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The Ponds


About 15 years ago, a number of ponds could be found in the dune slack areas. These areas remained wet throughout most of the year, supporting wetland plants such as Marsh Pennywort, the less common Narrow-Leaved Reedmace, Meadowsweet, Wild Mint and three or four species of orchid, including the Heath-Spotted Orchid and the Marsh Helleborine.

In recent years, due to a lowering of the water table in the area, these ponds have dried out completely or become dry during the summer months. Investigations have shown that the water table exists at a depth of about half a metre below the surface and a number of ponds have recently been dredged. The ponds are now beginning to re-establish with plants such as the Common Reedmace and Gypsywort.

A rich invertebrate fauna is associated with the wetland habitats with fourteen species of dragonfly having been recorded in the area, including the Hairy Dragonfly and the Ruddy Darter. Beetles are also well represented, with many notable species, such as the nationally rare Greater Silver Diving Beetle.

The Sallow bushes growing nearby provide protection and food for many insects, including the larvae of the Buff-Tip Moth and the Lackey Moth, whose caterpillars leave a tent of silky threads behind, when they hatch. Many smaller insects, such as Greenfly, find Sallow a suitable food plant and consequently a variety of insect-eating birds can be seen feeding around these bushes. Two nationally rare species of Soldier Fly are also present.

Beach Safety [106.08KB] Somerset Wildlife Trust Natural England Burnham-on-Sea.com The UK Biodiversity Action Plan