Westminster Pond and Canal
Have you spotted our ‘new’ canal, stretching out into the castle grounds?
The canal has been on our maps for a great many years. However, was so silted up and overgrown you could hardly see it. Due to the hard work and dedication of the grounds team, the canal and Westminster Pond have been de-silted! The successive vegetation was also cut back to allow for an ever-important aquatic habitat.
If still water like lakes and ponds are left for too long they will gradually fill up with dirt and debris to become marshy land. Eventually, scrubby vegetation will grow from the edges. This is then succeeded by hardy woodland species until you are left with a forest landscape! Whilst forests are vital habitats, a mixture of wetlands, woodlands and grasslands is essential for a thriving ecosystems. In the wild, herbivores such as deer or the now extinct auroch (a large cow-like creature), would prevent forest succession in areas. They do this by nibbling the shoots of new tree growth. This then allows a mix of open parkland and deep woodland across the landscape.
Aquatic landscape features and species are being threatened to a large degree. Therefore, the estate felt it was important to play the role of a herbivore. As such we prevented succession from overtaking this canal! It was great this summer to see ducklings, moorhen and coot chicks, and young herons making their first strokes across the water. We also saw dragonflies and damselflies making themselves at home. You can have a look at our data collection project here to see what else we have spotted across the estate!
To learn more about ponds and lakes, visit our habitat fact files page, or have a look at some of our other aquatic projects.