In November 2015, ABC Electrification invited Alway Primary School pupils to attend a biodiversity educational session at Lliswerry Pond which involved pond dipping and a Bird Brain Quiz.
Supported by the ABC environmental advisor and Thomson Ecology, 46 pupils attended over the course of the morning.
Janine Burnham from Thomson Ecology said, ‘The children had a fantastic time exploring the pond life; despite the autumnal weather they caught a number of species, including water hog louse, fresh water shrimps and water boatmen, and really enjoyed learning about them all.’
Also in attendance at the morning’s event were Welsh Assembly Member for Newport East, John Griffiths, and Councillor Ray Truman for Alway Ward – both of whom are keen supporters of Lliswerry Pond.
Peter Martin of South Wales Swan Rescue also briefed the children on his charity’s endeavours to support injured swans and explained how the pond was a haven for such animals.
Lliswerry Pond alongside the mainline railway in the Alway area of Newport, was formed when an underground stream was struck during quarrying excavations in the last century. The area flooded and produced Lliswerry Pond, which at its deepest is 25 feet.
The pond, surrounded by flora and fauna, is now a remarkable oasis for the local community. The pond is well stocked with fish and it is an area well known for the large pike who inhabit the depths. Other wildlife which use the pond include swans and Canada geese. Moorhen, coot and other types of duck come and go throughout the seasons, with local birds competing for nesting spots in the surrounding cover.
The local angling association, New City Anglers, led by their Chairman Pat Bill, now manage the pond and are supported by many local community members.
As a principal contractor for Network Rail, ABC Electrification are undertaking works on the main line adjacent to the pond. ABC is developing and nurturing positive relationships with the line-side neighbours, as community relations are key for the smooth-running of the project.
Lliswerry Pond had been experiencing flooding issues for a number of years, caused by a blocked reen – or drainage channel – that ran between the pond and the Great Western Mainline.
In October 2015 the reen was cleared just before the winter season. Pat Bill said, ‘We are grateful to Network Rail maintenance and the support of ABC in getting the reen cleared, this ensures that the pond is fit for use all year round regardless of the weather’.