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Marconi Ponds revival backed by council grant

A pond that had become overgrown has been restored and is the central feature of a Chelmsford nature reserve – thanks to the work of a dedicated group of enthusiasts and a grant from Chelmsford City Council.

Marconi Ponds (People With Nets)

On many Saturdays over the past few years, a committed team have been hacking back nettles and brambles, improving paths and shoring up the banks of the pond. The work has created a peaceful wildlife haven a stone’s throw from the centre of Chelmsford. At the heart of the reserve is the pond which gives Marconi Ponds Nature Reserve its name.

The area is managed by volunteers, including the Friends of Marconi Ponds, with help from Chelmsford City Council parks volunteers. It is kept up for the enjoyment of the community and to support of wildlife.

The banks of the pond had deteriorated with time and the edging needed to be reinforced. Aware they could not come up with the cost for the work, the volunteers turned to the council. Their application for money from the Greener Chelmsford Grant scheme was successful and work began last year.

After lots of hard work, the volunteers and park staff could show off the results of their work when they held an open day for the whole community.

Volunteers lead Marconi Ponds recovery mission

Graeme Jefferies, from Friends of Marconi Ponds, explained that the pond edging wall was built 10 years ago and needed to be restored. And over time the posts and gravel boards had deteriorated. The bank had started to collapse and become overgrown.

Marconi Ponds volunteers were joined by a group from the council’s parks team. The vegetation was removed and a foundation laid. Following this pre-seeded green bags filled with soil and sand were deposited, and eventually nature will cover the bags. Backfill was added behind the bags to create a solid structure.

Once the bank had been built, re-cycled plastic fencing was installed for safety purposes. A thin layer of topsoil has been added to help growth.

“This is now a wonderful amenity open to the community, where children can learn and experience nature, especially through the activities held in the reserve. It was amazing work by a group of volunteers supported by the City Council.

And recently we welcomed visitors at our open day, when they enjoyed a host of activities. As well as pond dipping, which is always popular with youngsters, there was build a bird box, face painting and more. We’re proud to be a ‘rural retreat in central Chelmsford’ with so much to offer, and we’re grateful for the council’s support.”

Graeme Jefferies, Friends of Marconi Ponds

“Climate change affects us all. But we can all make a difference with local action, and Greener Chelmsford grants can help your neighbourhood. These grants will support a wide range of projects to benefit people, our district and our planet.

We also want to hear from groups that might not have considered green initiatives before, but are inspired to make a positive change, whether it’s to a local community hub, green space, rooftop or concrete corner. We welcome bold, creative ideas – thinking ‘out of the box’. Please share your vision for a Greener Chelmsford with us and apply today!”

Cllr Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford

If you are involved in an activity to support the community, you may be eligible for capital funding for ecological and green initiatives. Find out more about the Community Funding Scheme.

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Charlotte Maltby
Charlotte Maltby

Charlotte writes about the environment, parks, recycling, business, planning, public realm and democratic services.