new pond full of water

In an earlier article, we introduced the first phase of our long-term project to better manage water on the estate. The first phase of this work is now complete, and we’re very happy to share that we’re already seeing some positive impacts for water storage, which will in turn support wildlife. For example, the new pond that we have created near Frenchlands Copse, in the east of the estate, is already full after recent rain. This ‘peak flow’ seasonal pond will hold a large amount of water back before returning it to the ditch system, slowing the flow of water across the estate. Similarly, we’ve re-established an ancient, seasonal pond in the north-west of the estate, which will capture rainwater and run-off from the field before encouraging it into the nearby ditch when the pond is full.

This first phase of water management work was supported by Surrey Hills National Landscape and Surrey County Council’s Flood & Climate Resilience team.

Sarah Thiele, Programme Manager for the Surrey Hills National Landscape, said: “The Surrey Hills National Landscape is delighted to be a partner in the West Horsley Place water management project, which is taking a coordinated ecosystems approach to land and water management across the estate, delivering benefits for wildlife and for people. This approach is at the core of the Surrey Hills Management Plan and demonstrates the benefits of collaboration across multiple agencies.”

Work to deliver this initial phase of our long-term collaborative project has been funded by the Flood & Climate Resilience Team, with a focus on ‘quick wins’ and addressing issues of immediate concern.

Owen Lee, Project Manager for SCC’s Flood & Climate Resilience team, said: “This is a great opportunity to bring different partners together, identify where our goals overlap and deliver a scheme that benefits everyone. Simultaneously reducing flood risk in the winter, reducing drought and fire risks in the summer, and improving biodiversity all year round is the start of a more holistic approach in responding to climate change. The Flood & Climate Resilience Team is pleased to be a part of this endeavour, which we hope to continue in many more sites across Surrey.”

It will be interesting to see the embankments green up as we enter spring, and to see what birds, insects, and other wildlife visit and inhabit these new bodies of water over time. Future phases of work will bring in a broader range of partner organisations, with considerations including tree planting, natural regeneration (where trees and shrubs self-seed and spread), and restoration of the medieval fishponds, all of which will support biodiversity and ecosystem resilience both on and off the West Horsley Place estate. We look forward to sharing our exciting progress.