We are fortunate to live in an area which is close to natural water supplies which attract all manner of water-loving creatures locally. The combination of water and the natural world has often be described as Nature in its most beautiful form.
A number of small ponds or bog pools occur naturally in Central Bog. These areas are extremly small in size and the water content is usually acidic in nature. In the past few years, a number of other pools have been created following permission from English Nature. Unfortunately, many of these enclosed pools are in inaccessible locations and are therefore mostly unseen and unnoticed on site.
Fortunately, thanks to careful planning and good engineering on the part of the Borough of Bournemouth, a well laid out and structured plan was incorporated back in the 1970`s. Using about one acre of land and carefully sloping the land into a hollow with a holding-pond, the wonderful world of aquatic life has been brought sharply into focus and can be viewed and enjoyed at close quarters throughout the four seasons of the year.
Although the dam and bridge are constructed from concrete, with also metal railings added for safety reasons, the bed of the Pond consists of natural mud as does the basin in Dragonfly Hollow. Apart from putting back the top layer of the land originally excavated, everything else here has established itself by wholly natural means over the past two decades. Back in 1982, in consultation with the then Kinson Common Management Group, all areas of the Common including the holding-pond were given names which could be easily remembered by everyone using the Common.
Pepin`s Pond is the good example of a man-made environment created primarily to prevent flooding in the lower region in central Kinson, into which wildlife has come naturally.
The Pond is located at the northern end of the Common right next door to Dragonfly Hollow, another valuable man-made creation. Since the 1970`s, this whole region of the Common has florished. Nothing was introduced. Nature arrived in its own time and has developed and evolved here at its own pace and requirements.
Two naturally spring fed streams flow through the site, meeting as one near a location known locally as the Waterfall, and flowing downstream until it enters "Pepin`s" at its south-west corner. This same stream flows from the Pond flowing openly to the Kinson School culvert. From this point it flows unseen underground before eventually emerging again and merging with a larger stream at Millhams.
Both naturally fed streams tend to carry all manner of pollutants which filter into the natural environment from roads and other sources.
These pollutants can and do affect all forms of aquatic life. For this reason, water samples are taken and analysed by the Environment Agency who maintain a welcomed watching brief on the whole region which is of high conservation value locally in Bournemouth. During the next few years more man-made measures are being taken to filter out the unwelcome pollutants using reed bed filtering systems.
Another important consideration has to be essentially important pond-dredging which is carried out during a planned cycle. Since the 1980`s, these dredges have been actioned at a certain time in year so as to cause the least disturbance to all wildlife species. The main reason for these dredges is to remove excessive mud and other vegetable matter which heavily clogs the Pond. Nature soon quickly re-establishes itself and the benefits are plain to see when visiting the site.
Canadian pondweed Elodea canadensis has spread throughout the Pond. Broad-leaved pondweed Potamogeton natans has also established itself. Water-starwort Callitriche stagnalis is also present. On the margins, Water plantain Alisma plantago-aquatica, Yellow iris Iris pseudocorus, Water cress, Branched bur-reed Sparganium erectum, Purple and Yellow loosestrife, add considerable colour and interest to the Pond.
On the banked sides of the Pond, members of the Carrot family and abundant thistles, encourage both butterflies and interesting bees and flies to this region.
Despite water pollution, up to 10 species of dragonflies and damselflies inhabit this region and the Pond margins are full of activity during the reproductive period of all species present. Emperor, Golden-ringed, Scarce chaser dragonflies are drawn to the open aspects of the Pond, as are smaller species ranging from the Common darter to the Azure damselfly, who make full use of the banksides.
Palmate newts breed in considerable numbers here. Both the Common frog and the Common toad make full use of the breeding opportunities presented within this man-made environment. All the creatures mentioned under this heading are all sensitive to water pollution. If the natural conditions deteriorate, the a forementioned species soon disappear. This is why monitoring and recording is so important on site. The Red fox and the roaming Roe deer do come to the margins to drink at quiet undisturbed periods during the day and especially at dusk.
The Pond also sustains and encourages water-loving birds to this vicinity. The mallard
Anas platyrhyncus visit and breed in this region. Moorhens also breed here. The Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinera visits for short periods in all seasons of the year. As the Pond is relatively shaded which abundant trees, this draws in interesting species such as the Chiffchaff and even the Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata. The flash of the Kingfisher Alcedo atthis always stimulates considerable interest. During november to January, even the tiny Teal, usually in pairs stay for short periods before flying away again.
Unexpected visitors to the Pond in recent years have included: Grey Heron, Water Rail, Common Snipe and Cormorant. In 2003, even the Little Egret landed on the margins of Pepin`s Pond.