Monday 24 February 2014

Planning ponds and water management

Following on from my last post about our water supply I've ended up reading loads of stuff about permaculture again. Really sorting out the water supply issues on the land is one of the first things we need to do. I mentioned at the end of that other post that I wanted to dig a well at the top of the land and maybe supply a pond from that - and I certainly want to do that now!

All the well known permaculture practitioners and teachers seem to have ponds and aquaculture as a key part of their land designs. Water is such an important key for life, for the regeneration of soil, for the transport of nutrients, for the support of biodiversity, for the capture and storage of energy, and much more besides.

I've bought an old engineer's level from Ebay and I plan to survey the land so we can identify good places to create ponds and ways of linking them together, as well as systems of swales or hugelkulture beds. I can't buy detailed contour maps of our land as far as I know and the image quality from Google Earth isn't great, so it's hard to visualise at the moment, but I've dug out a few images that convey some sense of the lie of the land:
View from NE, from neighbour's field.
This gives a good image of the S-N down slope of our meadow.
This is from the N. The seasonally wet foreground isn't ours.
Getting towards the top of our plot, looking NW down over the farm
buildings towards the sloping meadow. There's also a lesser slope down from W-E.
From the same spot as the previous photo, facing SW. The high point
of the land is in the birch plantation, about 200m N of our southern boundary.
The dream at the moment is to have a pond near the top of the land, one or two more near the house, leading down to the meadow where we will hopefully create a series of swales planted with fruit trees and shrubs and nitrogen fixers and perennial vegetables with enough space between the swales to graze animals or cut hay (and more ponds in the meadow too).

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