Magpie 28 – Abbey Pond on Red Alert

Abbey Pond on Read Alert


You read it first in PIG, now the clock is ticking away for the only pond in Hulme, Moss Side or anywhere in inner city Manchester; rich in wildlife and open to anyone who cares to take a wander down to the Old Abbey pub on Pencroft Way, next  door to the Greenheys Business Centre. It may not look much at this time of year but two Sundays ago, the pond and the landscaped area (0.3 hectare), were a hive of action as volunteers gathered to give the pond an autumn clean-up. (See M.E.N. October 8th) The grown-ups were getting unwanted bits and pieces out of the deeper water and clearing away some of the surplus weed, the kids and their parents were enjoying the last of the summer sun and making up a temporary zoo in plastic beakers of all the different kinds of pondlife we found in the weed. There were still newts and tadpoles on the go, beetles, waterboatmen and wiggly creatures galore, but best of all, the children found the fearsome looking “nymph” of the pond’s star turn – the Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly, a new record for Manchester when spotted by Manchester Wildlife member and local resident, Unity Kelly, in June this year. Here was definite proof that this relatively scarce and nationally declining species (almost all our dragonflies are suffering from habitat loss or damage), was breeding in the Abbey Pond and according to a couple of ace observers from Webster and St.Wilfrid’s Junior Schools has been around for a year or two. Not even the Museum and the University Departments, who keep biological records for the area and were much involved in the creation of this site seven years ago (1985), and are five minutes away across Lloyd Street, knew that the pond now supports more species of aquatic invertebrates (26) than any of the 342 ponds in Greater Manchester recently surveyed by Dave Bentley, Amphibian Consultant from Bury, who carried out his survey on 18th August 93. With seven species of breeding dragonfly/damselfly, a regionally notable beetle (the screech beetle) as well as the many birds who bathe and feed here, you might well assume that this small site would be cherished and protected, especially in a Science Park, in the city, in Hulme with its high profile commitment to community consultation and a shiny new “green image”. // 

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