The wildlife pond on Victoria Park can be found within the eco-area to the south-west corner of the park. It was created around the same time as the eco-area, itself mainly to support and encourage the development of bio-diversity on the park. It is not primarily an ornamental or recreational pond of the type more typically found in public parks and it is not always seen as an attractive feature of the park, particularly when it dries out as part of its natural cycle in dry summer periods.
It is probably true to say that the pond has had a chequered history. To be sure it has attracted different forms of wild-life and the information boards at the pond give interesting details of the different creatures that may be found within it.
In addition, water birds sometimes take up residence there and pairs of ducks can frequently be seen. The associated wetland areas and reed beds also support wildlife of different kinds.
Litter and Weed
Alongside this, though, the pond has also been a depository for road signs, cans and bottles, discarded cardboard, and other litter which unfortunately tends to blight public parks. There is also evidence of a fire on part of the boardwalk. It has also suffered badly in recent years from parrot feather weed, an invasive species thought to have been introduced by a member of the public. The parrot feather develops rapidly, inhibits the growth of other flora and fauna, and quickly comes to dominate the pond. It is difficult to overcome the parrot feather and the only current way of combating it is by manual clearance, although even then re-growth is very likely.
Fighting Parrot Feather
A considerable contribution to the effort to remove the parrot weed has been made in recent years by student groups from the University of Leicester. That effort continues in 2016, and we should all be grateful for the contribution they make. The Friends Group is planning to help this year with pond clearing and litter picking to help maintain the pond area as an attractive feature of the park,
We are also working with park officers and the bio-diversity team to explore ways of improving the pond area and maintaining a higher more stable water level in the pond to reduce the drying out periods.