Conserving Herefordshire’s Ice Age Ponds

David Hutton, Project Manager  d.hutton@herefordshirewt.co.uk

Our new Heritage Lottery and Kingspan funded project in partnership with the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT) and the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust (EHT) has started its Development Stage. During this stage preliminary surveys, consultations with public and private landowners together with further prioritisation and selection of ponds will take place. Successful completion of this by August 2019 is necessary in order to secure funding for a further two-year Delivery Stage.

Project Manager David Hutton has been appointed (from end November 2018) and Beth Andrews, the Project Officer for the geology aspects, has been appointed by EHT. David will have overall responsibility for the project, based at the HWT in Queenswood, reporting to Andrew Nixon. Ecology Consultants have also been appointed: HART’s Will Watson and Giles King-Salter.

If you are interested in joining the project, either with an ecology or a geology interest, or both, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities, and training courses will be provided from March onwards. We will be surveying ponds along both sides of the River Wye west of Hereford (around Madley, Moccas, Credenhill and Letton) where many ponds were created at the end of the last Ice Age (approximately 20,000 years ago). Another area is in north-west Herefordshire (around Kington, Pembridge and Shobdon) where there is a lot of hummocky moraine left at the end of the Ice Age where ponds could have formed.

Not all the ponds in these areas are kettle holes – one of the main aims of the surveying will be to use geological techniques to analyse the sediments around and within the ponds to inform us about their origin. We will also be aiming to identify much of the wildlife species found in the ponds, some of which are now increasingly rare and endangered.

Project Training days and a call for potential volunteer trainees

A chance to learn about the fascinating world of Ice Age Ponds, how they were formed, their wildlife and geological origins, and how we can help to conserve them for future generations.
Learn why they are so special and how to identify the wildlife that can be found.

Project Training Days will be held on:

Thursday 28th March        Credenhill Community Centre

Friday 29th March              Pembridge Village Hall

Sunday 14rd April              Credenhill Community Centre

Saturday 11th May            Pembridge Village Hall

Morning Indoor Session

  • Introduction to the Ice Age in Herefordshire and the landforms it left behind
  • Introduction to Pond Ecology
  • Introduction to field survey techniques for Ecology and Geology

Afternoon Session

  • Field visit to a local kettle hole pond site
  • Practical demonstration of geological recording techniques. We will be taking soil core samples using augers, using GPS to record water levels and using meters and test kits to measure the water quality.
  • Practical demonstration of ecological recording techniques, with an emphasis on evaluating habitat quality.
  • Pond dipping to look for amphibians, invertebrates and other pondlife.
  • Training in the use of GPS, Water quality meters etc will be given.

Training will last from 10:00 am – 4.00 pm. All equipment, plus hot drinks and biscuits will be provided. You will need to bring suitable outdoor clothing, Wellington boots and a packed lunch.

These training sessions are free but places are limited and booking is essential. To book your place or find out further details please contact David Hutton on 01432 356872 or email d.hutton@herefordshirewt.co.uk