The orchard pond and wildlife area

Plans for Bridport Community Orchard …..
always included a designated wildlife site. The main feature of this is our wildlife pond, which has attracted many varieties of insects, including Emperor dragonflies, frogs, and smooth newts. (Scroll down the page to read the how the pond was built).

The rest of the area has a native hedge plus a hawthorn and ash tree, but the soil is too fertile to suit most of our native wild flowers, which prefer poorer soil. Consequently, the majority of our flora is composed of couch grass, thistles, docks and nettles. By regular cutting and the introduction of yellow rattle to weaken the more vigorous grasses, we hope to reduce the fertility of the soil, enabling us to sow seeds and plant plugs of a greater range of native species.
A small adjoining bog garden has been made to benefit from any overflow of water from the pond.
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Bog Garden - meadowsweet, bugle, ragged robin, water mint, yellow flag iris and creeping jenny. Further plantings, including loosestrife, were done in July 2012.
Pond plants - lilies, marsh marigold, water soldier, yellow flag iris, water forget-me-not, and brooklime.

Below: the bog garden in May 2018

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The pond - its background history

The pond is the glorious centrepiece of this dedicated wildlife area. That it was such a hard-won prize serves only to make it all the more wondrous. The early days of action in the Bridport Community Orchard were alive with the spirit of optimism and hope (as remains today, of course!). Borne on that wave, at the beginning of 2009 a pond was conceived, to be hewn by hand from the welcoming land and lined, as is traditional, with clay, and the squelching of a thousand bared feet.

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A year and a half, 150 man, woman and child days' work, 20 tonnes of clay and 10,000 litres of water later, it was finally admitted that whilst marvellous as a muddy hole, the attempts at the traditional techniques had failed:  the pond would never hold quite as much water as desired.
Following some extensive soul and internet searching, the decision was made to install a giant rubber liner (guaranteed for life!)

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Finally, in March 2011, with one further day of work, the pond was filled, and stayed full.  With no small measure of relief, the hole was made whole.
In May a 'dipping platform' was added, sculpted to follow the natural shape of the pond and bog garden and support the maximum number of happy bug-hunting children safely.

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And thus, on the sixth day of work on the pond, all the originally planned orchard infrastructure was completed. And the people looked on their work, and were pleased.

(Thanks to Andy Jefferies - ex-BCOG's Volunteer Day Officer)

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