Northampton residents uses own spade to refill pond at Bradlaugh Fields

Jo Almond and her family digging a trench to divert runoff water into the depleting pond in Bradlaugh Fields
Jo Almond and her family digging a trench to divert runoff water into the depleting pond in Bradlaugh Fields

A resident has taken her own steps to replenish a pond that shrank after repair work was done on a leaking pipe that had been topping it up.

Mother-of-two Jo Almond, lives next to Bradlaugh Fields in Northampton, and came up with an idea to help refill the pond during a rainy day last week.

Seeing that heavy rainfall tended to flood the area near some allotments above the pond, before draining away, she decided to dig a small trench and a dam to divert the overflow into the pond.

It took Mrs Almond about half-an-hour to dig the three-foot, shallow trench and she said that, with the recent heavy rainfall, it appears to have been working quite well.

Mrs Almond said: “I was walking past the area to take my boys to school and I noticed how all that flood water was running off to nowhere alongside the drained pond, so I decided to get my spade and a bucket and build a small trench to divert it.

“My main concern was that this pond is a main breeding ground for amphibious wildlife who need that water.

“I acted on instinct, just as you would if you saw a person in an accident who was struggling to breathe. You wouldn’t stop to think about whether you might get in trouble.”

Although Mrs Almond did not obtain permission from Northampton Borough Council, which owns the land, she said: “I have made sure the trench doesn’t obstruct anyone or interfere with the 
allotments, as I have one myself.

“I have lived in the area for 15 years and walk my dog in the park so I know the land well.”

Northampton North MP, Michael Ellis, who has contributed his support for restoring the Bradlaugh Fields pond, said: “We need to work towards a sustainable solution and that will require professional intervention.

“Even well-intentioned help may be better directed towards assisting the involved bodies – such as the Friends of Bradlaugh Fields and Anglian Water – to find the best way to restore the ponds to how they were before, so that they can be enjoyed by everyone.”


Water diversion systems to restore the ponds at Bradlaugh Fields are being planned, but have yet to be put into action.

In response to Jo Almond’s hand-made trench initiative, Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for environment, Mike Hallam, said: “Bradlaugh Fields is a wonderful park that means a lot to a great many people in Northampton, so we are always delighted when people want to get involved in helping to preserve the park. However, the last few weeks have shown how small changes to the water table can have unexpected consequences later on. So we would ask anyone who wants to help, to join the discussion with the Friends, the council, Anglian Water and the Environment Agency so we can work together to restore the ecology of Bradlaugh Fields.”