Designing new ponds for wildlife

Penny Williams, Jeremy Biggs, Antony Corfield, Gill Fox, Dave Walker, Mericia Whitfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


As our understanding of pond ecology has grown, it has become possible to modify some of the old principles of pond creation, and to design and locate ponds so as to increase their potential value to wildlife. It will not be possible to incorporate all new design features into all schemes, and in many waterbodies (clay- or butyl-lined ponds, for example) physical or other constraints may mean that application of more sophisticated recommendations are not appropriate. Nevertheless, it is valuable to reiterate some of the most general principles of pond design which should be applied where possible: i Water pollution will limit the wildlife value of almost any pond, however well designed. As such, it is worth considering carefully (a) if pollutants are likely to reach a new water-body; and (b), if they are a potential threat, how areas around or within a pond may be designed to minintise pollutant impacts. ii Pond mosaics will generally be far more valuable for pond wildlife than single ponds, particularly where the complex incorporates variations of waterbody permanence and size. iii Extending these wetland complexes by creating ponds near to other existing waterbodies may help to increase landscape connectivity for wetland species, and in the long term this should help to maintain existing populations. iv Good knowledge of pond water levels is the essential basis for any detailed shaping of shallow pond areas, and taking time to gather hydrological information is worthwhile because of the great wildlife potential of shallow and temporary water zones. v Finally, keep an eye on new ponds in their early colonising stages, when a little management may positively benefit the long-term diversity and potential of the pond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Wildlife
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes


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