Grid Reference: TG 363 087
GPS: 52.624900, 1.4903024
Size: c 0.26 ha (0.64 acres)
Parish: Lingwood Burlingham
Owned By: Lingwood Burlingham Parish Council
Access Parking: Lingwood Pond is located at the northern end of Lingwood village, at the junction of Vicarage Road and School Road, on both of which car parking is possible. Please do not park in Lingwood Gardens (which is narrow) or on the grass verges next to the pond. Alternatively it is only a short walk from Lingwood Railway Station; Lingwood Churchyard is a further 600 m to the northwest.
Underfoot: Generally dry.
Habitats: Eutrophic lowland pond with marginal woody vegetation.
Main Conservation Interest: Marginal habitat and significance as a village feature.
Conservation Status: None.
Management: Managed by BADCOG since 1988 with initial help from local RSPB staff. Local residents assist with maintenance of the pond and work has also been undertaken by contractors from time to time. A five year management plan was approved in 1997 and implemented in 1998.
Description: The pond is small enough to be viewed mainly from the perimeter of the site, particularly from a bench along the southern bank. A narrow ’causeway’, divides the pond into two segments and provides access for closer inspection.
It is 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 early 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 purposes and for watering livestock, whereas 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 in the western segment, resulting in the latter 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 (in 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, 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 on both sides is still poor. An interesting feature to observe will be how the 10-15 year old oak, in the northeast 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.
Toad, frogs and newts head for the pond in the spring to breed, with some being killed whilst trying to cross the busy roads surrounding the pond. In the spring of 2013 a ‘Toadwatch’ patrol was set-up; local residents carried out patrols at dusk to rescue the amphibians. In all, 40 frogs and 4 newts were rescued, and only 4 frogs were found killed that year.
In 2006, a pair of peacocks also took up residence at the pond, roosting in the oaks at night.
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. In the spring great spotted woodpeckers can be heard drumming and they nest in the large oaks along the causeway.