Mayford Heritage Pond at Mayford Green
The original pond was filled-in during the 1920s with spoil from when the adjacent houses were built. That pond, which was much larger, was sited further back towards the garden wall of Sunhill House and would have been across the driveway to the old vehicle shed with the green doors.
In 1997, the World Wide Fund for Nature set up a national pilot scheme to re-establish lost village ponds and Mayford was chosen as one of the first ten villages to take part, of which, only Mayford's pond had totally disappeared from the map.
The villagers of Mayford were approached by Woking Borough Council and the Surrey Wildlife Trust in March 1997 to see if we would like to take part in the scheme. At a public meeting in the village hall attended by over 100 people the project was put forward, discussed, and a vote held. The majority of those present decided it would be worthwhile and names of willing volunteers to carry out the work were given to the council’s countryside officer at the meeting.
Out of this a steering group, which became the Mayford Heritage Pond Group, was set-up to oversee and carry out the planning, development, procurement of materials, and practical work needed to see the project through. From May to September 1997 the pond was designed, all the legal issues dealt with, and the materials needed were located and procured from a budget of some £4,000. Some of the materials were donated by local companies and the council also match-funded the project.
In September 1997 the actual physical work of creating the pond began and virtually every weekend was spent working on the pond, come rain or shine until it was filled-up in November that year. Each weekend the group were assisted by a total of nearly 50 volunteers over the period. Once the general shape of the pond had been established by an excavator, the profile was defined by hand to stabilize the banks. It then had to be lined to make it waterproof as any natural impervious layer had long since disappeared.
Firstly the pond was lined with old carpets on top of which a butyl rubber liner was laid. On top of this went a layer of Hessian that was then covered by a layer of sieved soil. Finally a thin layer of sand covered the soil to prevent it from washing away when the pond would be initially filled-up, which was kindly done by North Surrey Water. After a few days standing, to allow some of the chemicals present in the mains water to evaporate, the planting of the pond and its surrounds with native flora began.
In 1998 Woking won the National Prize for the Britain in Bloom competition, and in 1999 won the southeast Regional Prize. On both occasions Mayford Pond was singled out for praise by the judges in their marking comments. Also in 1999, the pond was commended by the Canadian judges in the World in Bloom competition.
Mayford Heritage Pond was designed, planted, and is managed for the benefit of the local wildlife that now lives there, and also for the enjoyment of the local community.
You may have noticed over the past four or five years that what had been a somewhat neglected area around the pond has been cleared of old vegetation and some of the larger bushes, and a scheme of annual maintenance has been put in place.
The first clearance was done by a band of 14 volunteers on 18th February 2017, having taken advice from Surrey Wildlife Trust and the Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group, and annually since then (except in 2021) a small group has carried out selected thinning and removal of overgrown vegetation. A Society member has also done minor work and grass cutting throughout the year, but the general plan has been to keep the area looking as natural as possible, enabling the wildlife to exist undisturbed and residents to enjoy a place of calm. The Society organises other working parties from time to time, so that this area will remain as a place for relaxation. We endeavour to maintain it as an attractive space which also encourages wildlife.
Please let us know if any Great Crested Newts are spotted! Kip Punch