Ponds, water and ferns

The Top Pond is full in the winter months

The seasonal Top Pond in the corner of the Upper Meadow adds to the diversity of the habitat, but lack of light has hindered new species coming in. For this reason the trees were cut back a few years ago. This pond was probably created for cattle to drink from. A footpath leads from the pond across the fields to Chipping Sodbury.

The Lower Pond in winter

The smaller Lower Pond is almost invisible in a thicket in the Lower Meadow. The process of natural succession is gradually changing the damp area into a small piece of woodland. Again this pond dries out in summer and forms a “green room” that intrigues local children.

The ditch between the meadows. Taken in April – you can just see bluebells behind the fallen log.

The Nature Reserve and Common have a complex pattern of ditches. Many of the ditches follow the traditional “bank and ditch” pattern. If you see a ditch with a bank on one side, the ownership boundary is normally on the edge of the ditch away from the bank. This is because a farmer digging a ditch would have to put the earth on his own side, not his neighbour’s.

The Male Fern is the commonest fern in the damp patches within the Ancient Woodland
The Hartstongue Fern is the only British fern that has undivided leaves. It is also frequently found in the Ancient Woodland.

Some of the drainage is not as obvious, for example sloping damp patches in the Lower Meadow. The seasonal stream that crosses the Ancient Woodland vanishes at the edge of the trees, but if you look closely you can see a depression across the Common where it flows underground on top of a layer of impervious rock.