Historic pond to get £5k revamp

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An historic pond in the heart of idyllic downland village Berwick is set to receive a £5,000 makeover.

The village was awarded a grant to bring the pond back to its former glory by The Veolia Environmental Trust.

Berwick village received a grant to restore the pond.''Rev Peter Blee

Berwick village received a grant to restore the pond.''Rev Peter Blee

The village pond could date back as far as prehistoric times and is believed to be the reason people settled in the area.

The pond is part of the Firle Estate, which has donated £500 toward the community project.

Berwick Reverend Peter Blee and resident Bridget Harrison worked to bring the project to enhance biodiversity and benefit the community to life.

The Trust has awarded the parochial church council the grant to remove the invasive New Zealand Pygmy weed covering most of the pond, remove the goat willow growing in it and remove or cut back the larger willow trees at the pond’s boundary.

Native plants will then be planted to enhance biodiversity, and habitats created for reptiles and amphibians.

Mr Blee said: “The historic village pond at Berwick is in desperate need of work and we are delighted the grant makes it possible for this work to be undertaken for the benefit and enjoyment of those who live here and to sustain the variety of wildlife in the pond.

“The last work done on the pond was way back in the 1980s and it’s been left since then and was overgrown and silting up.

“It’s very historic, that’s the essence and it’s got a high wildlife value.

“It could be the origin of the village, it’s on a spring line, so it could be prehistoric.

“We don’t know for sure, but it could go back to why people lived here.

“So it’s about the heritage of the village as well as the conservation part of it.”

Cllr Anne Howard, chairman of Berwick Parish Council, said the council was pleased the village had received the grant.

She said: “The pond was focus, traditionally, of the village.

“So the parish council is very much in support of the project and it’s great to receive the grant.”

The Veolia Environmental Trust’s executive director, McNabb Laurie, said they were looking forward to the scheme starting.

He said: “This is great news for Berwick and the environment and congratulations to the parochial church council on their achievement. “

He added: “We have been awarding grants to community and environmental projects like this one for over 15 years now and everyone has made a real difference to people’s lives.”