Knox's Pond 

Knox's Pond 

Knox's Pond 

The brief 

To design and deliver habitat and access improvement works to a large clay-lined pond and its three islands located on a SINC-designated Local Nature Reserve in East Hampshire. 
The objective was to restore the pond from its heavily shaded and silted up condition with existing site access infrastructure in a poor state of disrepair to one that provides excellent outcomes for biodiversity and site visitors alike. 

The solution 

The project was delivered across three phases: 
Phase 1: Survey and design. 
Phase 2: Habitat works. 
Phase 3: Access improvements. 
 
Phase 1: Survey and design. 
 
Our design team met with the clients on site to understand the project aspirations and to look at the practicalities of delivering the works while collecting site survey data. Initial proposals were then put forward with outline costs, before moving on to full detailed design, schedule of quantities and works programme. 
Phase 2: Habitat works
 
Substantial tree felling was carried out on the southern side of the pond along with 50% thinning on the islands to allow more light into the site, reduce leaf litter accumulation and incorporate tree safety works. Timber was logged and stacked to form extensive habitat walls throughout the site, partially buried by material won by de-silting the pond. 
Additional wetland features were created by forming shallow extensions to the pond incorporating prone and standing deadwood and by the habitat walls bunding surface run-off to create marshy slacks behind. Temporary machine access was created by forming a causeway onto the largest island while personnel reached the other smaller islands by boat. 
Phase 3: Access improvements. 
 
A year after the habitat management works we returned to site to demolish the decaying infrastructure and replace with more extensive timber boardwalks, aggregate paths, fishing platforms and pond dipping areas. 
Natural Flood Management features consisting of leaky dams were incorporated to slow water flow and increase silt accumulation prior to entering the pond. 
The work was then rounded off by landforming, drainage, fencing and seeding. 

The outcome 

The site is now easier to manage due to the new infrastructure, for example a submerged causeway left in place following removal of the machine access works provide permanent access for reserve staff onto the largest island. Birds and invertebrates responded almost immediately to the elevated light levels, with a noticeable increase in spring activity after habitat works completion. 
It was a real privilege to return to site the following spring to deliver access improvements and experience the site recovery. Increased diversity of ground flora was evident resulting from the greater complexity of aquatic and terrestrial habitats that had been created. Feedback from local site users has been overwhelmingly positive, with the access works allowing a greater range of people to explore this fantastic wildlife spot. 

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