The Pond Restoration
The mill pond stored water to supply the water wheel for the next days milling, especially in the 18th century when there were lots of droughts and the river or stream wasn’t sufficient.
The 1st photo shows all the trees that had grown. I had to completely remove all the roots as I would not have been able to seal pond with clay.
In the 2nd photo you can see that all trees have been removed and the top soil has been excavated to reveal the clay and silt of the original pond. The stream is on the left under the undergrowth.
In the 3rd photo you can just see the stream which had to be kept flowing whilst I concreted a gate valve in the wall. Originally this would have been a wooden sluice gate operated with a rack and pinion or pulley system but the old walls were no longer strong enough to with stand the water pressure so I reinforced the the walls together with concrete and fitted a gate valve to control the water flow.
The 4th photo shows the original walls being repaired which had two ash trees growing out from the top and Ivy growing from both sides. You can see from these photos how much of soil had been used to fill in the pond over many years.
The pond nearly ready to be filled.
The 6th photo shows the pond being filled with water after the gate valve was shut for the very first time. It took just 24hrs to reach that level and the ducks didn’t waste any time arriving. Unfortunately this was as high as the water would reach before leaking into the orchard, several repairs to the dam and bank had to be carried out before the pond was finished in spring of 2007.
The pond has established very quickly. I think this was because there were lots of shrimps and pond life already in the stream. In October 2007 I stocked about fifty rainbow trout and they are quite large now!. We have had numerous Coots and Mallards nest on the pond last year (2008).
I still have leaks on the dam due to moles, which I have to repair soon.