On 26th July our London Dragon Finder Project held a ‘Dragon Day’ to celebrate the completion of the new ecology ponds at Tooting Common.
The weather was warm and sunny, the event ran from 11 am – 3 pm and local residents came along to join in the celebration. We would like to thank The Friends Of Tooting Common who helped with the final planting of over 200 marginal plants. Craft activities ran throughout the day from the two marquees, from painting your own model frog to sculpting your own ‘Dragon’ aka Great Crested Newt!
In the second marquee a shadow puppet show ran at set times and proved extremely popular. The show told the story of the life of a Mayfly, and was an interactive show. Each pond creature had a different musical instrument associated with it, and as each creature appeared on screen the children and adults would add the musical soundtrack, magical! At the end of the show, the children were invited to have a go with the puppets and put on their own impromptu show for the adults, even more magical!
New Ecology Pond project
An exciting project has seen the now dried-up ecology pond on the corner of Elmbourne Road and Tooting Bec Road transformed into a series of new smaller ecology ponds to encourage reptile and amphibian species to inhabit the area.
Who was working on the project?
We received a grant from the WREF (Western Riverside Environmental Fund) and the Heritage Lottery Fund to finance the project and worked with Wandsworth Council to develop the ecology ponds on the Tooting Common site. The work was carried out as part of the London Dragon Finder project, Froglife’s London-wide amphibian and reptile conservation project, which has funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund, City Bridge Trust, Biffa and Cory Environmental Trust for a 4.5-year project, and includes a wide range of similar projects across London. The project’s aim is to increase the number habitats suitable for reptiles and amphibians in London; to educate people about conservation issues and raise awareness of what people can do to help their own areas; and provide training in identification of the UK’s reptile and amphibian species.
Three new Bentonite-lined ponds have been created within the boardwalk that surrounded the old pond. The first pond is 15 x 12m and is a maximum of 650mm deep at the centre. The second pond is 10 x 10m and is 500mm deep and finally, the third and largest pond is 25 x 15m and has a maximum depth of 800mm. The ponds are sloped in from the edges (around 3:1) to create the important shallow water habitats around the sides. Initial digging was deeper as the lining material in each pond was covered with at least 300mm of subsoil.
Wandsworth council cut back the vegetation to ground level to allow contractors access to the site, but no trees were removed from it. All the spoil from the digging remains within the area bound by the existing boardwalk. Some of it was used in the base of the ponds to cover the lining and the rest was used to create a bank around one side of the ponds, between the ponds and the boardwalk – there is a gap of about a meter between the bank and the walk. Initially all work areas were fenced off to protect the public, but all the fencing will has been removed now the work is completed. The work was completed by the end of February and the contractors made good any ruts or uneven ground created by the machinery before they left.