Pond Works at Great Linford Manor Park
November 2021 Update
At the 'secret' Cascade Pond, Ground Control have been busy restoring the Grand Cascade and creating a new set of steps leading down to the pond. A new footpath has been constructed that reaches all the way around the Cascade Pond, offering views back over the newly restored landscape. Sediment from the pond has been spread across the adjacent area of grass, and this will regenerate for next summer. New footpaths leading directly from Campion (what3words.com/clear.pricier.steadier) will soon be open, and an off-shoot from the canal towpath will provide access to the Cascade Pond, via Campion. See below map, which is taken from the project masterplan. The Cascade Pond area isn't open just yet, but you can get a good view from the top of the steps on the Railway Walk.
The new steps leading to the Cascade Pond.
October 2021 Update
The pond walls have now been restored all the way around. A small cascade links the Round Pond to the Cascade Pond and a new spillway takes water from the Canal Pond under the canal. You can now walk all the way around the ponds on new, accessible footpaths and cross the new timber bridge between the ponds.
Contractors are now working on the Cascade Pond on the other side of the canal. They are restoring the Grand Cascade and improving access to the pond. There will be restored steps leading down to it from the Railway Walk (redway cycle path) and a surfaced, accessible footpath leading from Campion (what3words.com/clear.pricier.steadier).
The areas of soil around the ponds are now being seeded and turfed.
Timelapse footage of the Canal Pond restoration (top of page) and people enjoying the new footpaths around the ponds (bottom).
August 2021 Update
July 2021 Update
Contractors have been busy rebuilding the stone walls around the ponds. The stone they are using is from the same seam of Blisworth limestone that was used for the park buildings and for the stone laid in the ponds 250 years ago. They are 'patching in' the buff-coloured, newly quarried stone next to the weathered stone, which was part of the original 18th century pond walls. You can see the difference in the image below. All of this stone will be underwater when the ponds refill.
Work is nearly complete on the Canal Pond, which now has a stone wall around 3 sides. One bank has no stone and that's because it's going to be planted up with aquatic species. This pond has been gradually refilling. Once builders have finished the walls of the Round Pond, they will begin work on the bridge between the ponds, and then refill the Round Pond. At this point they'll start work on the Hine springhead feature.
We are continuing to run pond talks on-site once a month.
April 2021 Update
Ground Control have now constructed a retaining wall around the spring head. This is where fresh spring water flows into the ponds. The retaining wall is made from engineering bricks but will be faced with the local limestone.
We have recorded a video with project hydrologist Marcus (above) to explain how the new spring head will work.
March 2021 Update
Pond works are continuing to progress well at Great Linford Manor Park.
We’re excited that this month contractors have excavated around the natural Hine Spring to expose the limestone bedrock. Water flows out of the limestone bedrock at this natural spring, and flows from one pond to the next. The excavations have revealed the point at which the water emerges from the limestone. The limestone bedrock has been cleaned and exposed here by the contractors ready for works on the spring.
The excavations will provide access for the contractors to work on the spring and create a new feature around it, making it easier for visitors to identify and understand.
The pond dredging works are now complete and the sediment is situated around the ponds, drying out. If the weather stays warm and dry, in the next few weeks we will be using some of it around the ponds and spreading the rest across the area of our land over from Marsh Drive. Here it will be over-seeded, and grass will grow back.
After that works can commence on restoring the stone walls that line the ponds. Some of the original 18th century stonework has been preserved and has dried out over the last few weeks. It’s now rather striking! The new stone we’re adding is coming from the same Blisworth limestone seam as the original stone.
We hope to resume our free weekly pond works talks on site from Friday 9th April. Booking is essential.
January 2021 Update
The ponds at Great Linford Manor Park have now been dredged.
The Water Garden ponds, outside the Almshouses, had many decades of silt in them, which clearly evident from how much of it has been excavated and is now spread around their banks! This had built up from the leaf litter dropping in from the trees overhead and made them very smelly in the summer months. Back in February 2020 we removed the self-seeded, overhanging trees to bring more light into the ponds and to allow us to restore their historic walls, which were being damaged by the tree roots.
Silt that's been excavated from the Water Garden ponds is being left to 'dewater' on the banks until the spring, which gives time for invertebrates to find new homes. This is good ecological practice. In the spring, the silt will be spread at an area of our land over the road from Marsh Drive, adding organic rich material into the surrounding land. Once the silt has been moved, works will begin to restore the historic stone wall lining the Round Pond and the weir structure between the ponds will be replaced.
The Parklands Pond at the Arts Centre roundabout has also been dredged to restore it to its original shape and to improve it as a habitat. Any wildlife discovered has been carefully rehomed and will return naturally with time.
We've created a time-lapse film of the dredging works.
Ponds are an important and diverse freshwater habitat for a variety of plants and animals and a national priority for our Biodiversity Action Plan, therefore it is important to keep up regular maintenance and management.