Escrick village green pond renovation 2018

Escrick's village green was established in 1996 as part of the Carrs Meadow development.

The land is owned by the Escrick Estate, and leased to the Parish Council on 125 year peppercorn rent.  As the leaseholder, the Parish Council has the responsibility for maintenance and repairs, but in practice the Village Green Association (VGA) do most of the work (except grass cutting) - raising funds from events such as 'Dinner on the Green'.

Pond in 2015

Ducks in 2011

Although the fields that preceded the village green contained a drainage beck, the pond itself is an artificial pond created when the green was established in 1996. It was lined with a butyl rubber pond liner (some residents remember helping to pull it into place). Unfortunately over the years the liner had become damaged in several places, allowing the pond to leak, and the pond had become overgrown with fast growing invasive plants. 

By 2015, it was little more than an overgrown puddle. The VGA completely refilled the pond with water from the beck, but quickly went down, confirming the liner had failed.

The Village Green Association took the decision to completely renew the pond, and proceeds of the 2017 10k race were donated to the VGA to help fund the work. 

Instead of using a new butyl liner, clay was chosen as this should be less vulnerable to damage.

After consulting with relevant bodies, work started to clear the pond in February 2018.  This time of year was recommended as it is before nesting and spawning takes place.

The water was pumped out via the overflow drain, and reeds and weeds removed. This was time consuming due to a lot of debris in the water which clogged the inlets to the pump. Unfortunately the water-table was so high at that time, that within a few days the water had seeped back into the pond, and the work had to be put on hold until drier conditions prevailed.

After the long wet spring, work resumed in June - clearing the waste from the site, the particularly challenging task of removing the old liner and underliner, and once again pumping out the water. 

This time the water-table was low enough for it not to immediately return, but work did need to be completed expediently as the water would seep back in from the groundwater over a few days.

The first task was to remove nearly a foot of silt to create a firm base upon which to lay the clay.

Clay was then delivered to the pond edge in 12 twenty five ton lorries, and then mostly moved into position using a digger and dumper.

The clay was then puddled - or compacted - using a trench roller.  The clay was laid as a series of layers, building up to at least 12 inch thick, and deeper in places.  Under the bridge the clay had to be put in place and puddled by hand.

The opportuntity was also taken to reshape the pond - the long thin end beyond the bridge was widened and shortened, removing the steep sides that previously made maintenance of this end almost impossible. 

Over a series of days the pond took shape and was fully lined.

The drainage board had previously given permission to fill the pond with water from the beck - but the dry weather during April - June meant the water level in the beck was simply too low to be able to effectively extract water.  The next alternative was to use water from a hydrant, but the nearest suitable hydrant was on Main St ..... so after discussions with Yorkshire Water, it was agreed to use domestic hoses (via a water meter, but at a significant reduction to normal rates) 

The photo above shows the pond nearly full with 35,000 gallons of water (3 full days of filling). 

60,000 gallons were used in total to slightly overfill the pond, to ensure that all of the clay banks got fully soaked.

Further work will be undertaken over the coming weeks to establish plants in the pond, reseed the damaged grass around the pond, and establish an additional wild flower area. Work is also planned to repair/replace most of the benches and picnic benches on the green.

It is also planned to dig a new drainage channel from Carr Lane to the pond, so that the rain water that occasionally floods the green near Carr Lane, can drain down to the pond instead.