Living World from the Archives - Winter Ponds
Brett Westwood relives programmes from the Living World archives. This episode from 2012 sees Miranda Krestovnikoff in the New Forest with Jeremy Biggs pond dipping in midwinter.
Brett Westwood relives programmes from the Living World archives. This episode from 2012 sees Miranda Krestovnikoff with Jeremy Biggs then from Pond Conservation (now known as Freshwater Habitats Trust) for a special Living world devoted to the ponds of the New Forest.
Jeremy has chosen these as some of the finest of their type because they are keep open by grazing ponies and deer, don't suffer from pollution from roads or agricultural run-off , and are some of the cleanest ponds in the United Kingdom. When they go pond-dipping , kneeling in muddy water in chest-waders, he proves it by finding some of our rarest plants and animals including the mud snail which thrives in shallow pools whose margins dry out in summer . Damselfly larvae prowl among the plants and there are even newts active in January , animals which have grown too slowly in the previous summer and are spending the winter as youngsters. Best of all, in the shallows of the pond are clumps of the year's first frogspawn, in mid -January.
This pond contains water all year round, but temporary ponds are a speciality of the New Forest. At Burley, Jeremy shows Miranda a roadside pool which fills with water in winter but is a grassy hollow in summer. Here they dip for one of Britain's rarest animals , the delicate fairy shrimp which can only survive in pools which dry out. These beautiful creatures are some of the oldest living animals on the planet, virtually unchanged in appearance from their ancestors 400 million years ago. Their eggs can survive in soil until the rains fill their ponds again in autumn and a new generation hatches to swim safe from fishes in the New Forest's temporary ponds.