Lonesome Ponds Upgrade
Over the last two years Preston and Tadworth residents and other users of the Burgh Heath woods will have observed the extensive reworking of the area around the Lonesome Ponds.
At the pond near Chetwode Road the low lying terrain was allowing the water to overflow during wet winters causing extensive flooding.
As can be seen the area was a large muddy quagmire and walkers tended to avoid the mud, using adjacent paths in the woods. This had the negative side effect of increasing the trodden down ground area.
Following a successful CIL bid by the Conservators funding was available for major landscaping.
The bank of the pond was built up using brought in soil. The work was carried out by a local contractor. Two truck loads of selected soil were used.
In order to gain access the barrier and embankment at the Chetwode Road entrance to the woods had to be taken down and reinstated afterwards. Over the past few years this entrance has seen several upgrades in an effort to reduce illegal access by motorised vehicles.
CIL stands for Community Infrastructure Levy. This is a levy paid by property developers which is available for the necessary major infrastructure associated with development and also smaller projects intended to improve the community environment.
After the work was completed the area looked completely bare and lifeless. All the vegetation had been buried under the new soil. Posters were put up in the area to reassure residents that in time the green vegetation would return naturally.
This was the second time in two years that the area had been cleared with the aim of maintaining a pleasant environment for both people, animal and plant life.
The year before dead and dying trees in the area were taken down in the interests of public safety. Ash Dieback is a major and increasing problem in many parts of the country. Also some vegetation was cut back in order to expose the pond to more sunlight.
Now it is possible to see the end result of all this work which was organised by the Banstead Commons Conservators. The Chetwode Road pond area is green and the vegetation has exploded this summer.
Nature has an incredible ability to recreate and just over two years later the natural vegetation has re-established over the whole area except for the pathway which is kept clear due to constant use by residents.
Over the years the second Lonesome Pond backing onto Long Walk had become severely silted and trees had fallen into it. The water quality had been degraded due to this, so affecting the potential pond life.
The fallen trees were cleared out and the accumulation of silt removed and dispersed over the surrounding ground.
After the silt removal the whole area looked as if a layer of mud had been just dumped on it, which indeed was the case.
However after only two years, including a summer drought during which all the water dried up, the bank vegetation and pond plants have returned greener and more extensive than ever.
While the water level was so low the opportunity was take to clean out many scrap and household items which had been dumped in both ponds. Normally hidden under the water surface these were clearly exposed during the recent hot dry summer. A full trailer load was eventually cleared away.
These works have been paid for by Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding which the Conservators had applied for with encouragement and assistance from local Tattenham & Preston councillors and also Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.
You can see more information about Burgh Heath and its ponds on the link below.Banstead Commons Burgh Heath