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Gosforth Valley balancing pond gets new lease of (wild)life

The Gosforth Valley balancing pond and wetland area in Dronfield, known locally as ‘the swamp’, has undergone a dramatic remodelling to improve flood attenuation and attract more visitors to the urban wildlife haven.

After years of neglect, the Lea Brook Valley secured a biodiversity fund of £48,500 from Yorkshire Water to transform the wetland site into an oasis for wildlife, with help from local volunteers.

The site was officially re-opened on Saturday 11th May, with Local MP Lee Rowley in attendance to celebrate the occasion.

Located just off Gosforth Drive, the balancing pond was created in the early 1970s to protect Dronfield centre from flooding during heavy rainfall. However, the area was gradually overgrown with invasive reedmace and became under-used.

The recent ground and conservation work, which took over a year and a half to complete, has resulted in the excavation and deepening of the open water area with the planting of common reed around it to improve the wildlife habitat. A decking area has also been created overlooking the wet pond for visitors to enjoy, with picnic tables installed near to the dry pond.

The Rt Reverend Dave Walker, Chair of the Lea Brook Valley CIO, said: “The balancing pond and wetland area serves an important dual function to store flood water to protect homes and provide a habitat for local wildlife such as butterflies, birds, squirrels and voles. The excavation and deepening of the open water means that Dronfield is more resilient to storm events. We hope the flora, fauna and wildlife habitat improvements will also encourage the local community to re-connect with this special urban oasis.”

As part of improving the wildlife habitat, volunteers planted a significant amount of trees, shrubs, wetland meadows and hedgerows.
Ben Aston, environmental advisor at Yorkshire Water, said: “It has been mutually beneficial to partner with the Lea Brook Valley CIO to breathe new life into the balancing ponds and revamp this green area. The opportunity to enhance the landscape with habitat improvements will help to provide a sanctuary to local wildlife for years to come.”

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