Ponds have a unique fascination all of their own – but then you knew that already. Why else would you be looking at this site? That said, no matter how much any of us know, there’s nothing quite like coming across a little extra information or a new bit of interesting trivia, particularly if it makes us look at things differently.
So, with that in mind, here’s a few fast facts about British ponds, their history, wildlife and value to the economy, at least some of which you probably didn’t know and which hopefully will give you a slightly different insight into your hobby. Four facts in four sections, offering a total of 16 snippets of fascinating, though admittedly largely useless, pieces of information that might, just might, one day let you shine at your local pub quiz – unless you get asked to be on QI first!
- 1000-year-old Anglo-Saxon dew ponds are still in use in parts of the country to provide water for stock animals.
- In mediaeval times, the word ‘pond’ didn’t have anything to do with size; it was used for any artificially created body of water, however big.
- Around three-quarters of the ponds to be found in England and Wales in the 19th Century were lost during the 20th – a loss of 600,000 ponds by the 1980s.
- In 1996 – a particularly dry year – one in four of Britain’s ponds dried out; in 2007, which was much wetter, only one in 20 did.
According to government research, on average there are roughly two ponds for every square kilometre in Britain – but their actual distribution obviously varies across the country.
Pond enthusiasts really are doing their bit; in the ten years up to 2007, an estimated 18,000 ponds were lost – but a staggering 70,000 new ones were created!
According to a recent survey, one in every ten British gardens has a pond or water feature.
One in ten ponds contains at least one plant species officially regarded as an “invasive alien”!
- Ponds are great homes for fish, of course, but they also support about two thirds of our native freshwater species of plants, invertebrates, mammals and amphibians.
- A pond can contain examples of virtually every single major group of animals on the planet.
- Within two years, a new pond can become as valuable a habitat as one that’s been around for half a century!
- The common frog is a major success story when it comes to making use of garden ponds and today it is the most common amphibian to be found in the UK.
The UK pond equipment market was worth around £37 million in 2008 and is forecast to approach £45 million by 2014.
Soft and rigid pond liners have a 26 per cent share of this, general accessories including fish food and water treatments 23 per cent, pumps 22 per cent and filtration systems 18 per cent; the remaining 11 per cent is largely spent on self-contained water features.
Flexible liners are slightly more popular than rigid ones; around three out of every five new liners sold are flexible.
The financial crisis of 2008 hit pond equipment, reducing sales by around five per cent, but the bounce back began in 2010.
One thing’s for sure – there’s a lot more to all this pond-keeping lark than meets the eye!