Why you should visit Over Kellet Pond
PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 September 2019
Over Kellett Pond shouldn't be overlooked - it's home to important plants and animals. Alan Wright finds his way to Lancashire Wildlife Trust's smallest beauty spot
You would think searching for a nature reserve among the narrow lanes of the village of Over Kellet would be an easy thing in such a small place, but I managed at least two three-point-turns before I found Greenways.
And then I came upon the most delightful wildlife haven, just on the edge of the village, where open fields stretch out behind the homes.
To some, Over Kellet Pond would be just that, a pond, but to wildlife this is a vital place to grow and survive. It is also a Biological Heritage Site, making it really important for local creatures.
While farmland touches the edges of the village, Over Kellet Pond is a tiny 0.11-hectare remnant of wetland habitat, which was a lot more prevalent in past times. Former agricultural practices led to a lot of land in Lancashire being drained and farmers are now working with conservationists to increase wetland areas.
However, the site is under severe threat as there are plans for housing in the adjacent fields to the south and east.
And if you want to see how wetlands work in one "bite-size" spot, look into the dark waters of Over Kellet Pond and you will be amazed at the wonderful wildlife you can see.
The first thing I noticed was how bright, green and yellow the pond looks. Yellow iris is dominant around the pond but there is a mass of wetland plants like marsh cinquefoil, bog pondweed, horned pondweed and bladder sedge. Bladder sedge is there too, a vulnerable species in Lancashire.
Under this carpet of plants is the perfect habitat for five species of amphibian. First of all, there is our favourite the common frog, joined by the stocky common toad. Then we have the newts - smooth, palmate and great-crested, the latter being, famously, a protected species that can hold up roads and housing developments by its sheer presence.
Around the water's edge, purple loosestrife joins the irises and there is cuckooflower, great willowherb and a range of reed species. I found some ragged robin to add to the splashes of colour.
Expect to find 19-spot ladybirds and guelder-rose leaf beetles feeding among the vegetation, while white ramshorn snails slide around at the water's edge.
Sedge warblers have an urgent chatter that fills the air and that brightest of all our birds, the kingfisher zips in and out of the water.
In the evenings soprano pipistrelles feed on the insect that buzz over the waters of the pond.
You will also see a lot of garden birds, robins, blackbirds and starlings making the most of this wild oasis and roe deer and fox will drink from the pond's waters in the early morning.
I am not suggesting that you can spend a day out at Over Kellet Pond, but finding it is an adventure and I lost a couple of hours just staring into its lush flora and its dark waters.
One thing is for sure, size does not matter for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and we cherish and care for Over Kellet Pond with the same love that we give to giants like Warton Crag, Brockholes and the mighty mosslands.
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying north of the River Mersey. It manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 Local Nature Reserves covering acres of woodland, wetland, upland and meadow. The Trust has 29,000 members, and over 1,200 volunteers.
To become a member of the Trust go to the website at lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129.