Pond restoration continues

CHRISTCHURCH Park's round pond should start re-filling later this week after tons of silt was removed in the latest part of the park restoration programme.

CHRISTCHURCH Park's round pond should start re-filling later this week after tons of silt was removed in the latest part of the park restoration programme.

And during the clean-up staff thought they had discovered a rare flint-gun in the silt . . . only to find it is more likely to be a 20th century child's toy!

Sam Pollard, parks manager, said his team had the object checked out to make sure it was a fake gun and added that the project to make the pond a mirror pond again was nearly complete.

He added: “We are making it a mirror pond again. In the autumn the trees on the other side reflect in lots of lovely colours.”

Staff found the pond had between eight and 10 feet of silt in it - although they had feared the silt could be as deep as 16 feet.

During the first part of this week staff are repairing coping stones and removing trees that are causing pressure on them.

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Fish will not be re-introduced immediately, although it could be restocked if that is considered appropriate later.

And Mr Pollard said some fish would probably be re-introduced naturally - through eggs carried on the feet of waterfowl.

“People often wonder how fish just appear in ponds - they could be sticklebacks or other coarse fish - that is how. Eventually you will find fish in any large pond,” he said.

The round pond is around 900 years old and was first used as a fishing pond by monks. It was changed to a mirror pond by the creators of Christchurch Mansion who wanted to reflect their building.

The island was put in the pond around 25 years ago and now it has been removed thanks to a project worth more than £100,000 to improve both the Round Pond and the Wilderness Pond.

The Round Pond would not refill naturally as fast as the Wilderness Pond, so water will be pumped into it.

Mr Pollard said: “If it was left to its own devices it would fill naturally, but that could take several months so we will be taking water from the Wilderness Pond which naturally fills much quicker.

“By the end of the Easter holidays they should both be full.”

Christchurch Park

n During the 12th century the 33-hectare park was the site of the Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity.

n In 1536 the Priory's estates were seized by the crown during Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries.

n The land was purchased by a London merchant, Paul Withipoll in 1545, and between 1548 and 1550 his son Edmund built Christchurch Mansion on the ruins of the old priory.

n The park contains memorials to the nine Ipswich Martyrs burnt at the stake for their Protestant beliefs around 1555, and also to servicemen and past mayors.

n Public events have been held in the park since the 18th century, and it was opened for free public access in 1895.

n The Great Storm of 1987 destroyed around 230 trees in the park.

n In 2004, the park received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund of around £4 million for a programme of extensive renovation and restoration of its facilities and historical features

n The Mansion is now the site of an historical museum, art gallery and tea room and sporting facilities within the park include tennis courts, a croquet lawn and a bowling green.

SOURCE: Ipswich Borough Council

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