Hevers pond is a permanent spring fed pond on the southern end of the Village off Outwood Lane and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is an important habitat for many species of animals and plants. In 2008 it became clear that the pond was deteriorating and Bletchingley in Bloom persuaded the Parish Council to facilitate managing the pond with help and advice from relevant bodies with the objective of it becoming an educational resource for local schools and an area where people could sit nearby. Following discussions between the Managing Agents and the Parish Council both parties finally agreed to enter into an agreement based on a renewable Licensing arrangement. This took place in the Summer of 2010.
It is hoped that the local community with the support of the Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group (SARG), who will advise on habitat management, and the local branch of the Wildlife Trust, that we can preserve this asset. At the same time create a greater awareness of the importance of Hevers Pond, its water cycle links with the countryside and transient ponds throughout the area.
In the latest torchlight survey undertaken on the 14th of March 2011, it showd that five Britain’s seven native species of amphibians are present and breeding in Hever’s Pond; and they are common toad, common frog, smooth newt, palmate newt and great crested newt. The other two native amphibians (but not present at Hever’s Pond) are natterjack toad and northern pool frog. Other animal species that have been recorded in the pond include coot, moorhen, mallard, water scorpions (harmless bugs), caddis flies and their larvae, and various water beetles (Including a Nationally Scarce water beetle Rhantus suturalis).
This is Britain’s largest and rarest newt species, sadly declining due to habitat loss including loss of ponds which these animals use to breed in. Because of their endangered status, the great crested newt is a European Protected Species and it is illegal to deliberately disturb, handle, catch, harm or kill newts, eggs and larvae. In addition to this it is illegal to damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place used by a great crested newt.
Great crested newts are large dark coloured animals with bright yellow/orange and black bellies. In the spring the males have impressive jagged crests along their backs and tails. The local name for this impressive animal is the ‘King newt’.
Hever’s Pond and its surrounding habitat are used by common toads for breeding, foraging (finding food) and hibernating. Many years ago Outwood Lane and other tracks leading to the pond were used as a major migration route in spring by common toads as they travel to the pond to breed. Hundreds of toads were recorded each spring, but sadly the numbers of toads have declined for reasons unknown. Unfortunately, many British amphibians including common toads have been declining, mainly due to habitat loss including filling in ponds.
For more information on Surrey’s amphibians and reptiles, and sending in sightings of amphibians and reptiles visit Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group website www.surrey-arg.org.uk
Please report any problems with Hevers Pond to the Bletchingley Parish Clerk on firstname.lastname@example.org