Sudbury Pond, Marton, a rural pond in an urban setting

Sudbury Pond is an old farmhouse pond originally part of West Moor Farm, a part of Sir Arthur Dorman’s Grey Towers Estate prior to 1931. The pond is now enclosed within a modern housing estate built c1970s. The pond is in the ownership of Middlesbrough Council and its future existence is protected by a legal covenant as a permanent asset to this area.

sudbury pondThe pond itself is approximately 60 – 100 feet long by 50 feet wide and lies at the base of a grassed valley area approximately 300 foot long by 80 ft wide.

The depth of water in the pond appears to be seasonally variable and is dependent on water table seepage from nearby higher areas.

The pond has a surround of Typha reed (Bulrush) which, whilst attractive to the eye, can very aggressively multiply during the summer months, invading the areas of open water. This requires a constant maintenance effort in controlling the growth.

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The wild surrounds at the eastern end of the pond, beyond the Typha reedbed, are populated with dense stands of willow herb, attractively flowered in summer but dying back to brown stems in winter. This is a wonderful refuge for the many amphibians and other animal life. The western end of the pond is an open mowed play area and a wild flower area.

A variety of animals exists in and around the pond. The open water area attracts a variety of birdlife including mallard duck, moorhen, and in the past the occasional swan and heron. In summer the air above the pond is often flown over by house martins, swallows and swifts feeding on the abundant insect life. Pipistrelle bats have been observed feeding on insects as dusk falls.

The wet area and its damp surrounds support a variety of amphibian life including frogs, toads and newts (but sadly no Greater Crested Newts). Entrance holes around the banks show evidence of small mammals such as field voles and possibly water voles.

sudbury pond 3The western boundary has a substantial shrub and tree cover, primarily dogwood and willow, with a number of cultivated trees existing in adjacent garden ends. The Friends have installed a number of both bat and bird boxes in the trees.

A park bench was very kindly donated by the Nunthorpe Gospel Hall Trust and is located next to the local paved public footpath and a gravelled access path down to the water’s edge protected by a wooden palisade, ideal for children to safely feed the ducks. The pond is close to Dixons Bank and can be found by following Carnoustie Way (off Stainton Way) in Marton to the Sudbury – Thurlstone road junction (postcode TS8 9XZ)

The pond is regularly maintained by the Friends of Sudbury Pond assisted by Environmental Apprentice groups from various Councils across the region.

 

Bob Mullen, Friends of Sudbury Pond

 

Friends of Linthorpe Cemetery & Nature Reserve, by Malcolm Cummins

DSCN5484The Friends of Linthorpe Cemetery and Nature Reserve, The friends: are an amorphous group of people from all walks of life who come together with one goal, to make the Linthorpe cemetery a more welcoming and relaxing place for people, to enjoy the walks, fresh air, history, botany, wildlife and feeling of wellbeing. They are passionate about “Our Cemetery”, the desire to make it attract people to come and explore its mysteries, its flora and fauna which in some cases is unique to the cemetery. They have been doing this for a long time working away quietly and un-noticed with occasional bursts of publicity then dropping back into obscurity.

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The friends drop into many individual groups which crossover and cross fertilise, the study of the flora and fauna, the birds, the bats, the history, the cemetery is a microcosm of the history of Middlesbrough, it’s development from a hamlet to an international port/city, it’s founders, civic dignitaries, it’s people, past and present.

The friends have a plan: long term and short term, but both directed at a common aim, they want the people of Middlesbrough to be able to come in and enjoy this open space of ours (53 acres) in the middle of town, to be able to relax, sit, converse amongst themselves and with nature, conduct research if they desire. Most of all do it safely.DSCN5429

We the friends do not do it all on our own, we could not. We are ably supported and guided by the team at The Bereavement Services Department not withstanding our strongest ally Paul Holmes, our dedicated gardener who helps, aids, guides, nurtures both us and the plants whilst also doing his duties that are his day to day job. So many people have said to us Paul the gardener pointed the way out to me, told me where it was, without him I would never have found it.

Thank you for your time.

Malcolm Cummins

Vice Chair of FoLC&NR

FOLC & NR Website