Pupils pave the way for South Pond restoration at Midhurst

IT has always been described as the jewel in the crown of Midhurst, but most would agree South Pond has seen better days.

That is all about to change thanks to two years of hard work by the volunteers of the South Pond Group working with the South Downs National Park and Chichester District Council.

Children from Conifers School proudly displaying their completed birch faggot to help stabilise the South Pond bank PICTURE BY JOANNA CLEEVE SUS-141016-174147001

Children from Conifers School proudly displaying their completed birch faggot to help stabilise the South Pond bank PICTURE BY JOANNA CLEEVE SUS-141016-174147001

In two weeks time contractors will move in and carry out a four week major restoration creating a wildlife haven and a feature for residents and visitors.

And children from Midhurst, Easebourne and Stedham Primary Schools and Conifers School have been playing their part in the massive project.

They spent two days on Stedham and Iping Common with their teachers and volunteer rangers making birch ‘faggots’ for the banks of the pond.

Barbara Coote is the schools liaison for the South Ponds Group: “The silt will be deposited around the edge of the pond onto these faggots made from birch,” she explained. “This will create a stable bank and shallow water for marginal plants to take hold and provide essential functions including water filtration and habitat for invertebrates.”

The sessions on the common are the latest in a series set up by Mrs Coote to involve children in the conservation work.

Chairman of the South Pond Graham Ault said: “It is very exciting that, after so much hard preparatory work and fund-raising the project is now very real and imminent.”

The restoration, which will take about four weeks, is due to start on Monday October 27.

It will include reinforcing the islands to protect them from further erosion. The faggots will then be installed and silt pumped onto them.

Although it will not at first look its best, said Mr Ault, it would start to “transform into a beautiful and wildlife friendly environment. “We encourage members of the public to come and look at the work being carried out during the next month.”

Anyone who would like to help should contact the group at southpondgroup@gmail.com