Fleet Pond Society
Fleet Pond is Hampshire's largest freshwater lake. It measures 52 acres and is surrounded by reedbeds, marshes, wet and dry heathland and woodland.
The total area of Fleet Pond Nature Reserve is 141 acres, of which 118 acres is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The reserve provides a sanctuary for a rich community of animal and plant life.
Fleet Pond is also a site of historic interest and is described as "the great fishery of Fleet Ponds" in the 1324 Rolls of Account of Crondall Manor. It was probably created by the deliberate damming of natural watercourses in order to provide food in the form of fish and water fowl.
The Fleet Pond Society was founded in 1976 by local residents concerned at the deterioration of the pond and surrounding area. Their objectives were to preserve and maintain Fleet Pond and stimulate public interest and appreciation for the nature reserve.
Over the years, nearby developments have caused the pond to become dangerously polluted with silt and other contaminates, putting its status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in jeopardy.
Large quantities of silt from MoD land have been carried down the Gelvert Stream and entered the pond on the eastern side. On the western side, waste from domestic and industrial sites has flowed into the pond along the Brookly Stream.
In 2010, the Fleet Pond Society launched the Clearwater Campaign to help raise funds to tackle the problem. Working alongside the pond’s owners, Hart District Council, and other stakeholders, such as Natural England and the Environment Agency, they began to develop a plan to dredge areas of the pond and create new islands from the dredged silt.
Between 2102 and 2014 thanks to major grants from Natural England and the Environment Agency, work was completred on the first phase. Over 20 islands were created from dredged silt in the first phase of the project.
Funds from the Clearwater Campaign have been spent on dredging and landscaping Sandy Bay, a popular beauty spot at the pond; building a pond dipping platform; topping one of the islands with gravel to attract terns and little ringed plovers and building a new viewpoint on the eastern bank of the pond.
Fleet Pond Society’s Clearwater Campaign needs to raise more funds for further dredging, planting the new island with reeds, controlling the growth of certain invasive species and generally improving the visitor experience.