I came across Frensham Little Pond when I was visiting Watts Gallery recently in Surrey. I mentioned it in passing to The Hound and of course, he immediately wanted to visit – well water, trees, undergrowth, other dogs – what’s not to love for a friendly doggie?
Both Frensham Little Pond and its sister, Frensham Great Pond (see this Thursday’s post) were originally created by William de Raleigh, the Bishop of Winchester (King Henry III was on the throne) as a readily accessible fish supply (carp mainly) for the Bishop and his entourage when they were visiting nearby Farnham Castle.
It was formed by building an ironstone wall across a shallow valley and damming a stream entering the southern end of the pond. Formerly known as Tancred’s Mere or, in some ancient plans, Crowfoot Pond and covers 37 acres with the dam being around 80m in length. The dam was built of ironstone from the Farnham area and was renovated in 2013.
It’s had several owners since the Bishop’s time of course, including the last, Mr Atherton, who acquired the land in 1949 and who bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1974 to preserve the area as a wildlife sanctuary. It had been emptied in the Second World War to stop it being a landmark for the Luftwaffe and was used for tank training!
The Bishop’s (and Mr Atherton’s) legacy to us today means that there are two beautiful lakes and countryside in which to hike, to fish (with a license) or simply to wander around, taking in their natural beauty.
From the National Trust’s website: Around the pond you can spot many common and rare birds, such as reed bunting, sedge warbler and great crested grebe, as well as nightjars and woodlarks. There are damselflies and dragonflies darting over the glistening water in warmer months, and the banks of the pond are fringed with a multitude of yellow iris, purple loose-strife and common reeds. I will take their word for it because with a little barker in tow, our walk is strangely missing any sightings of nearby birds.
What we did see however, was a beautiful swan and her cygnets parading protectively up and down the lake. Having experienced an angry swan in childhood, The Hound was swiftly put on a lead and we retreated a safe distance – only watching in amazement as a family of four seemed to risk misadventure by allowing their toddlers to breezily approach this group. A few hisses & wing flaps later, they soon learnt their lesson …
Anyway, enjoy your walk along the lakeside, through ancient oaks and fragrant pines with a mosaic of heathers, gorse and bracken all around. It’s a very important area for rare and endangered wildlife and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation.
Don’t forget to climb up Snowball Ridge for a lovely countryside view. Oh – The Hound gives this walk his four paw seal of approval.
Frensham Little Pond, Priory Lane, Frensham, Surrey, GU10 3BT – access if free to all. Follow the National Trust on Twitter: @NationalTrust @SoutEastNT and The National Trust on Facebook.
Contributor & Photographer: Sue Lowry
Follow A3Traveller on Twitter: @A3Traveller and Sue Lowry on Google +, YouTube, Linkedin, Flickr and Pinterest. I also operate another blog for my company, Magellan PR – http://www.magellanstraits.com. They can be followed on Twitter: @MagellanPR, on Google+, on YouTube, on Pinterest and on Facebook.