Restoration work at Midhurst’s South Pond is set to create a ‘wildlife haven’

South Pond, Midhurst's 'heart and lungs' ENGSUS00120120314101628
South Pond, Midhurst's 'heart and lungs' ENGSUS00120120314101628

AMBITIOUS restoration work is due to start at Midhurst’s South Pond next month which the new management group hopes will create a ‘wildlife haven on the edge of the town centre’.

And now the South Pond Group has held two events to inform members of the public about the restoration.

“This is an exciting time for the group now that we have managed to raise the substantial funding required to implement this ambitious project,” said its chairman, Graham Ault.

“This has been achieved working in close partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority and Chichester District Council.

“Major funding has also been received from West Sussex County Council through its Operation Watershed scheme.”

The group had a display at the recent open day at the South Downs Centre and also a drop-in- event at the pond 
last Saturday.

“These events enabled us to engage with many people, both residents and visitors, to explain what was going to happen,” said Mr Ault.

“This will mainly involve dredging a deep channel through the centre of the pond and using excess silt to build up shallow areas near the banks for planting of aquatic plants and a reed bed.

“This will help the flow of water and silt through the pond and will have a major impact on water quality, leading over time to far more diverse wildlife.”

He said a number of other voluntary groups would also be involved in cutting birch on heathlands to make faggots to bind the shallow areas in place.

“It is particularly positive that local materials will be used as part of this project.

“We showed visitors at both events a sample of typical pond life taken from a nearby healthy pond, to show what South Pond should be like after the work is completed.”

There may be some minor inconvenience during the work, for a week or two in October, said Mr Ault, but this would be kept to a minimum.

“The work will be carried out by a highly-experienced contractor whose achievements include the wild flower beds at the Olympic Park, and aspects of the Medmerry scheme near Selsey.”