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Meadow Wetlands and Ponds

Wetlands 1 cdt Willie Robertson.jpg

Image credit: Willie Robertson

There are eight ponds within the wetland area to the west side of the River Cray not far from Foots Cray Lawns and between the Five Arch Bridge and the Penny Farthing Bridge. There are warnings that the water in these pools is more than a metre deep in places.

Dogs must be on a leash to accompany people into the gated wetland – separated from the rest of Foots Cray Meadows by traditional post-and-wire fencing. The area is intended to protect wildlife and promote the development of animal, birds and invertebrates, including newts, toads, damselflies, their eggs and larvae.

The Meadows themselves are an important breeding ground for invertebrates such as insects, which are a key food source for many birds, amphibians, and reptiles. The plants also provide food and a habitat for small mammals.

There are 57 species of dragonflies and damselflies regularly found in the UK – 18 species have been recorded in FCM – the vegetation encroachment in the ponds is not helping this.

The species that will survive and grow in a wetland meadow will depend on how it is managed. It is important that the area is kept moist during prolonged dry periods though a little drying out now and again will do no harm

Wetlands are an area of beauty that aid biodiversity. They store carbon and support an abundance of plant life, which in turn provide perfect shelter, nurseries and breeding grounds for many forms of wildlife.

The area is rich meadowland flowers and grasses as well as attracting varieties of moths and butterflies. Grasses and plants that appear throughout the seasons include:

  • Bluebells

  • Field penny-cress

  • Red champion

  • Greater stitchwort

  • Common mallow

  • Herb Robert

  • Common restharrow

  • Birds foot trefoil

  • Salad Burnet

  • Wild mignonette

  • Germander speedwell

  • Goose grass

  • Woodruff

  • Lady’s bedstraw

  • Heath bedstraw

  • Common marsh bedstraw

  • Yarrow  burdock

  • Common knapweed

  • Lily of the valley

  • Heath speedwell

  • Fairy flax

  • Garlic mustard

  • Red dead-nettle

  • Lesser celandine

  • Common vetch.

Further details of these plants can be found on the website of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland.


For further information and identification help with Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) go to the web-site of the British Dragonfly Society.

Wetlands 2 cdt Willie Robertson.jpg

Credit: Willie Robertson

Explore more

This area is just one part of Foots Cray Meadows. Learn more about the other interesting areas that you can discover.

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