If you’ve been reading your Longstanton Life or attending Community Forums, you will be aware of the ongoing struggle to return the so-called ‘Kingfisher Pond’ to something like its former state, as it was before the clearance of the Northstowe site. Since that time, the water table has dropped significantly and last winter the pond was essentially empty and became choked with weeds. This year, the water level has increased but remains well below what is needed if the pond is once again to support the variety of wildlife it hosted as little as 3 or 4 years ago.
There has been a lengthy discussion involving the site developers, Longstanton Parish Council, South Cambs District Council, and the Longstanton & District Heritage Society over what should be done- and by whom – to restore the health of the pond. Gallaghers, the developers, agreed before clearing the Northstowe site that they would maintain the pond in good condition, but it has taken considerable efforts – notably by the Longstanton & District Heritage Society – to motivate them to actually take positive steps to this end.
At last there is some movement. The SCDC has agreed with the developers to take action to restore the pond. To this end, a meeting will be held next Wednesday, 13th June at 11a.m., at the pond on the Barrett Homes side. Anyone interested in helping to clear the scrub vegetation at the pond is asked to turn up at that time to register their interest, though work is not expected to start before the following week at earliest. The RSPB and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) are also being approached to see whether they can offer any assistance.
In recent weeks the pond has recovered some of its former lushness, though the water level remains worryingly low. Some (actually 2…) medium-sized fish have been spotted in the water, though it is a mystery where they came from, as the pond was virtually dry last autumn and it is hard to see how they could have survived. Perhaps some local enthusiast is restocking? The plant growth choking the bed of the pond will need to be removed and the surrounding woodland tidied up. In addition, to achieve a viable habitat, more water will need to be added over and above that available naturally. Whether or not kingfishers will ever return remains to be seen.