A project to conserve Herefordshire’s Ice Age Ponds will culminate in a conference in Hereford next month with national pond conservation experts coming together to discuss the project’s findings and legacy, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The conference will welcome speakers covering the ecology of Ice Age Ponds, their geological origins and recent findings, carbon capture, future funding and farming with the main theme focusing on the unique assemblage of Ice Age Ponds we have in Herefordshire but also highlighting how important and overlooked ponds are generally.
The day will open with Ali Morse, The Royal Society of Wildlife Trust’s Water Policy Manager setting out the national context before project staff detail the background to the project and its findings. Also presenting during the day will be pond experts Tim Holt-Wilson of Norfolk Geodiversity, Professor Ian Fairchild and Warren Eastwood from Birmingham University, Olivia Verplanke of the University of Keele and Mike Jeffries from Northumbria University. As well as offering attendees an insight into the geology and natural history of these pre-historic ponds which are such a feature of the north-west Herefordshire landscape, the conference will also include information about how local communities and individuals can get involved in learning about and helping to conserve these important habitats today.
Project Manager, David Hutton said:
“It has been a huge privilege to be involved in this project, uncovering Herefordshire’s prehistoric landscape and working with local communities and landowners to ensure these important ponds are conserved for the future. The level of enthusiasm that has greeted the project and the number of people who have got involved as volunteers has been astounding. Ponds of any age in the landscape are so important for wildlife but these have even greater significance as their continued existence, here in Herefordshire, for thousands of years, means that they contain some extremely rare species of pond life. We are very excited to welcome people to the conference to share everything we have discovered – and hopefully inspire continued research and conservation.”
The Ice Age Ponds Project began in 2020 with aim of mapping a network of ponds which were created during the last Ice Age as glaciers retreated from north west Herefordshire. These incredible heritage ponds were created around 20,000 years ago, when mammoths were still roaming the area and, today, are habitats for many rare and unusual plants and animals. While many of the ponds, remarkably, still exist today, many more have been lost and the project worked with landowners and local communities to survey and restore a number of key sites to preserve them for the future.
The project is a collaboration between Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, the Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team and the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust and has been made possible with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The conference will take place on the 2nd of March at the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford with free tickets available to attend in person or virtually available from the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust website. Click here to book a ticket.