Wildlife Trust Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
East Mill, Bridge Foot, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 1XH
Tel: 01773 881188 Fax: 01773 821826
E-mail: enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk

Spondon Gilbert Ponds

Spondon GilbertSpondon Gilbert



Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
East Mill
Bridgefoot
Belper
Derbyshire
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

Spondon Gilbert Ponds

Background

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust was commissioned to survey two small field ponds on land owned by the Spondon Relief in Need Charity in Spondon, Derby as part of the Wild About Ponds Project. The aim of the survey was to obtain up to date information on the ponds in order to provide comparisons with data obtained as part of the 2004/5 Derby City Ponds Survey and to make any appropriate management recommendations

Map 1 shows the location of the ponds which are on land to the north of Sancroft Road in Spondon between Lees Brook to the north and allotments to the south. The land is owned by the Spondon Relief in Need Charity which is an amalgamation of a number of local charitable trusts, including the ancient Gilbert Trust which used to own the site.

The surrounding land comprises species-poor semi improved grassland of negligible nature conservation interest and forms part of a smallholding enterprise leased from the charity.

The site is private with no public access. Access is through the allotments off Sancroft Road with permission from and by prior arrangements with the landowner and tenants.

The site is part of a smallholding enterprise. A small number of sheep graze the field containing one of the ponds and the second pond is within a field used by large numbers of ducks, poultry and geese many of which are free-range and use the pond for bathing.

The most northerly of the two ponds is shown on Ordnance Survey First Edition maps dated 1882 and would therefore appear to be of some local historic interest.

Survey objectives

The aim of the survey was to gather ecological and environmental data for the ponds in order to determine the current overall ecological quality of the ponds, compare against previous data obtained as part of the 2004/5 Derby City Pond Survey and to monitor the quality in future years.

Methodology

The ponds were visited with a view to carrying out PSYM surveys in accordance with the standard methodology developed by Pond Action (now Pond Conservation) and the Environment Agency.

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. The pond was surveyed during August 2010.

The following information was gathered for the pond:

Results

Site and Sample Details

Grid reference: SK 40554 36998

Site Name: Gilbert Pond 1

Location: Land to the north of Sancroft Road, Spondon

Owner/site access details: Spondon Relief in Need Charity

Survey Date: 31st August 2013Surveyors: Trevor Taylor (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Environmental Data

Altitude: (m)97m aslpH:7.93
Shade: % pond overhung:90%% emergent plant cover0%
Inflow (absent = 0, present = 1):1Pond area (m2)49m2
% 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
Peat1Other1

A conductivity test to measure of the total quantity of chemicals dissolved in the water returned a reading of 1200µS/cm. This figure indicates that the pond is somewhat polluted. Where conductivity is 500-1000 + µS/cm this is usually a sign of some kind of pollution and a perfectly clean water pond would have a figure of 100µS/cm or less.

No aquatic plant species or aquatic macroinvertebrates were recorded from the pond at the time of the survey visit and it was therefore not possible to obtain a PSYM sore for the pond other than zero.

Grid reference: SK 40540 37122

Site Name: Gilbert Pond 2

Location: Land to the north of Sancroft Road, Spondon

Owner/site access details: Spondon Relief in Need Charity

Survey Date: 31st August 2013Surveyors: Trevor Taylor (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Environmental Data

Altitude: (m)92m aslpH:8.06
Shade: % pond overhung:80%% emergent plant cover5%
Inflow (absent = 0, present = 1):0Pond area (m2)67m2
% of pond margin grazed:100

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
Peat1Other1

A conductivity test to measure of the total quantity of chemicals dissolved in the water returned a reading of 420µS/cm. This figure indicates that the pond is on the borderline with regards to contamination. Where conductivity is 500-1000 + µS/cm this is usually a sign of some kind of pollution and a perfectly clean water pond would have a figure of 100µS/cm or less.

No aquatic macroinvertebrates were recorded from the pond during the survey visit and aquatic plant species were limited to a small amount of Floating Sweet-grass, Glyceria fluitans. It was therefore not possible to obtain a PSYM sore for the pond other than zero.

Survey Results

Due to the absence of aquatic macroinvertebrates in both of the ponds and aquatic plant species imited to the presence of a small quantity of Floating Sweet-grass, Glyceria fluitans in Pond 2 it was not possible to obtain a PSYM score for the ponds other than zero.

Pond 1

The small field pond is located in a field of species-poor grassland used by large numbers of free-range chickens and ducks and, as such, it is regularly used by ducks for bathing. The pond is fed by a land drain, in addition to which, run-off which is substantially nutrient-enriched as a result of the poultry and ducks freely entersthe pond. The pond is surrounded by Ash and Hawthorn trees with some Blackthorn and a quaintly of woody debris is present in the pond.

It is likely that the contaminated nature of the water is due to the combination of nutrient enrichment as a result of the ducks and chickens and the presence of tannins from the deposited woody material.

At the time of the 2004 survey visit the site was used for low level grazing by two ponies but the presence of dense scrub and trees surrounding the pond prevented the livestock from accessing the pond. The surrounding vegetation has since been thinned to allow full access to the banks.

In 2004 a small range of macroinvertevrates were recorded from the pond including Water Boatman (Corixidae), Water Beetles (Dytiscidae), Pond Snails (Lymnaeidae), Water Slater (Asellidae) and Midge larvae (Chironomidae) together with the aquatic plant species Bittersweet, Solanum dulcamara, and Common Duckweed, Lemna minorenabling the pond to achieve a PSYM score of 28%. These species are no longer present, presumably as a result of a combination of predation and disturbance from ducks and a deterioration in water quality from increased nutrient input, and consequently the pond now has a zero PSYM score.

Spondon Gilbert

Pond 1 - 2004

Spondon Gilbert

Pond 1 - 2012

Pond 2

A small historic field pond situated in a field of semi-improved species-poor grassland which is used for the grazing of a relatively small number of sheep which have full access to pond. The pond is dominated and shaded by a large mature Crack Willow tree which is present on the northern bank. The pond is known to be seasonal in nature, regularly drying out in the summer months which is likely to be exacerbated by the bankside willow tree. A lot of fallen braches and woody debris was present in the water along with an amount of leaf litter. It is likely that the presence of tannins from the woody material along with potential for run-off from the nearby field used for free-range poultry and ducks influences the amount of contamination present in the water.

Aquatic vegetation is limited to a small quantity of Floating Sweet-grass, Glyceria fluitans, at the southern end and no aquatic macroinvertebrates were recorded.

Common Frog have been recorded as using the pond for breeding in the past but success would be dependent upon the timing of the periods of lack of water.

In 2004 a small range of macroinvertevrates were recorded from the pond including Water Boatman (Corixidae), Water Slater (Asellidae), Midge larvae (Chironomidae) and True Worms (Oligochetae) together with the aquatic plant species Floating Sweet-grass, Glyceria fluitans and Soft Rush, Juncus effusus.

However, this limited extent of ecological interest did not enable the pond to achieve a PSYM score of greater than zero. None of the invertebrate species were recorded from the pond during the current survey presumably as a result of continued dry periods exacerbated by the presence of the mature bankside willow.

Spondon Gilbert

Pond 2 - 2004

Spondon Gilbert

Pond 2 - 2012

Conclusion and Recommendations

The change in surrounding land-use in recent years from low level pony grazing to free-range poultry and ducks has significantly reduced the potential for pond 1 to support any ecological interest. In order to improve the ecological value, it would be necessary to exclude the poultry and ducks from the pond and its immediate surroundings by the erection of a fence and maintaining a stand-off buffer zone of at least 10 metres width to minimise the effects of any nutrient enrichment from run-off.

The shallow nature of pond 2 and the presence of the mature bankside willow tree, which exacerbates the drying out of the pond, seriously compromises the potential for the pond to develop and maintain any nature conservation interest. The mature tree forms a significant and valuable landscape feature and, as such, it would not be considered appropriate or acceptable to remove the tree in order to benefit the pond.

It is recommended that any logs and woody debris are removed from the ponds on a regular basis.

A more appropriate and acceptable solution would be to consider the creation of a new pond, designed to provide maximum benefit for wildlife, on any other land owned by the Spondon Relief in Need Charity.

Spondon Map