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Dragon Finder


Bentley Priory Nature Reserve

Project: Pond Restoration & Creation

Start date: December 2014

Volunteer opportunities: surveying, site maintenance

Funding – HLF, SITA landfill tax fund

Bentley Priory is a Site of metropolitan Interest (SMI) for Nature Conservation and the only biological Site of special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Harrow. A key feature for amphibians especially the smooth newt is Boot pond – a large boot shaped pond. However this is stocked with fish and thus not an ideal habitat for newts. The Dragon Finder project working with Harrow Council, Bentley Priory Conservation Volunteers and Natural England carried out some significant habitat work around the pond to help amphibians flourish.

During December 2014 a new 10 metre diameter pond was created close to the ‘toe’ end of Boot pond (which is boot shaped) using a Bentonite clay liner.  The excess spoil from this work was used to create a new 14 metre long bund across Boot pond to separate the toe end it from the rest of the pond and thereby create a new pond feature.

In spring 2015 Bentley Priory conservation volunteers moved wetland plants from Boot pond to plant up the new pond and the edges of the new pond feature to kickstart development of plants around the edge. The council  then installed new fencing to protect the new pond from the free-roaming livestock.  Together, these new fish free ponds will provide good habitat for breeding amphibians, as well as acting as stepping stones for colonisation of nearby garden ponds.

Also in Spring 2015 Froglife designed and installed an information board which tells the story of work carried out and the wildlife that could now been seen. We also trained their volunteers to survey for common lizards across the site.

Bund creation Collage

Separating the toe end of Boot Pond with a bund

New pond Collage

Creation of a new 10 metre diameter pond