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.
Tidal Gate Opening Dates
Next date: Saturday 11th January
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We plan to open the gates on Saturday 11th January and close them the following Wednesday, depending, as always, on atmospheric pressure. We need to flush out accumulated silt from the main channels using the last opportunity to drain the pond before the forthcoming breeding season.
We will also be sealing the sluice using canvas on its upstream side to maintain water levels over the summer in anticipation to refurbishing it in the autumn.
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 Pond was previously drained in late October, September and January 2019, and before this in October and September 2018, when the Highways Agency inspected the structural integrity of the underside of the culvert connecting Peter Pond with Slipper Pond, and work was carried out at Peter Pond on the Lumley Road drains.
Death of a Swan
The sad news that the pen swan has died spread quickly on Friday 8th November. Over the years she had reared many broods of cygnets notwithstanding having her nest washed out, predations of the Greater Black Backed Gulls and the many attacks by dogs not on leads. That afternoon our special search team could find no trace so it was assumed that, in similar incidents in the past, some kind person has addressed the issue.
Not so as 4 days later David Gattrell came to say that the carcass was in the reeds close to the Lord Raglan. We duly retrieved and disposed of it appropriately.
We were delighted to see the arrival of 5 goslings at the end of April
with thanks to John & Angela Brown and Debbie Cairns for the photos.
...and 4 cygnets and several ducklings in early May
(photos thanks to Debbie Cairns)
The footbridge at the South end of Slipper Mill Pond was strengthened and a timber balustrade installed in 1993 but recently it has needed many repairs. After the urgent replacement of one of the sections of the top rail last summer it was decided that action needed to be taken before the spring.
Following discussions with the West Sussex Rights of Way team and others, a complete redesign of the bridge proved too costly and would have caused much delay. As the uprights on the bridge are considered to have some ten years of life in them, it was decided to replace all the horizontal members only.
The work was done using our own volunteers who had suitable experience. Materials and fixings were chosen carefully bearing in mind that the end product was expected to last as long as the posts. In the end we spent about £1,000 on materials as against professional offers in excess of £4,000, a considerable saving.
Work took around 5 sessions, starting at the end of February. The bridge was not closed as at all times we posted a watchman to warn the team to allow free passage for users of the public footpath. In reality it provided welcome opportunities for a breather and relaxation, a chat with passing friends, interaction with assorted dogs and an admiration of babies in prams as they crossed the bridge.
The refurbished footbridge - with grateful thanks to our volunteers as ever
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 (May 2019) newsletter is now 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 is now in its 9th year.
The competition will again be launched during February/March with presentations to the six participating schools. The private prize giving ceremony will be held in the Community Centre on Friday 1st May 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.