Toftshaw Pit Hill Pond – bringing a natural asset to life

Toftshaw Pit Hill Pond – bringing a natural asset to life

Family pond dipping

A small group of dedicated citizens in East Bierley are keen to look after a special local place. The Friends of Toftshaw Pit Hill want to give some love and attention to the woodland, grassland, hedgerows and pond of Pit Hill. They’re aiming to bring life back to this natural asset, so it can provide a habitat for wildlife and joy for local people all year round.

The group are embracing the opportunity to access the Growing Great Places crowdfunding programme, run by the Democracy Service at Kirklees Council and our partners Spacehive. They hope to get enough backers for their project to help with restoration of the pond. This will stop the pond drying out, improve access and increase people’s enjoyment of the site.

Through a labour intensive process of digging out the pond, creating reed beds to improve the water quality and constructing accessible paths, they hope to create a place that people of all ages can come to enjoy the wildlife. A dipping pond will allow safe access for exploring the pond and new benches will provide a space for quiet contemplation.

Steps along woodland path

The aim isn’t just to restore and improve the use of Pit Hill itself, but to foster a stronger sense of community and sense of place amongst local people, who can become more involved in the site overall. Leading on the development of the project, Vivienne Cochrane told us how the project can benefit local people:

“The area around Toftshaw Hill Pit is very built up. The woods and pond are a natural asset that’s underused at the moment. Planting wildflowers and replacing fencing are constant little things we do that make a difference, but bringing the pond back to life and rejuvenating the paths will really transform the place.

“All of a sudden it will be somewhere the local Brownies, Scouts and Cubs groups can visit, along with local schools like East Bierley First School and Birkenshaw Primary. The pond will become an attraction for wildlife which will mean a better opportunity for these young people to learn about and enjoy the natural environment.

“But the opportunity reaches the wider community too and families will be able to walk in the woods. Maybe the young people will be able to teach their parents a thing or too.”

Save our pond poster on lamp post

At the time of writing, over 30 citizens have already made pledges towards the £8,287 Toftshaw Pit Hill Pond Project’s crowdfunding target. In recognition of this local support, Kirklees Council have pledged £5,000 through our Growing Great Places programme.

This is a great start and the group hope more people, organisations or local businesses will also get involved and back the project.

Vivienne says: “It would be great if local businesses could make pledges to the fund or donate things which will help us make the most of this opportunity to bring to life a place that all the community can enjoy.”

Support this project, or start your own crowdfunding campaign in your local place, with Growing Great Places:

Toftshaw Pit Hill Pond Project

Growing Great Places – civic crowdfunding

2 thoughts on “Toftshaw Pit Hill Pond – bringing a natural asset to life

  1. Careful! Have you had a newt survey done on the pond in spring? Ponds that dry out are a vital habitat for Newts as they don’t contain fish which prey on young newts. Don’t think that all ponds have to look nice to be great habitats!

    1. Hello Pete,

      Here’s an update from one of the project volunteers:

      I have over 35 years’ experience working in practical nature conservation field and have built & managed countless wildlife ponds in my time.

      There is great value in “ephemeral ponds” that hold water for most of the year and only tend to dry out in July / August.

      This does not pose a problem to frogs, toads and newts as the have completed their full life cycles and no longer need open water.

      Sadly the Toftshaw pond has an irregular water supply and is too shallow to hold water for any length of time.

      For the past few years, frog spawn has appeared in March but within weeks the site has dried up and all the spawn has died.

      The Toftshaw pond has been surveyed and monitored over the past few years and it has been drying out by late April which is a critical in the amphibians life cycle.

      The proposed improvements are designed to deepen part of the site in the hope that this will hold enough water to allow amphibians and other pond life to complete their full breeding cycle.

      Any proposed work on the site will be carried out in late summer through to early autumn which is outside the breeding season and generally considered the best time for this kind of work.

      I hope this answers your concerns.

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