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 7 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.
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. Official looking signs have been fixed at both ends of the path declaring the bank to be one way, reminding the public of the 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.
New Arrivals - 28th April
The first goslings of the spring have arrived, and are being watched closely by the swans that continue to harrass the adult geese. The swans have nested in the reeds close to Slipper Road but there are no sign of any cygnets yet.
With thanks to Rob Turner and Jim Hailstone for the photos.
In mid-January we were at the mercy of two storms with high winds, a tidal surge of about 90cm and two flood warnings for the River Ems. There were no problems – the extreme tides covered the banks and fortunately were not high enough to flood upstream properties and the River Ems coped with the additional flows.
On the other hand the central bird raft split and doughty volunteers took to the water to repair it.
As an initial stage of the Sluice gate refurbishment project Nick Gates from Emsworth Marina has now fitted canvas on the upstream side to reduce leakage this summer (see photo).
Tidal Gate Opening Dates
Next date: September
The gates were last opened in mid January using the last opportunity to drain the pond before the forthcoming breeding season.
In the coming Autumn we will be opening them again during Spring Tides as part of the pond management routine to help to flush out accumulated silt in particular.
The Pond is drained from time to time during the winter months to help get rid of any silt, enable up-stream valves to be serviced, and allow inspection of the sluice and gates.
The Annual Dinner held at the Brookfield Hotel at the end of November was a big success. The food was excellent and we hope that you enjoyed the new format of entertainment.
Thankyou to all of those who joined us and helped raise over £650 in funds for the Pond.
We hope to see lots of you again next year - the date is Friday 20th November 2020.
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.
Sadly 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.