Copyright © All rights reserved. Blofield & District Conservation Group
Size: c.0.26 ha (0.64 acres).
Parish: Lingwood & Burlingham.
Owned by: Lingwood & Burlingham Parish Council.
Access & parking: Open. The pond is small enough to be viewed mainly from the perimeter of the site. A bench along the southern bank gives views over the pond. A narrow 'causeway', which divides the pond into two segments, provides access for closer inspection if necessary. Parking is available nearby on Vicarage Road or School Road. Please do not park in Lingwood Gardens (which is narrow) or on the grass verges next to the pond.
Underfoot: Generally dry.
Habitats: Eutrophic lowland pond with marginal woody vegetation.
Main conservation interest: Marginal habitat & significance as a village feature.
Conservation status: None.
Management: Managed by BADCOG since 1988 with initial help from local RSPB staff. Local residents also assist with the maintenance of the pond. Work has also been undertaken by contractors from time to time. A five-year management plan was approved in 1997 and implemented in 1998.
Location: Lingwood Pond is located at the northern end of Lingwood village at the junction between Vicarage Road and School Road.
A permanent, shallow eutrophic village pond frequented by a large population of semi-tame ducks. It is divided into two segments by an earth bank and enclosed on all sides by surfaced roads. It is surrounded by a belt of trees and shrubs, with a hedgerow along the southern boundary and a row of mature oaks along the dividing bank.
There is no documentary evidence to show that the pond existed before 1827, although it may have been part of the large common which constituted the village green prior to enclosure in 1803. During the 19th century and earlier parts of the 20th century, the eastern segment of the pond was used primarily by the village community as a source of water for domestic use and for watering livestock, and the western segment was used for watering livestock at the adjacent Vicarage Farm.
The pond holds shallow water throughout the year, with the water level being largely determined by surface run-off from the surrounding land after rainfall. The water level fluctuates seasonally, with marked drawdown during droughts or periods of very low rainfall. Since the two segments were separated as part of the management plan introduced in 1998, the water level in the eastern segment is constantly at a higher level than that in the western segment, resulting in the western segment drying out more often than previously. The large duck population, shading and leaf fall from marginal trees, and surface run-off of water from the surrounding roads are causal factors in the very poor water quality of the pond. The eastern segment is usually turbid and lacking in oxygen, with slightly clearer conditions in the western segment. As a consequence, the pond supports a very impoverished aquatic flora and fauna.
Constant vigilance and management is necessary to help buffer this small, fragile site against the influences of the surrounding environment. The pond's wildlife interest and its value to the local community make this a worthwhile task, and as a feature of the village landscape the pond is highly valued by the majority of the local community. In fact, the site comprises much more than an aquatic habitat. For example, the dividing bank supports a sparse but interesting flora with climbing honeysuckle and field-rose, which are uncommon or absent elsewhere in the village. Grey willow is one of the most frequent shrubs around the pond; its catkins providing insects with a source of nectar in early spring and its branches a living substrate for several species of lichen and moss. The site’s trees are regularly visited by foraging birds, including great spotted woodpecker, jay, goldcrest, siskin and goldfinch. Sedge warblers have in the past nested in the reeds and snipe are often seen when there is a hard frost on the surrounding arable fields. In 2011 a Norfolk hawker dragonfly was recorded.
Initially, management of the site was sporadic until 1998 when a plan was agreed and implemented. Prior to this management plan, several tasks were undertaken, including scrub removal and a limited amount of dredging. With the introduction of the plan, two work-parties are undertaken annually (January), with supplementary work being done on an ad-hoc basis. As part of the plan, the sallows and brambles are coppiced and cleared to discourage encroachment and improve the light. Due to the large duck population (which is held artificially high by regular feeding), water quality is very poor. Again, as part of the management plan, the two channels connecting the two segments were blocked, with the view to see if this would have any impact on the water quality. There has been limited success in this area, with a marked improvement in the quality in the western segment and a slight improvement of the water quality in the eastern segment; however, generally the water quality is still on the poor side. An interesting feature to observe will be how the 10-15 year old oak, in the NE corner, develops over time. Due to it proximity to overhead cables, the top of the oak was pollarded in 2006 and the lower side branches in 2007.
Since 2010, a moth trap has been running in a garden opposite the pond by a BADCOG member and records of moth caught for 2010 and 2011 are now available via this link.
In the spring of 2013, a 'Toadwatch' patrol was set-up. Toad, frogs and newts head for the pond in the spring to breed, with some being killed whilst trying crossing the busy roads surrounding the pond. In 2013 local residents have been carrying out patrols at dusk to rescue toads, frogs and newts with 40 frogs and 4 newts being rescued, with only 4 frogs found killed in 2013.
When to visit: There is usually something of interest throughout the year with many birds visiting the pond to drink and bathe. Common frog and moorhen breed within the reeds, and a colony of house sparrows nest in the southern hedgerow. In the winter, tawny owls can be heard calling whilst in the spring, great spotted woodpeckers can be heard drumming and they have also nested in the large oaks along the causeway. In 2006, a pair of peacocks also took up residence at the pond, roosting in the oaks at night.
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