Our Pond - a Haven for Wildlife
Welcome to the Slipper Mill Pond Preservation Association. We are a registered charity which exists to preserve and protect the Slipper Mill Pond in Emsworth. Made up of volunteers, Members and Friends of the Association are responsible for the Pond's day to day management and maintenance.
The Pond is a saline lagoon, a very rare wildlife habitat, both in the UK and Europe. The combination of sea and fresh water provides a unique brackish water environment which has been recognised as a 'Site of Nature Conservation Interest' and home to many special species.
It supports a rich invertebrate fauna including two protected species - the Tentacled Lagoon Worm and Starlet Sea Anemone. It also has an interesting species of tube worm, which leaves tube-like casts, along with over 40 bird and 160 plant species, and several fish, particularly the grey mullet, which can be present in large numbers.
The pond covers an area of nearly 4 acres and was built in the 1760s to provide power to drive the Slipper Mill, one of four working mills in Emsworth supplying meal for the Navy in Portsmouth. The tidal gates are pushed open as the sea breaks over the gates, and close as the tide turns, holding back the sea water which, in the past, powered the Mill.
The mill was in constant use until the 1960s when it was sold. The Pond itself was bought by 33 local residents in 1980 off the then owners Slipper House, in order to prevent the Pond from being developed. The SMPPA Manages the Pond on behalf of the owners.
Some of the Jobs we do
A recent task included filling in a large hole in the west bank footpath, which was collapsing, possibly aggravated by rats burrowing. Social distancing was obviously observed!
The East Bank was strimmed in June, with the aim of encouraging more wild flowers.
While the Pond is drained, we have also taken the opportunity to pick several bin bags of litter from the banks, and repair the boxing around the west bank reeds.
Coronovirus COVID-19 Useful Links
Youths Jumping from Footbridge
This has been more problematic than usual this year. Following consultation with PCSO Baylee-Reed of Sussex Police, he has asked that we call 101 if large groups gather on the bridge blocking the footpath or causing a disturbance, and if there is any abuse (verbal or physical) to call 999. In this way he can build up a picture of the problem and get regular patrols to visit the area instead of just driving past Slipper Road. This will also apply after COVID-19. If you do ring please quote his name.
Dogs on Leads - 1st April - 31st August
Signs have been erected on the main paths around the pond requesting that dog walkers keep their dogs on leads, as wildfowl are breeding around the edge of the pond. This is for your dog's safety too as adult swans can get very aggressive during the breeding/ nesting season.
West Bank Footpath - One Way
The West Bank Footpath is the responsibility of the West Sussex County Council and the SMPPA has no power over its use. One-way Signs have been placed at both ends of the path, reminding the public of the social distancing rules (which are not always being followed). There are also "No Cycling" signs at either end. Unfortunately many visitors are choosing to ignore these signs, to the annoyance of many pedestrians and onlookers, but for the reasons above we are unable to enforce a closure of the footpath or take further action.
Sadly we have had to cancel all events this year - these include the Spring Talk, Summer Garden Party and Annual Dinner.
The AGM on Friday 30th October went ahead as a paper/email vote.
More details on future events and dates can be found on our events page.
Our latest (June 2020) newsletter is available here.
Other Newsletters are available on our newsletters page.
In addition we have wildlife books, notelets and postcards available to purchase here.
The SMPPA Sponsored Broomfield Schools Photographic Competition did not take place this year as the Emsworth Arts Trail was cancelled.
The competition is usually launched during February/March with presentations to the six participating schools. The private prize giving ceremony is then held in the Community Centre and the winning photos displayed during Emsworth Arts Trail and afterwards at the Emsworth Co-op.
Volunteers and friends are always welcome....
If you would like to support the work done by the SMPPA in preserving the Slipper Mill Pond, why not become a Member? Full Membership (for households close to the Pond) is £15 per annum, and Friends / Well wishers £8.
More information on our Membership page.
Tidal Gate Opening Dates
Next date: 12th November.
The Sluice Gate was opened on 12th November, in order to facilitate the repair works to the small sluice gate, which is being carried out by Nick Gates from Gates & Co based at Emsworth Marina. The large double Tidal Gates were opened shortly afterwards when the tide was high enough.
The tidal gates were last opened on the September Spring Tides as part of the pond management routine to help to flush out accumulated silt in particular. The Sluice Gate has not been opened for some time due to its poor state of repair, and due to the weakness of the Apron on the south bank.
The Pond is drained from time to time during the winter months (October-January inclusive) to help get rid of any silt, enable up-stream valves to be serviced, and allow inspection of the sluice and gates. We try to avoid opening it in other months due to the need to protect the wildlife in and around the Pond.