The beginning of July 2022 saw the long-awaited commencement of a new wildlife pond-build with a wildflower area in Caledonian Park in the North London borough of Islington. The project, which was co-funded by Islington Council, the nature conservation charity Freshwater Life Project, and the Caledonian Park Friends Group, has been waiting in the wings since its initial proposal was put forward by Freshwater Life Project pre-pandemic, and has now sprung to life this summer thanks to the persistence and determination from the three teams.
The new wildlife zone, situated toward the rear of the park near its delightful cafe, gardening areas, and native woodland, will include a wildlife pond, designed specifically to provide valuable food and water resources, homes, and breeding grounds for native insects, birds, amphibians, bats and many other British species. It will also include a new, revamped wildflower area surrounding the pond to serve as a stop for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Despite the pond flourishing incredibly since it was installed, it is expected to really burst into life when the new season arrives in spring 2023. Many questions have arisen around the possible introduction of frogs, fish, and other creatures, but the conservation team explained that fish species native to the UK are associated with river habitats and places where water is flowing, meaning that they will not thrive in a still wildlife pond designed for other species more suited to that habitat type. A mechanically filtered home pond differs drastically from a still wildlife pond and is not suitable for fish species in the long term. The FLP team explained that they will not be introducing any species at this stage as they would like to see what species the pond can attract naturally in the first few years. This will help gain a better understanding of what species are already present locally and stand to benefit from the new habitat.
The pond area is due to be officially opened to the public at some time during September 2022 where they can enjoy the view from behind a new fenced viewing area made from recycled plastic. The area will be a dog-free zone to protect and promote wildlife, so there will be no play paddling for canines. The Caledonian Park Friends Group was keen to establish at least one area within the park that can remain a safe haven for native species and encourage local community members who may be interested in nature to make contact and get involved.