pennytown ponds lnr,
Grid ref: SK 426545
Owner: Amber Valley Borough Council
Main partners: Amber Valley Borough Council,
Pennytown Ponds Group, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Size: 4.48 ha
Main habitat types:
- 4 separate ponds with associated marginal vegetation
- Wet woodland (primarily willow carr)
- Broad leaved semi-natural and plantation woodland
- Unimproved grassland communities
Pennytown Ponds are thought to have originated as drainage ponds for the Cotes Park colliery that was once worked next to the site. This closed in the 1930s, and the ponds are now surrounded by the Cotes Park Industrial Estate.
The aerial photograph taken in 2002 illustrates how Pennytown Ponds, perhaps more than any other Community Wildspace site, is an important green oasis surrounded by industry and housing. The surface water drains from all the surrounding industry flow into the ponds, and for this reason the aquatic habitats in particular are vulnerable to damage unless the whole of Cotes Park Industrial Estate recognises the importance of the last remaining semi-natural space.
The 2 largest ponds have traditionally been fished, although pollution in recent years has reduced this to just the bottom pond for the time being. In addition to fish, however, the ponds are home to newts and toads, and an important range of invertebrate fauna. Water voles have also been recorded in the past, and every year there are a number of breeding water fowl on the ponds.
The value of the site as a whole is enhanced by the fact that the ponds are surrounded by a close mix of scrub, grassland and woodland. Two main areas of unimproved neutral grassland have been managed as hay meadows since 2001 and as well as supporting over 80 plant species they are home to an impressive array of invertebrates, particularly butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, and both grass snakes and slow worms have been spotted during 2002.
Download first page of an information leaflet for the ponds
Download second page of an information leaflet for the ponds
The key management task over the next few years will be to prevent any further pollution incidents from the surrounding industrial units. We have already begun working with the Environment Agency to promote better environmental practices among businesses, as well as looking at the feasibility of installing improved filter systems at the points where drainage water flows into the ponds.
On site, we manage the grassland areas as hay meadows, taking an annual cut in August, and are also working in the woodland to gradually remove some of the sycamore and other non-native species, in order to encourage a more diverse, native woodland.
At present, there is a disable access bridlepath that runs along the northern edge of the site. At various points there are footpaths leading off this main path and allowing access to the banks of the lower 3 ponds and onto the meadow areas on the south of the site. Seats have been installed at various points around the site.
We are currently investigating the feasibility of enabling a circular path around the bottom 2 ponds to be entirely accessible by wheelchairs.
All management work at Pennytown Ponds is steered by the Pennytown Ponds group, made up of local residents, anglers and councillors, and it is the local community who have been the main custodians of the site for many years now.
As part of the Community Wildspaces project we aim to build on this by involving schools and youth groups on a regular basis in managing the site.