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Dragon Finder

London

Ham Common Woods

In January 2017 Froglife worked alongside Richmond Council to create a new 12m X 5.5m pond in Ham Common Woods. This ‘large pond’ habitat is much needed to increase both the biodiversity of the surrounding woods and to provide a perfect habitat for the declining Common Toad to thrive.

A recent study by Froglife and partners from The University of Zurich in Switzerland has shown that on average common toads have declined by 68% over the last 30 years in the UK. In some areas, such as the south east of England including London, declines have been even more pronounced. This pond will provide a much needed spawning area for toads which currently winter in the woods, thus eliminating the need for them to cross roads which they currently do to reach their breeding pond.

Ham Common Woods 16 Feb 2017 (COLLAGE 5)

Figure 1: After Veolia Environmental Trust awarded us £8600 for the work, the sign was up and we got started!

After the precise location was decided, Richmond Council’s Arborist removed some trees and overhanging branches, creating an open area for the pond to be placed. Then our ecologist marked up the outline of our new large pond, ready for the excavators to come in and begin removing the soil. All of the pond edges were created with gentle slopes, allowing both a wider range of habitats from varying water depths and varying vegetation and to allow easy access to any wildlife that may visit the completed pond.

during pics hcw

Figure 2: Shaping, then excavating our pond

All of this work didn’t go unnoticed, as one local resident noted that hopefully these new ponds will help their local toads!

Ham Woods on Twitter

Figure 3: A tweet from one of the local residents about the national #ToadsonRoads campaign.

We returned to the site on Thursday 16th February and held two workshops. In the morning a species identification and pond management session was delivered to 15 local residents which included Cllr Jean Loveland and members from Ham & Petersham Association, Richmond Society and local toad patrollers.

Ham Common Woods 16 Feb 2017 (COLLAGE 3)

Figure 4: A new cohort of herpetologists ready to get identifying and recording any amphibians and reptiles they find in the area!

Each person received an information pack at the end of the session. In the afternoon the format changed slightly as the local Forest School learned all about amphibians, their life-cycles and the importance of the new pond for toads. They then found out how to create a dead-hedge and the tools used.

Ham Common Woods 16 Feb 2017 (COLLAGE 1)

Figure 5: Some of the volunteers beginning the dead hedge that surround the pond

Running simultaneously throughout day The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) began creating a dead-hedge around the new pond. This will reduce disturbance to the pond as well as being a new habitat for wildlife to take refuge.

Ham Common Woods 16 Feb 2017 (COLLAGE 2)

Figure 6: The volunteers collecting brash for the dead hedge, and cutting it down to sizes that fit better into the new hedge line

Overall, 3 ponds were created at Ham Common Woods; one of which was the large central pond and then a further two smaller ponds.

Ham Common Woods 16 Feb 2017 (COLLAGE 6)

Figure 7: Two additional, smaller ponds created nearby in the open area

Ham Common Woods 16 Feb 2017 (COLLAGE 4)

Figure 8: The before & after photos of the main pond at Ham Common Woods. Thanks to all those that was involved in created this wonderful new habitat!