Work starting to clean Ipswich’s Chantry park pond – and create a mound of new fertiliser!

PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 February 2020

Chantry park pond  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Chantry park pond Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A major effort to clean up one of the most important wildlife ponds in Ipswich starts on Monday as a team of experts moves into Chantry Park.

Chantry park pond is being cleaned. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDChantry park pond is being cleaned. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The main pond in the park, near the mansion, has been filling with silt for many years - and 18 months ago about 100 fish had to be removed from it because of fears that they were likely to die from lack of oxygen.

Now contractor Stillwater Management is preparing to clean the pond in a six-week programme which should see it finished by Easter.

It will remove about 5,000 cubic metres of silt from the pond and created a "silt lagoon" nearby. This will be left for several weeks to dry out and become very good fertiliser which will be used around the park - no silt from the pond is expected to be taken out of the park.

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Work will be carried out between 7.30am and 5pm Mondays to Fridays. A team of metal detectorists will be on hand on Saturdays to look through the removed silt for interesting items - so if anyone has lost a ring in Chantry Park main pond over the years there is a chance it could turn up this spring.

In view of the extent of amount of work and the use of heavy machinery, a large area around the pond has been sectioned off with fencing and footpath diversions put in place for safety. The area shut off will be much larger than the pond itself and will include the lagoon being created to allow the silt to dry and become usable fertiliser during the next few months.

But all entrances are unaffected, access to children's play areas will stay clear and the council hopes that visitors are not inconvenienced too much by the restoration work at the pond.

About 100 fish from the pond were removed from the pond in July 2018. A spokesman for the council said native species like carp will be put back in the pond when the work is complete: "But they will obviously be different fish - we're not going to disturb them twice and they would be getting a bit long in the tooth to go back!"

The silted-up pond at Chantry Park. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILThe silted-up pond at Chantry Park. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

The silt will be used as a natural soil enhancer / fertiliser in the park - this will also have the benefit of avoiding lorry loads going off site.

At its deepest point the silt is about 1.5 metres thick and will be removed using an extended-arm excavator.

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