Wildlife Trust Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
East Mill, Bridge Foot, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 1XH
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E-mail: enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk

Sinfin Moor Local Nature Reserve

Sinfin Moor Ponds

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
East Mill
DE56 1XH
A report for the Wild About Ponds Project
Prepared by Trevor Taylor
Local Wildlife Sites Officer (Planning)
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

August 2012

Protecting Wildlife for the future

Regisered charity no. 222212
DWT is a company registered in England and Wales
with the Company Number 715675

Sinfin Moor Local Nature Reserve Ponds


Derbyshire Wildlife Trust was commissioned to survey four ponds located within Sinfin Moor Local Nature Reserve as part of the Wild About Ponds Project and provide management recommendations based upon the findings of the survey.

Map 1 shows the location of the ponds. A total of four ponds were present at the time of the survey, all in areas of open grassland within the Local Nature Reserve. One of the ponds (Pond 1) is located within the Local Wildlife Site DE041 Sinfin Moor Lane Meadows whilst the remaining three are within the Local Wildlife Site DE089 Sinfin Moor Park. All four ponds are relatively shallow and are classed as temporary seasonal ponds which dry out for a number of months during the year. The site is under the ownership of Derby City Council and the City Council Parks Department is responsible for site management. A "Friends of" group, known as the Friends of Sinfin Moor Park was formed in 2005 and is actively involved in the management of the site.

Pond 1 is regarded as the most established of the four ponds and was surveyed as part of the 2004/5 Derby City Pond Survey. The survey identified the pond as a significant breeding site for Common Toad, a UK BAP priority species, as well as Common Frog and Smooth Newt.

In the past the pond and surrounding area has been subject to significant abuse in the form of fly-tipping, largely as a result of illegal traveller encampments. It would appear that following the installation of a locked metal barrier and earth bunding, together with the presence of an active Friends of group, such instances of abuse have been noticeably reduced.

Management work has been carried out on Pond 1 on an annual basis since 2005 by members of the Friends of Sinfin Moor Park and members of the Derby City Pond Wardens Association. The work has focussed upon the removal of debris and litter together with the control of Typha and Willows.

Ponds 2, 3 and 4 are located to the north of Sinfin Moor Lane. Pond 4, affectionately referred to as the "doughnut" by locals on account of its shape with an island in the centre, is the newest of the ponds, having been created in June 2009 by BTCV as part of the Sinfin WildWeek organised by Derby City Council's WildDerby project. All of the ponds support smooth newt during the amphibian breeding season.

Of particular interest is the colonisation of ponds 2 and 4 by stonewort during 2010 and the presence of two plants of the Derbyshire Red Data Book species Common Meadow-rue, Thalictrum flavum, in pond 2.

Two further ponds were dug by BTCV during July 2010 but were not included as part of the current survey as they were still under construction at the time of the site visits.

All of the ponds are within an area of public open space which is well used by dog-walkers. As such, all of the ponds suffer to some extent from disturbance by dogs entering the water.

Survey objectives

All of the ponds were surveyed for the presence of breeding amphibians and pond 1 was surveyed using the PSYM methodology in order to determine the overall ecological quality of the pond and compare against the survey information gathered during the 2004/2005 Derby City Pond Survey. It was not possible to carry out PSYM surveys of ponds 2, 3 and 4 as a result of the low water levels at the time of the survey and it was also felt that pond 4 had not had sufficient time to become established. However, management recommendations to enhance the biodiversity value of all the ponds have been proposed.


The survey followed the standard survey methodology known as PSYM developed by Pond Action (now Pond Conservation) and the Environment Agency. PSYM, the Predictive System for Multimetrics, (pronounced sim) was developed to provide a standard method for assessing the biological qualities of still waters in England and Wales.

The method uses a number of aquatic plant and invertebrate measures (known as metrics) which are combined together and fed into a computer model, along with basic environmental and location data, to obtain a single value which represents the waterbody’s overall quality status.

The recommended time of year for carrying out PSYM pond surveys is during June, July and August. Pond 1 was surveyed during June 2010.

The following information was gathered for the pond:

Calculating the pond metrics

The data collected from the surveys are used to calculate three plant metrics and three invertebrate metrics.

1. Number of submerged and emergent plant species

This is simply the number of submerged plant species plus the number of emergent plant species. The calculation does not include the number of floating-leaved species present. This is because the pond data suggest that the number of floating-leaved plants occurring at a site does not decline significantly with increasing degradation. The metric is therefore improved by omitting this plant group.

2. Trophic Ranking Score (TRS)

TRS is a measure of the average trophic rank for the pond. This is calculated by assigning each plant species with a trophic score based on its affinity to waters of a particular nutrient status. The trophic scores vary between 2.5 (dystrophic, i.e. very nutrient poor conditions) and eutrophic, i.e. nutrient rich conditions).

Unfortunately, not all plants have trophic scores. This situation has arisen because the current TRS values for standing waters (Palmer et al., 1992) are based only on analysis of lake data, and many plant species which are common in ponds occurred at too low a frequency in lakes to give them a score. Also, some plant species exhibit little nutrient preference.

The TRS value for a site is calculated as follows:

  1. The trophic scores from each plant species present at the site are summed together.

  2. The summed score is divided by the total number of plant species which have a trophic ranking score to give the TRS.

3. Uncommon Species Index

Uncommon species are those which have a rarity score of 2 or more. The number of these species is simply summed to give the number of uncommon species.

Uncommon species refers to species which can be best described as "local", "nationally scarce" or "Red Data Book". The rarity status values for Scarce and Red Data Book species are based on existing definitions derived from the Red data Books and other authorities. The definition of "local" has been used to define species which are not uniformly common and widespread in Britain: with plants this refers specifically to species recorded from between 100 and 700 10x10 km squares in England, Wales and Scotland.

4. Average Score per Taxon (ASPT)

The ASPT is calculated by summing the BMWP scores for all taxa present at the site and dividing by the total number of BMWP taxa present.

BMWP (Biological Monitoring Working Party) scores are assigned to taxa depending on their known tolerance to organic pollution, a higher score indicating lower tolerance. The scores were defined by Maitland in 1977.

5. Number of dragonfly and alderfly families.

This metric is the sum of the number of dragonfly (Odonata) and alderfly (Megaloptera) families.

6. Number of beetle families

This metric is the sum of the number of beetle (Coleoptera) families present at the site. The metric has a relationship with bank quality as well as water quality.


Pond 1 was surveyed using the PSYM methodology enabling an assessment of its biological quality to be made together with a comparison with other ponds in the area.

The PSYM scores are placed in four categories which reflect the ecological quality of the pond:

0-25% is very poor, 26-50% is poor, 51-75% is fair, and 76-100% is good

Site and sample details

Grid reference: SK 34625 31195

Site Name: Sinfin Moor Pond (Pond 1)

Location: West of Sinfin Moor Lane, Sinfin, Derby

Owner/site access details: Derby City Council - access available

Survey Date: 17th June 2010Surveyors: Trevor Taylor (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Environmental Data

Altitude: (m)42m aslpH:7.54
Shade: % pond overhung:5%% emergent plant cover70%
Inflow (absent = 0, present = 1):0Pond area (m2)1649m2
% of pond margin grazed:0

Pond base: categories into one of three groups; 1=0%-32%, 2=33%-66%, 3=67%-100%

Clay/silt:3Sand, gravel, cobbles:1Bed rock:1

Emergent plantsRarity ScoreTrophic Ranking Score
Carex otrubae, False Fox-sedge1-
Eleocharis palustris, Common Spike-rush1-
Juncus articulatus, Jointed Rush1-
Juncus effusus, Soft Rush1-
Juncus inflexus, Hard Rush1-
Lotus pedunculatus, Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil1-
Lythrum salicaria, Purple-loosestrife1-
Phragmites australis, Common Reed17.3
Schoenoplectus lacustris, Common Club-rush27.7
Solanum dulcamara, Bittersweet110
Sparganium erectum, Branched Bur-reed18.5
Typha latifolia, Bulrush18.5

Number of emergent and submerged species - 12
Number of uncommon species (with a rarity score of 2 or more) - 1

Trophic Ranking Score - 8.4


Group 2 taxa (BMWP: 8)
Lestidae - Damselfly (Emerald Damselfly)
Calopterygidae - Damselfly (Banded Demoiselle)
Aeshnidae - Dragonfly (Emperor Dragonfly)
Libellulidae - Dragonfly (Four-spotted Chaser)

Group 3 taxa (BMWP: 7)
Limniphilidae (Caddis fly, cased)

Group 4 taxa (BMWP: 6)
Gammaridae - Crustacean (Shrimp)
Coenagrionidae - Damselfly (Blue-tailed Damselfly)

Group 5 taxa (BMWP: 5)
Gerridae - Water bug (Water skater)
Notonectidae - Water bug (Greater Water Boatman)
Corixidae - Water bug (Lesser Water Boatman)
Dytiscidae - Water beetle (Diving)
Hydrophilidae - Water beetle (Scavenger)

Group 7 taxa (BMWP: 3)
Lymnaeidae - Snail

Group 8 taxa (BMWP: 2)
Chironomidae - Fly (non-biting midge)

Group 9 taxa (BMWP: 1)
Oligochaeta - True worm

Total No. Of taxa15
Total BMWP Score82
No. OM taxa5
No. Coleopt taxa2

Index of Biotic Integrity (PSYM Score %) = 78.As such the pond would be considered to be in good ecological condition and would meet the criteria as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat as a priority pond. This represents a noticeable increase in ecological condition compared with the survey results in 2004/05 when the pond achieved a PSYM score of 67%.

Purple Loosestrife

The pond supports a range of species including aquatic plants, invertebrates, amphibians and birds and, as such, is of significant nature conservation value. Amongst the twelve plant species recorded during the survey, a small amount of Common Club-rush occurs amongst the Typha at the northern end of the pond. This species, which is considered to be somewhat uncommon particularly within the context of Derby city, appears to have colonised the pond since the 2004/05 survey. A sizeable stand of Common Reed is present on the south-east bank of the pond which also extends out into the grassland and Branched Bur-reed is an occasional emergent species. Clumps of Soft Rush and Hard Rush are frequent in the margins and Purple Loosestrife provides a dazzlingly colourful display during the summer months.

Right: Purple Loosestrife

The uncommon floating-leaved plant, Common Water-crowfoot, was recorded during the 2004/05 surveys but could not be found during recent visits.

The pond supports a good range of aquatic invertebrates including five species of Dragonflies and damselflies. Water Stick Insect and Water Scorpion were not found during the current survey despite being recorded from the site by Bob Merritt in October 2001 along with 50 other species of aquatic invertebrates.

The pond is an important breeding site for common toad, a UK BAP priority species, common frog and smooth newt.

Reed Bunting

A pair of Reed Bunting, displaying behaviour which suggested probable breeding, was recorded in association with the Phragmites reedbed which has developed in the south-east corner of the pond. It is considered that the reedbed is now of sufficient extent to maintain a breeding pair of this UK BAP priority species.

Left: Reed Bunting

Management recommendations - Pond 1

The main ecological issue with regard to the site is the potential domination of the pond by Typha and willow scrub which will result in the loss of areas of open water and accelerate the rate of drying out due to increased water uptake. It is therefore recommended that the current extent of open water (one-third of pond surface) is maintained by the removal of Typha on an annual basis. This should be removed during the period from October to February with all material left on the pond margin for at least 24 hours to allow any invertebrates to recolonise the pond. The material should then be removed to a previously identified area of the site and stored as compost heaps to provide additional habitat. Great care should be taken during the works to avoid removal of Common Club-rush which grows amongst the Typha.

Remove all willow scrub and saplings from the pond margins during the period from October to February in order to prevent any increase in shade level and to minimise the effect of accelerated water loss as a result of uptake by the willows.

The extent of the Phragmites reedbed should be maintained at the current level by monitoring and removal (when necessary) from the pond between the months of October and February. It is recommended that the current extent of the reedbed is not diminished as the habitat would appear to have attained a sufficient size to maintain a breeding pair of Reed Bunting. Consequently, it is important to avoid any disturbance to this area of the pond during the bird breeding season which extends from March to late August.

Remove any litter and debris from the pond on a regular basis taking care to avoid the amphibian breeding season which extends from February to July.


In previous years it has been identified that traffic movements along Sinfin Moor Lane results in the death of large numbers of common toad and common frog each spring as they use the lane to migrate to their breeding ponds. The extent of common toad and common frog mortalities along Sinfin Moor Lane during the annual spring migration to the breeding pond should be monitored. This would entail walking along the length of the lane in the vicinity of the site at times of suitable weather conditions (temperature of above 10oC on damp evenings) during the early spring months of March and April. As the visits take place from just before dusk through to the evening it is essential that risk assessments are undertaken and precautions are taken in accordance with any health and safety concerns, including the wearing of high visibility clothing, erection of temporary warning signs, provision of torches and working in numbers. If it is identified that vehicle movements along the lane present a significant risk to amphibians, consideration should be given to setting up a toad crossing programme to ensure that amphibians reach the breeding pond safely. All records and numbers of amphibians should be passed to the County Amphibian Recorder (Chris Monk).

The threat to migrating amphibians from vehicular traffic may be significantly reduced by the proposed installation of a locked barrier across Sinfin Moor Lane which is scheduled for spring 2011.

Anannual PSYM survey of the pond should be carried out during the months of June, July or August in order to compare the results against baseline information and provide updated information to monitor the effectiveness of any management work and review as necessary.

Pond 2 - SK 34930 31176

Site Visit - 29th June 2010

A very shallow pond with a surface area of approximately 450m2 which, despite being linked to a wet ditch at the southern end, dries out very quickly during the early summer months. At the time of the current survey, the pond held insufficient water to enable a PSYM survey to be carried out. Hawthorn scrub lines the southern bank and a belt of dense Bramble is present on the northern bank. The pond is largely fringed with clumps of Hard Rush and a dense stand of Greater Pond-sedge extends from the ditch into the

pond at its western end. Occasional plants of Meadowsweet and Great Willowherb occur within the sedge stand along with two plants of the Derbyshire Red Data Book plant Common Meadow-rue, Thalictrum flavum, which is classed as locally declining. Clumps of Tufted Hair-grass are prominent on the banks together with occasional plants of Ragged-Robin and False Fox-sedge whilst Jointed Rush and Floating Sweet-grass are frequent emergent species. A small quantity of the floating-leaved Amphibious Bistort occurs at the western end of the pond near its connection with the ditch. The pond had been colonised by a population of stonewort during 2010, the exact species of which is still to be determined.


Left: Stonewort

A torchlight survey undertaken on 29th April 2010 with Derby City Pond Warden Nigel Barker identified the presence of 10 male Smooth Newt and 6 female Smooth Newt. Common Frog was recorded in association with the pond during torchlight surveys undertaken in March 2006.

Management recommendation - Pond 2

Pond 3 - SK 35027 31163

Site Visit - 29th June 2010

A shallow scrape which holds water during the winter and spring periods and covers an area of approximately 268m2 but dries out very quickly during the early summer months. No aquatic vegetation is present within the pond or in the margins but False Fox-sedge, Tufted Hair-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Jointed Rush, Hard Rush, Meadowsweet, and Ragged-Robin are occasional on the banks. Willow scrub is beginning to invade the pond and its surrounds.

A torchlight survey undertaken on 29th April 2010 with Derby City Pond Warden Nigel Barker identified the presence of 5 male Smooth Newt and 3 female Smooth Newt.

Management recommendation - Pond 3

Pond 4 (Doughnut) - SK34920 31161

Site Visit - 29th June 2010

A small pond created by BTCV in June 2009 which features a small vegetated island in the centre. The pond has a surface area of approximately 110m2 and dries out during the summer months despite connection to the adjacent wet ditch system. Small quantities of Hard Rush, False Fox-sedge, Great Willowherb, Jointed Rush and Greater Pond-sedge occur around the margins and Celery-leaved Buttercup grows on the wet mud in the shallow areas. The pond was colonised by a good population of stonewort during 2010.

The pond is located in an exposed position at the side of a well-used path and as such suffers from a lot of disturbance as a result of dogs entering the water.

A torchlight survey undertaken on 29th April 2010 with Derby City Pond Warden Nigel Barker identified the presence of 1 male Smooth Newt and 9 female Smooth Newt. A large diving beetle of the Dytiscidae family was recorded during the torchlight survey.

The pond was slightly deepened by further excavation carried out by BTCV during July 2010.

Pond 4 (Doughnut)

Management recommendation - Pond 4

Sinfin Moor Map