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Forestry England reopens Hatchet Pond after restoration work completed with help of the Freshwater Habitats Trust and Natural England

A MUCH-LOVED New Forest beauty spot reopened today (Tuesday) after restoration work.

Described by Forestry England as “one of the UK’s most important ponds for nature”, work at Hatchet Pond had been ongoing to protect it from pollution and over-use.

Changes at the site, north of East Boldre, included moving the car park away from the water’s edge.

Hatchet Pond at sunset (picture: Forestry England)
Hatchet Pond at sunset (picture: Forestry England)

Senior ecologist for Forestry England, Leanne Sargeant, said: “Hatchet Pond is truly a special place. It is a haven for nature and home to some of the UK’s rarest species.

“It is also an important location for people to come and appreciate its beauty. Thank you to everyone who has helped to support the area and for their patience whilst the car park has been closed for the restoration.

“The work carried out will help ensure the pond will still be here for future generations to enjoy. Everyone visiting can help look after this important nature spot by sticking to the main tracks and enjoying the view without entering the water or allowing their dogs to do so.”

Hatchet Pond is the New Forest’s largest body of fresh water and is home to some of the UK’s rarest wetland plants and freshwater animals.

Described by Forestry England as the “most wildlife rich pond remaining in lowland England”, it has the highest possible conservation status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area for Conservation, meaning that maintaining the health of the pond is a legal requirement.

(Picture: Forestry England)
(Picture: Forestry England)

Restoration work began in 2019 after an analysis showed the health of the water, and plants and wildlife that rely on it, were in severe decline.

Forestry England, Freshwater Habitats Trust and Natural England collaborated to improve the pond’s condition.

A toilet block at the site was removed while improvements were made to the area’s drainage features.

Non-native carp were also removed due to the negative effect they were having on water quality, and signs were installed to advise visitors how to protect the pond.

The final stage of the scheme began in spring with the relocation of the car park.

Because of the ecological importance of the site, the final stage was carried out over several months by specialists overseen by Forestry England’s ecology team.

Forestry England thanked the public for their patience during the closure of the car park.

Visitors to the pond are urged to stick to the main tracks and not to enter the water or to allow their dogs to enter.

Forestry England said it will continue to monitor the health of the water, its wildlife and plant life.

For more information visit forestryengland.uk/wildlife-hatchet-pond

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