Dew ponds

We spent the best part of our two-week holiday in England based in Eastbourne, at the eastern end of the South Downs Way. The topography of the area is wonderful and the chalk downs of the South Downs Way make for an amazing, windswept landscape.

Because my husband grew up in the area, he knows it intimately, and he had things on his list that he wanted to show us. Dew ponds were on the list, and we spent a lovely time exploring one just outside of Eastbourne near Beachy Head lighthouse.

Dew ponds were first used in England in the fourteenth century I believe, and were intended to provide watering holes for livestock. On the South Downs, in particular, the chalk ground makes it very difficult to collect rain, as the chalk is very porous and absorbs water, and so clay-lined dew ponds were essential for providing a steady source of water for sheep.

Naturally, dew ponds are a great haven for wildlife in general, and create wonderful spots where frogs, dragonflies and other small creatures can exist. Soulsby Farm recently published a post on How to build a rain garden, which ties in extremely nicely with the focus of water conservation and dew ponds. I recommend you go have a read.

5 thoughts on “Dew ponds

  1. Recently, I found a post on building rain gardens by Soulsby Farm – A Very Small Farm blog when I saw your comment which mention dew ponds. Blogging is such a wonderful adventure…like being in virtual History and Geography classes!

    1. I love the connections to be made in this way, and the opportunities for learning, as you note! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment.

  2. Sounds like it was a very special trip! Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time. 🙂 And dew ponds (I checked out the link) look like a great natural way to help the environment. I so enjoy hearing about things and ideas like dew ponds, which have served people so well for so many centuries. Fascinating. One reason why, someday, I hope to visit Europe myself!

    1. It was very special; I felt quite superstitious about it as we had a wonderful trip five years ago (our last time back in the UK) and I was nervous that this trip wouldn’t live up to the last one. It was nice to be wrong about that! Dew ponds were a revelation to me and so sensible as you say. The learning to be gained from travel is amazing.

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