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The Horsepond Restoration Project

 

Project Update 25th June 2019
The volunteers would like to show their appreciation to everybody who has supported the restoration project. In just  four months we have managed to raise over £6,000. A massive thank you to all who  have contributed in so many ways . 
Phase 1 will begin next month  around the  17th July.
Let the planting commence!

 

Project Update 9th May 2019
It was great to meet so many people by The Horsepond last Saturday during the Eat Cary festival. We managed to raise another £270 through donations on the day so thank you.
We are now in planning discussions with the Dorset Water Lily Company and are hoping to start the first phase of the planting of the pond late May early June, so watch this space..
We have updated the "thank-you" page with the names of all those who have contributed so far to the project.
Best wishes, The Horsepond Restoration Project volunteers.

Project Update 24th April 2019
We are delighted to report that we have received  over £4000 in donations since the launch of the project. We can now start planning phase 1 of the planting which we are hoping to start in the next 6 to 8 weeks. 
We will be in and around The Horsepond on 4th May during the Eat Cary Festival. Please pop along and say hello and we will be happy to give you a personal update on the project. The target is almost achieved.
Thank you again for all your support.

Project Update 12th April 2019
It's been just over a month since the launch of the project and we have received in  excess of  £3,500 in donations.
Please keep donating as the target is almost in our reach. 
Thank you from The  Horsepond Restoration Project Volunteers.

We've got a mention in this month's Mendip Times ...
www.mendiptimes.co.uk

The Project
The Horsepond, one of the main historical features of Castle Cary is in need of restoration to return it to its former glory. 
As a small group of volunteers, over the past two years, we have been trying to control the highly invasive blanket weed in the pond through safe chemical treatments and hard work (raking out the blanket weed whilst retaining the “healthy”/oxygenating weed). 

We have also tried to maintain what’s good in the pond by controlling the water flow out of the sluices. 
Slowly life is returning to the pond and we have recently seen water shrews, small coarse fish, shrimp, waterboat men, dragon fly and the occasional newt. There are also two elderly goldfish, probably escapees from the local carnival fair!

Our ambition is simple, to restore The Horsepond to a self-sustaining eco-system through the introduction of oxygenating plants that can give life back to the pond. 
Through discrete planting (lilies, marginals and reeds) we can bring colour and beauty to the town centre and more importantly life to the pond. It will be a place to stop and ponder (no pun intended) as well as a fitting backdrop to remember those who lost their lives in two world wars.

 

The Problem faced
It has taken over two years to get on top of the blanket weed but without the introduction of  plants into the pond it will soon take over and re-establish itself.
The Horsepond has a slow but constant flow of water from springs coming off Lodge Hill. The flow helps to oxygenate the water but is not sufficient enough to prevent the growth of the blanket weed (Spirogyra).
The flow of the Horsepond is difficult to influence but reducing the surface area where light can interact with the algae spores that form blanket weed can help to keep the weed at bay or at least slow down the speed at which it grows. By planting healthy oxygenating plants such as lilies, reeds and marginals the surface area for direct sunlight to penetrate can be significantly reduced, blanket weed can be put in check, a stable eco-system established and wildlife and aquatic life can return and thrive in the pond.

The water quality has been tested by a qualified hydrologist who assures us that it is clean enough to drink..

Blanket weed can grow at a tremendous rate when conditions are right. 
In very high light levels with high levels of nutrients, blanket weed can grow at over 2 metres per day! 
In the summer, heat and high light levels coupled with the slow flow are perfect conditions for the weed to grow; and in The Horsepond  it grows at an alarming rate. Blanket weed is a pernicious weed; it rapidly raises the pH level of the water, taking oxygen out replacing it with carbon dioxide, which effectively suffocates life in the pond.

 

Dream to Reality
In order to turn the dream into reality we need to raise £4,500 funds for a three phase planting scheme. We have approached local aquatic plant providers who have supplied us with costings for the entire project (plants, containers, anchoring points, and planting compost) to create a natural, tasteful and self-sustainable pond whilst restricting the growth of  blanket weed. We would also want to update the railings around the pond.
The planting would take place over the course of three years from the launch of the project. The ideal time to start planting is in the spring and our first target is to raise sufficient funds for phase one by April 2019.  

 

We are hoping to raise money through donations as well as through fundraising events throughout the course of the project.
Please follow the link to the Make a donation page for more information on how you can help.

We have the backing of the town council who will be monitoring the project throughout. The council will also be the custodian of any donations or contributions to the project ensuring that all monies are spent only on the project and financially accounted for.  

Information updates on the project can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HorsepondRestorationProject
and the town council website www.castle-cary.co.uk  

 

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