In October this year following a successful public consultation, the largest natural pond in the park which has been unable to provide a home for freshwater species due to our four-legged friends swimming in it, was fenced off and a field gate added. This was achieved using funds kindly donated by Knaresborough Lions Centennial Community Fund, and Harrogate Borough Council Commuted Sums.
The fenced off pond in Jacob Smith Park now has the potential to be a perfect habitat to support a variety of UK freshwater species which are in dramatic decline (www.freshwaterhabitats.org.uk), and by doing so the Knaresborough community will be contributing to conserving British ecological heritage, whilst providing educational opportunities for all ages in the future, particularly children and young people.
A leading North Yorkshire Ecologist, Martin Hammond, has carried out a baseline survey of the pond with recommendations which will help to ensure the pond thrives. This includes the removal of silt build up before spring 2018, and management of silt in future years. The silt is to be removed and disposed of appropriately. The Friends of Jacob Smith Park are currently exploring a number of avenues to secure help from companies who will donate the time of a member of staff and a mechanical digger – or provide funding assistance.
Once the biodiversity of the pond begins to build (and the wider park wildlife does as a result) we aim to action funding for Stage Two of the project within the next 18 months or so. The aim is to create a small pond dipping platform and provide pond dipping equipment and downloadable resources to run educational sessions.
The dipping platform will provide a ‘safe’ area for local children and young people to stand on and take samples from the pond (under the appropriate supervision) and explore them, so they can learn about wildlife habitats (as part of science investigations) in ‘a hands-on’ way.
Community Pond Working Parties
We would be so grateful for volunteer help to give the pond and its wildlife the best chances to flourish. We are dedicated to letting nature take its course, but there will be some jobs that we need to take on to give nature a helping hand – such as tackling the non-native invasive species, Himalayan Balsam, around the pond. Please look out for all volunteer appeal notices and if you require further information, please give Jo a shout here. Thank you!
Staying in touch
The Friends of Jacob Smith Park are committed to consulting with members of the public about their park. This means bringing them the latest news on all park enhancement projects like the pond. News will be posted here on the website and through social media, the park noticeboard and email group (please contact us if you would like to join the confidential email list), and local media where possible. We also have three public meetings a year and everyone is welcome to attend these and share their views and ideas.
Please read our Polite Pond Notice.