Wild info: ponds

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

A vital habitat for wildlife, ponds support plants and animals that can live nowhere else.

Ponds attract an abundance of insects such as damselflies, water beetles and snails. They are essential for amphibians such as newts and frogs, while providing a refreshing pit stop for birds and mammals.

Over the past 100 years, the UK countryside has lost almost 70% of its ponds due to pollution, urban development, changes in agriculture, drainage and neglect. By creating a wildlife pond in your garden you can make a real difference to the wildlife that depends on them to survive.

What is a pond?

There are many different shapes and sizes of ponds, some of which dry out for some months during the year, but all of which provide unique habitats for wildlife. Any permanent or seasonal body of water up to two hectares in size can be classified as a pond.

A single small pond provides a welcome habitat for wildlife, but a pond complex that contains a mix of seasonal and permanent ponds of different depths and surface areas, will support a greater range of wildlife and provide habitats in all climate conditions.

Ponds in gardens

Ponds of all sizes are beneficial for wildlife, and including one as part of a wildlife garden can make a real difference. Even small gardens can contain a pond made from a sink or bucket. Find out how to build a pond or see the step-by-step photographs of the creation of a wildlife pond.

Ponds on reserves

Lots of Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust nature reserves have ponds that contribute to habitat diversity and support a host of wildlife:

  • Asham Meads, Oxon - small pond surrounded by damp meadows which are home to marsh-loving plants such as ragged-robin and the uncommon tubular water-dropwort.
  • CS Lewis Nature Reserve, Oxon - the pond, a flooded Victorian clay pit, is full of aquatic plants. Toads migrate here to spawn in spring, and dragonflies and damselflies are abundant in the summer.
  • Decoy Heath, Berks - one of the best sites for displays of dragonflies and damselflies in Berkshire. At least 23 species have been known to breed around its shallow pools.
  • Kintbury Newt Ponds, Berks - these ponds are home to a breeding colony of the internationally-rare and protected great crested newt. It was the statutuory protection of these creatures that saved Kintbury Newt Ponds from being swallowed up by a nearby housing development in the late 1990s. The dense blackthorn scrub around the ponds provide perfect nesting conditions for a range of summer migratory birds.
  • Sole Common Pond, Berks - fifteen species of damselfly and dragonfly have been recorded here - keeled skimmers are abundant over the open water.
  • Upper Ray Meadows, Bucks - BBOWT has created many new freshwater ponds in this nature reserve to benefit great crested newts, which are present in other ponds in the area. This reserve also has a range of shallow pools, scrapes and ditches to help retain water and wetness into the late spring - a crucial time for wading birds to search in mud for food for their chicks.
  • Weston Turville Reservoir, Bucks - a bird hide in front of the pond complex provides a great vantage point. This is one of the only regular breeding sites in Buckinghamshire for the water rail, whose distinctive 'piglet squealing' can be heard regularly all year round.

You could volunteer with one of BBOWT’s wildlife gardening groups to get to know one of our ponds intimately.