Petitioners slam dried-up pond as ‘neglected mess’

From left: Ric Aparicio, John Clarke, Carole Whitham and John Whitham
From left: Ric Aparicio, John Clarke, Carole Whitham and John Whitham

A dried-up village pond has been neglected, according to petitioners fighting to clean it up and refill it with water.

Only last month, Rudd’s Lane pond in Haddenham was home to several ducks and villagers would enjoy feeding them.

Rudd's Lane pond

Rudd's Lane pond

But since it dried up, ducklings have gone missing, birds have been getting stuck in the mud and passers-by have been appalled by the state of the pond – packed with silt and branches.

Pensioner Carole Whitham, who lives opposite the pond with her husband John, collected more than 130 signatures to urge Haddenham Parish Council to restore it.

The £10,000 recovery work is due to start on Tuesday but she thinks the north of the village is neglected in favour of Church End, where filming of Midsomer Murders often takes place.

She said: “It’s a mess. It used to be a beautiful pond.

It’s a mess. It used to be a beautiful pond”

Carole Whitham

“The number of people I saw walking past it and shaking their heads – that’s why I started the petition.”

Ric Aparicio, 49, who lives next to the pond, said: “I just think it’s a shame.

“They talk about it being a ‘best kept village’ but surely that’s the whole village?”

John Clarke, 81, who also lives opposite the pond, has put out containers of water for the ducks and moorhens.

Rudd's Lane pond

Rudd's Lane pond

He used to top up the pond with water, filtered down Rosemary Lane from the fields, and stored in pipes.

But six weeks ago, the parish council decided it was too expensive to use the emergency tap.

He said: “It can look nice, the pond.

“I would top it up if it needed it but they told me to stop. They need to sort out the willow tree, the brick wall at the back is a bit tatty too.

“It happened 25 years ago and I helped sort it out then.”

Margaret Aston, chairman of the parish council, said with ‘all fingers crossed’ the work will start on July 21.

Asked whether the north of the village is neglected, she said: “We have spent no money on Church End pond at all.

“We are delighted that at long last that we have put some money together for Rudd’s Lane. It’s costing £10,000 which is no mean sum.

“We are also meeting with a tree surgeon and a contractor will be clearing all the silt from the pond.

“It’s just one of those things.”

Les Stocker, founder of Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in the village, said nurses have been making regular trips to the pond but ‘the birds seem fine’.

He said: “They are not in any distress and we can’t capture any birds that are not injured. That’s the law.

“Why it’s happened? I don’t know but it’s always sad to see a pond dry because we are losing so many of them.

“Lots of them are being filled in and it’s the frogs and toads which suffer the most.

“Unfortunately, that’s life and ducklings do get taken. That’s nature.

“It could have been a dog, a cat, a heron, all sorts of things.

“But if anyone is worried, they should come and talk to us – to put their minds at rest.”