Written by Jade Walton, Transforming Lives Trainee
Autumn and winter are the perfect times to create your own wildlife pond in your garden. Whether big or small, a pond dedicated to wildlife can be hugely beneficial to the wildlife in your area.
To support amphibians, it is best that the pond you create is at least 2 metres in diameter to give them ample space for breeding. Shelves of different water depths are also beneficial to create habitats for a diverse range of pond invertebrates. However, do make sure part of your amphibian pond is at least 60cm deep to protect any future amphibian inhabitants from extreme temperatures.
The next step, once the pond is dug, is to use the appropriate liner. This could be made of rubber, clay, PVC, or you could use a preformed pond made of plastic or fibreglass. To fill your lined pond you could either wait for it to fill naturally with rain over the winter months, or use appropriately treated tap water.
After the pond has filled, you can either wait for it to naturally populate with plants, or you could plant it up yourself with specific local pond plant species to encourage our amphibian friends.
Then comes the wait. It is likely your pond will quickly become home to invertebrates such as water snails and beetle larvae, but it may take a little longer to attract amphibian populations. You may get lucky and have amphibians breed in your pond in the spring after its creation, but do not be disheartened if it takes a few years. Your pond has much value beyond being an amphibian breeding and hunting site. It will support a plethora of underwater invertebrates and will provide drinking water for your local mammal and bird populations.
Some frogs may overwinter at the bottom of the pond and so need some consistency of water temperature. Should your pond freeze over, it is advised to gently brush away any snow as this blocks out valuable sunlight used by your pond plants to create oxygen. This is the best way to prevent winterkill in frog populations. Be sure not to crack the ice with force, as this can cause harm to all pond inhabitants.
Be sure to let us know how you get on!