Rain at last
- Date: Sunday, 29 April 2012 22:20
It seems that Britain is finally living up to its reputation of being a rather damp country by experiencing a decent amount of rain again. For the past couple of years we have been in the grip of a drought that has seen the ponds and wet places in and around Lion Coppice dry out to an extent that I have never seen before. The big pond in the woods was bone dry for the second winter in succession and pond 3 was so dry this winter that its base exhibited cracks that went down over 30cm in depth.
But it's been raining on and off for almost two weeks now and although this is nowhere near enough rain to get us back on track, it has been enough to at least partially recharge some of the ponds and ditches. The perimeter ditch on the north side of the coppice now has several inches of water and the various depressions scattered throughout the coppice contain standing water for the first time in many years. This won't last of course, but such ephemeral pools are an important habitat for many species.
Outside the coppice, pond 2 has gained a good quantity of water but is nowhere near capacity as yet. Pond 3 now has a decent quantity of water and I'm looking forward to the return of some amphibians this summer. In normal years this pond is full of frog and newt spawn, but the last couple of dry years has completely eliminated the population there. Considering that this pond had 30cm deep cracks earlier in the year, whereas it now has a good 30cm water depth, it gives some idea of the amount of water that has been draining across the area in the last couple of weeks; in fact mostly in the last couple of days.
Pond 3 at the south end of the site is now full to the brim, which probably represents about 60cm of water. There was little or no standing water in this pond over winter with its base being reduced to a springy mud that could easily be walked on. The marshy area towards the south east corner of the site is finally living up to its name and the pond at its corner, designated as pond 4, has come back into existence. Far from being confined to a small corner of the field it has now expanded to look more like a small lake. Our resident pair of Mallard ducks seem to have taken a liking to the area and look like they may be nesting nearby.
The drainage ditch running along the edge of Shillingston Drive is also sporting a decent amount of water (it's referred to as a "dry ditch" on the plans) and the "footpath" adjacent to the coppice has become a shallow stream with water visibly trickling along it towards the south-west and presumably ending up in the "dry ditch". All the water on the site, apart from the little that will be retained in the ponds, will eventually drain into Battlefield Brook.
It is interesting to compare the current water extent with the indicative plan put forward by Persimmon in their outline planning application. Right now, the whole of Avenue Square, all the houses on the south side and several houses on the north side of Eastern Avenue would be sitting in several inches of water. Indeed, there are a couple of houses sitting directly on top of pond 3. I wonder if they intend to tell their future home-owners that their properties are sitting on an area that is normally submerged during wet periods in most years. If they do get planning permission then let this page stand as testimony to their lawyers that they were warned that the area is prone to flooding.
And there is plenty more rain forecast for the coming week.
Nematopogon swammerdamella is the largest of Britain's "longhorn" moths with a forewing length of 10mm and an impressive pair of antennae each measuring 20mm. The larvae are believed to feed on dead leaves. This one was caught flying at dusk on 8 June 2013 and is the 178th moth species to be added to the species list.