Are ponds disappearing?


Wildlife websites and leaflets still quite commonly make statements like:

‘In the wider countryside ponds are disappearing…’

‘With natural lakes and wetlands disappearing from the countryside at an alarming rate…..’

‘…in rural areas….natural ponds are fast disappearing due to modern farming practices…’

Are these statements true?

Well……er……no, actually.

The most recent surveys of the ponds in Britain’s countyside – which Pond Conservation helps the Government to run – show that pond numbers are increasing.

All the information we have shows that the big losses of ponds that took place during the 20th century have now stopped – though of course some ponds are still filled-in, more new ponds are made.

BUT – and there is a huge  ‘BUT’……

The state of most of our half a million ponds is TERRIBLE – let me say that again:  T – E – R – R – I – B – L – E.

In England and Wales (information in Scotland hasn’t yet been analysed) 8 out of 10 ponds are in Poor or Bad condition – on a 4 point scale of: Good, Moderate, Poor, Bad.

Only 1 pond in 10 is in a good condition – although that’s still a lot of good ponds – some 50,000 – that it’s important to look after.

But the rarity of a good, clean, rich wildlife ponds in most of the countryside never ceases to shock me.

[For chapter and verse see this link to the Countryside Survey].

For those interested there are more excellent photos like the one above at:


5 Responses to “Are ponds disappearing?”

  1. katie graczyk Says:

    great article! I was interested, how do you feel about the Million Ponds Project, do you think it will succeed, and what more do you think could be done? I’ve written an article on this for my blog and wonder what someone who is more knowledgeable on this subject thinks!

  2. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Hi Katie

    I very much hope the Million Ponds Project will suceed – if it doesn’t I’ll have some tought questions from the sponsors to answer!

    But seriously, there are so many people out there who love making ponds that I think we’ll achieve our aims without too much difficulty.

    We just need to make sure that people really get the clean water message.

    What more could be done? Well, we’re only trying to the the first 5000 in the next 4 years – so there’s a lot more to be done after that.


  3. Adam Says:

    I really liked this article! Now most of this information is for Britain’s country side, but do you know anything about the United States? Are they in the same situation? Are there programs set up by Britain’s government that would allow landowners to get money for increasing the quality of the pond(s) on their land?

  4. Rob Smith Says:

    Hi Jeremy,

    I’m a web designer and I have a client who really like the photo of the South Downs Dew Pond used in this post. Could you let me know where you got it from and if it’s available to use?

    Many Thanks

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