Ponds are seasonal or permanent water bodies up to 2 hectares in area. Priority ponds are those which have habitats or species of high conservation importance, high ecological quality, or are recognised for their age, rarity or landscape context.


Photo: Alison Wright

Why are they important?

  • Over 1000 animal species live in ponds, and whilst they are widespread in the UK there has been a drop in numbers.
  • They are important for invertebrates including dragonflies, snails and water beetles.
  • Ponds provide habitat for stoneworts (complex algae), which are amongst the most threatened groups in the UK.
  • They provide breeding habitat for amphibians including the Great Crested Newt which has declined throughout its range.

Ponds in Sussex

A pond survey is currently underway in Sussex to identify those ponds which can be considered as priority ponds and to produce an inventory of their status and wildlife interest.

What are the threats?

  • Pollution from fertilizers, heavy metals, silt and other contaminants.
  • Loss due to drainage, infilling or development.
  • Non-native or damaging species of plants and animals.
  • Neglect resulting in succession to dry habitat.

Some associated species

  • Daubenton’s Bat Myotis daubentoni
  • Palmate Newt Triturus helveticus
  • Great Diving Beetle Dytiscus marginalis
  • Medicinal Leech Hirudo medicinalis
  • Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus
  • Bogbean Meyanthes trifoliata

Common Frogs

Photo: Darin Smith/Sussex Wildlife Trust

Advice on ponds

After Minerals
Pond Conservation
Sussex Wetland Landscapes Project