‘Water’ result! Village pond is saved as wildlife flocks back

Pictured, from left: Roger Welberry from Swineshead Parish Council and SES, Carl Gibbard from SES, Coun Michael Brookes, fundraiser Sean Trafford, Jayne Newark from SES, and Alan Hughes, vice chairman of parish council.
Pictured, from left: Roger Welberry from Swineshead Parish Council and SES, Carl Gibbard from SES, Coun Michael Brookes, fundraiser Sean Trafford, Jayne Newark from SES, and Alan Hughes, vice chairman of parish council.

Work to save a village pond from becoming dry wasteland has culminated in fish returning to its waters - for the first time in several years.

Swineshead’s community pond - known as ‘Macky’s Pit’ - had become so full of silt mud and overgrown weeds over the years that the water became clogged and the fish died off.

Some of the 500 juvenile crucian carp and tench that were added to the pond

Some of the 500 juvenile crucian carp and tench that were added to the pond

But now the Swineshead Enhancement Society (SES), working in conjunction with the parish council, have returned it to its former glory. This began with dredging work carried out by the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board (BSIDB) in 2016 which removed a staggering 5,000 tonnes of mud - taking it from a few inches deep - to several feet.

Heavily involved with the project is Boston Borough councillor Michael Brookes, chairman of SES, who is also member of the BSIDB.

He said: “It was a self-perpetuating situation there. As the silt built up, the reeds grew further into the pond and it was gradually becoming completely choked up and less habitable for fish. The fish more or less died off around five or six years ago - with mainly eels remaining. If it was left much longer it would have just become scrub land.”

Some 250 fish, supplied by the Environment Agency, were added to the pond last week - 250 juvenile crucian carp and tench, with 500 each of rudd, roach and perch to be added in the coming weeks.

The pond had been without live fish for several years.

The pond had been without live fish for several years.

“We are trying to restore it to its former glory as a village amenity,” explained Coun Brookes. “It is common land so people can go down there are fish if they have a rod licence. People from the village used to fish there and taught their children how to fish there, and this went on for generations. It always attracted a variety of birds and insects. As soon as we dredged it out the creatures seemed to come back quickly - so already the wildlife has returned.

“The community wanted this pond restored. We got lots of money from other sources, with various groups fundraising towards the project, so everybody mucked in.”

The project has also seen the construction of fishing platforms on the roadside for people to use and rock armour added to reinforce and strenghten the banks making it safer for people.

“The community wanted this pond restored, it was something that came up as a topic all the time from people in the village,” said Coun Brookes. “We got lots of money from other sources, with various groups fundraising towards the project - so everybody mucked in.”

Jake Reeds, EA fisheries officer, delivered 500 fish for the pond. Pictured with, from left, Coun Michael Brookes, SES member Jayne Newark, and SES member and parish councillor Roger Welberry.

Jake Reeds, EA fisheries officer, delivered 500 fish for the pond. Pictured with, from left, Coun Michael Brookes, SES member Jayne Newark, and SES member and parish councillor Roger Welberry.

He added: “The EA and the Black Sluice Drainage Board have both been absolutely brilliant in providing their expert knowledge and help.”

The parish council has become the custodians of Macky’s Pit - with the responsibility of looking after it on behalf of the community.

A photo of the dredging work being ccarried out by the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board back in 2016.

A photo of the dredging work being ccarried out by the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board back in 2016.