Abbey Fishponds, 8th May 2021

Today we visited Abbey Fishponds for the first time in over a year. We were met by new Earth Trust warden, Tim - who supervised our session now that Lucy has left for pastures new. Tim, along with Green Gym leader Adrian, outlined the jobs to be done. Foremost was the digging of new ponds in the wetland areas, but there was also an area of grass to the North of the reserve to be scythed and raked and some repairs to be carried out on the woodchip path. A large group was in attendance - ideal since the area is large with plenty of space to spread out. We were pleased to welcome another new member, Eleanor, amongst our number.

We subsequently split into sub-teams of six or fewer and took up our respective positions. The pond diggers were led by Tim to the reedbed area. We were instructed on the locations in which to dig, approximate dimensions required and provided with further information on how to construct the banks at the pond boundaries. The ponds will be fairly temporary in nature (perhaps a couple of years) before they silt up, but will provide valuable habitat for amphibians, insects and other species present on the reserve.

Two ponds were begun in the Northern reedbed area, and later, a third was started in the Southern part of the site. The digging was fairly tough in places due to willow and reed roots just beneath the surface, but certainly within our capabilities.

Meanwhile, Sally and Jim had picked up their scythes and got to work on a grassy area towards the Radley Road. As the grass was cut, so it was raked and pitchforked to habitat piles at the edge of the field.

The final group were involved with shovelling woodchip into wheelbarrows down the far end of the main path and transporting it to those areas most in need of repair. Here the woodchip was emptied and raked out.

Following our coffee break at 11am, some Gymmers took the opportunity to swap roles, while others decided to carry on with their tasks from the first half and see them through to completion.

Great progress was made on all fronts - three ponds completed, a large area scythed and raked and a much woodchip was deposited to repair the path. We had a quick visit from apprentice Earth Trust warden, Beth, before we got going. She was keen to meet us and see what we had been up to all morning and may join us for our next session here, once we decide when that might be!


Welcome to Abbey Fishponds.

Adrian introduces Earth Trust warden, Tim.

The un-scythed grass at the beginning of the session (photo by Margaret).

Graham and Adrian get pond-digging.
Looking out across the reedbed.

Jim pitchforking some grass.

Adrian gets stuck in.

Scyther Sally.

Reflections in one of the larger ponds.

Tim and the two Eleanors on pond-digging detail.

Hawthorn aka the May tree with blossom almost ready to pop.

Carolyn with some woodchip.

Olivia empties the wheelbarrow.

Ursula rakes.

Roger and Rosie put the finishing touches to their pond.

Flooding the finished pond.


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