nymphs, freshwater shrimps were some of the species that the children found. The children were encouraged to identify them for themselves using the ID charts.

Pond Survey Training at West Park Meadow on 17th June 2017

Trevor Taylor led our annual PSYM survey training again, with the pond at West Park Meadow in Spondon being the host for this year. The PSYM score derived was 39%; a significant drop from the 72% recorded last time around in 2010. Examination of the reasons show that we have lost Marsh Foxtail, Hard Rush, Greater Spearwort, Celery-leafed Buttercup and Common Water-crowfoot in aquatic plants and gained no new ones. For invertebrates, we did not find larvae or exuvia of Banded Demoiselle or Four-spotted Chaser, even though we saw both flying (albeit the chaser was Broad-bodied), Water Skater, Mayfly or Pond Snails. The Scavenger Beetle seen in 2010 was replaced by a Diving Beetle larvae.

A pond dip with a local beaver/cub group earlier on 10th May 2017 did catch Dragonfly Larvae, Mayfly Larvae and Water Scorpion which, if added to the field sheets, would lift the PSYM score back up to 50%.

It was difficult to understand the actual reasons for the decline in the PSYM score over the last seven years, as the water levels were good and its quality still good. The only recommendation for the winter maintenance programme was the thinning out of the Broadleafed Pondweed to create more open water spaces.

Cubs Pond Dip at West Park Meadow on 20th June 2017

DCPWA were pleased to be asked to host a repeat pond-dipping session for the Mars Cub Pack from Spondon. DCPWA representatives in the form Anne Morgan, Pat Sear, Maggie Cooper, George Daly, Paul Foskett and Derek Golson ran the 90-minute event for 36 boys and girls, aged 8-10 years old. David Hayes from the local LNR friends group led the tree and leaf identification session for half of the group, whilst the DCPWA volunteers undertook pond-dipping sessions for the other half, over two 45-minute periods.

Invertebrates and amphibians caught were rather limited and comprised Diving Beetle Larvae, Hoglouse, Freshwater Shrimp, Red Worm, Leech, Pea Mussel, Ramshorn Snail and small Froglets (mostly out of the pond in the grass fringes). A donation of £25 was gratefully received by DCPWA for its efforts.

Bits & Pieces

Derek Golson was a local Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) Co-Ordinator in the Porters Lane area of Oakwood until the end of 2016. When he heard that there were problems recruiting new Committee members in May 2017 and that it was likely to close, he submitted a bid for some of the residual funds to help fund the maintenance of the local pond (for which he is the Pond Warden). The retiring NHW Committee subsequently provided DCPWA with a grant of £200, which has been ring-fenced for use only on the Porters Lane (Oakwood) pond. It is planned to use this for DPV maintenance work when the local residents, who presently maintain the pond, find the work required too labour intensive.

After eleven years since the formation of DCPWA back in 2006, your Secretary (Maggie Cooper) and Chairman (Derek Golson) will not be standing for these positions in 2018, primarily as they both want to spend more “them” time in retirement. An email has already been sent to DCPWA members outlining their joint responsibilities in the hope that nominations for replacements materialise. However, if this proves fruitless, we would welcome nominations from outside of DCPWA. Please contact us through email , or telephone 01332-830657. Both Maggie and Derek will be staying on as Pond Wardens, so any handover to a new management team should be relatively easy.

Pond Warden Vacancies

DCPWA presently have a vacancy for a Pond Warden at Alvaston Park and Chellaston Brickworks.

The role of a Pond Warden is a voluntary one and aspects of the job can be found on the DCPWA web site ( Please contact DCPWA at , or telephone 01332-830657, for more information.

Want to join DCPWA?

Contact Derek Golson (Chairman) or Maggie Cooper (Secretary) on 01332-830657, or by email at , if you want further details on adopting a pond. Our programme for 2016 is now agreed and covers our quarterly meeting for Pond Wardens, when we will be pleased to welcome any new people interested in joining DCPWA.

A permanent venue for future meetings has been agreed by courtesy of the University of Derby Meetings will continue to commence at 19:00 hours and further details can be found on the Events tab of the DCPWA web site, which is located at

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