Slate Pits Farm is an upland hill farm near Accrington, Lancashire. The farm is on moorland fringe and has several species-rich grassland meadows, however one field contains an area of wet, rush-dominated ground which collects into a small stream. Whilst this land is of little interest botanically it has great potential as a site for new wetland creation and, as part of the Ribble Life Together project we are proposing to create a series of three shallow ponds in line with the existing watercourse.
Creating these ponds, which will provide the function of wader scrapes, will create excellent foraging habitat and shelter for breeding waders such as lapwing, redshank, curlew, moorhen and snipe. The pond will also attract other wildlife such as frogs, newts, dragonflies, damselflies, beetles, bugs and other insects who will arrive naturally and establish over time.
Each of these ponds will be designed by a specialist accredited engineer and whilst the exact shape, size and position of these ponds is yet to be decided they will most likely be a maximum depth of 1m under normal conditions with a large surface area and a shape which will maximise the length of each of the three ponds. The ponds will be planted with native pond plants appropriate to the upland setting and an access path and dipping platform will be created to provide access for educational visits.
The ponds will be located in a natural depression with a perennial water supply from natural springs and drains, reducing the likelihood of them drying out. Sluice controls on the outflows of the pond will allow greater water management, particularly during high rainfall, whilst the storage capacity of the ponds will absorb flood peaks and release water slowly.