Demonstration sees Swineshead pond dredged for free

The silt pusher in action.
The silt pusher in action.

A pond in Swineshead has seen the first ever use in this country of new dredging equipment after a free demonstration of the machinery saw it restored to its original size.

The pond, known as Mackay’s Pit, sits between South Street and the A52, and has gone from being just a few inches deep in places to as much as six or seven feet thanks to the Mud Pump.

Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board engineers invited Mud Pump Dredging to do a free demonstration of the equipment after hearing about them at an exhibition.

The machinery removed 5,000 tonnes of mud from the pond, which was last dredged by steam engine and has seen silt, rushes and reeds encroach on it over the decades.

The work was planned and organised by the Swineshead Enhancement Society and funding for an accompanying Silt Pusher – an underwater bulldozer – was provided by Swineshead Poor Charity.

Boston Borough Council deputy leader Coun Michael Brookes is a Black Sluice IDB board member, a Swineshead parish councillor and a member of Swineshead Enhancement Society.

He thanked all those who had supported the work.

He added: “The village has really rallied to let us take advantage of getting the Mud Pump here for free.

“It will restore a village amenity. Silt had built up so much that the reeds and rushes were growing further into the pond.

“Eventually the pond would have disappeared altogether – it would have just been a shallow scrubby depression in the land.

“Now we will have our village pond back and the plan is to restock with fish and put in some platforms for anglers, which will also provide access for people who are disabled.”

Mud Pump Dredging director Marion Shepherd explained the machine was developed from one used to pump concrete across construction sites and could have applications where flood risk was an issue.

The pond, which is common land, is cared for by Swineshead Parish Council.

The amenity will now be left to bed in before work takes place to improve it further.