Pond enthusiast digs and digs…

5 October 2001

Pond enthusiast digs and digs…

"EVERY winter it filled up very well and every winter it went down equally well to just a small puddle."

James Bouskell is describing one of the 15-plus ponds, most of which hes created in the last 30 years on his Hants farm.

James is recalling how, after attempting to line this pond with clay a decade ago, it worked for a few days but then the chalk pulled through. More recently, it was drained again and lined with more clay, but it still leaked in the summer.

So earlier this year – his patience exhausted – he dug out the clay and lined it with plastic. "A serious sea of mud," is how he describes the view from the house at the time of construction.

But it has proved worthwhile. After its "chequered and very frustrating career", its now Jamess favourite pond on the place. "It took 20 years to get it right," he says. "The work was done in the worst possible conditions. But it has been a great success."

At the other end of the scale meanwhile – both in terms of size and trouble – is the small ornamental pond set on the bank above the house at West Park. "It is the cheapest pond on the place and by far the most successful," says James.

"It was dug by a driver in the time between lunch and tea, while he was waiting for his transporter to take him away. He had just dug the big pond above it when we struck, just by chance, the only piece of pure clay in the whole field."


James Bouskell at West Park, which recently hosted a unique open day on pond creation and management. Pictured below is his favourite pond – one which was only lined in March.

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