R17092 New Lease Of Life For Ancient Abbey Ponds 1

A five year plan to help preserve 12th century fishing ponds at Redditch’s Bordesley Abbey will start in October.

The two fishing ponds, once a food supply for the Cistercian monks that lived at the ancient abbey, will be cleared of unplanned ‘self-set’ trees and overgrowth at the rate of 20 per cent a year over the next five years.

Redditch Borough Council asked Historic England for permission to clear the vegetation, after concerns were raised about the overgrowth at the ponds.

Strict rules apply to the abbey as a nationally scheduled Ancient Monument, and so while the maintenance works have been permitted they are limited to 20% a year due to the disruption they will inevitably cause at the protected site, and must leave the actual substructure of the pools themselves unaffected.

The borough council has now commissioned the site’s land manager to dig out a fifth of the overgrown vegetation this year.

John Godwin, head of Redditch Borough Council’s Leisure and Cultural Services, said: “We’re excited to be able to restore the abbey pools but we want to be clear that it’s going to be disruptive in the interim. It’s likely to be a bit of a mudbath, which is unfortunately just the nature of this kind of wet, heavy duty work.

“The heavy vegetation must be removed while the actual shape of the pools themselves must remain unaffected.”

Once removed, the vegetation will be banked up near the pools while it dries out and wildlife finds new homes, before being processed on-site to be used as mulch.

Pictured above and below: the overgrowth in the ponds, which are near to popular walking routes.

R17092 New Lease Of Life For Ancient Abbey Ponds 2