New look park pond

WHAT difference a month makes.At the start of February the Wilderness pond at Ipswich's Christchurch Park had almost no water and was clogged with feet of silt.

WHAT difference a month makes.

At the start of February the Wilderness pond at Ipswich's Christchurch Park had almost no water and was clogged with feet of silt.

Now, the silt has gone and it is rapidly filling up with water.

Ducks and geese are starting to return and they will be followed this week by signs banning visitors from feeding them.

Park rangers are anxious to ensure the pond does not become over-populated and stagnant as it did before it was dredged as part of a £4.5million park restoration project.

Christchurch Park manager Sam Pollard said: “The pond is now filling up and the birds are starting to return.

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“We are pleased to see them coming back but we don't want to get into the same problem as we have had here in the past with too much silt being created.”

The pond is up to 10ft deep in places but in some parts there were around 7ft of silt at the bottom, leaving just 18ins to 2ft of water.

Now that has been dredged and taken to the former leaf yard where it will dry out over the next two years.

The work in and around the pond has transformed that area of the park with trees in the Lower Arboretum being thinned and new views being opened up.

These two pictures, taken at the start and end of the month, show how the pond has been transformed by the dredging operations.

Mr Pollard said the water will be cloudy for a few weeks because the clay at the bottom of the pond was disturbed as the water returned. But by the spring it should be clear and park staff are keen to keep it that way by limiting the number of ducks and other wildfowl.

There is a natural balance on the pond which is upset if there are too many ducks and geese swimming.

The birds produce silt which turns the water stagnant and kills of everything else in the water.

The rangers are anxious that extra wildfowl should not be attracted to the pond by kind-hearted visitors feeding them bread and other scraps.

Now the work on the Wilderness Pond is nearing completion, the rangers are due to start a similar operation at the Round Pond near Christchurch Mansion.

N Is it right to ban people from feeding ducks? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

When the Wilderness Pond was dredged there were only two fish found alive in the pond.

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