Ponds and streams



Ponds are a valuable wildlife resource, providing essential water to birds and mammals that come to drink from them, as well as being a habitat themselves, supporting aquatic plants, invertebrates, amphibians and mammals.

Invertebrates found in ponds with good water quality include dragonfly nymphs, caddisfly larvae and damselfly nymphs, and diving beetles, water boatman and water scorpions.

These reveal a different world below the water line, where the ferocious dragonfly nymphs feed on unsuspecting invertebrates, and where caddisfly larvae are underwater architects, building their portable homes using silk to bind it all together.  

Amphibians including common toads, frogs, smooth, palmate and great created newts live in ponds during the spring and summer months for breeding.

Ponds are an important habitat for the playful otter that may use ponds as fishing areas, or places to rest during the day. 

Ponds also have a diverse range of plants like spiked water-milfoil, water-starwort and yellow water-lily which are typical of deeper water, and soft rush, creeping bent, greater pond sedge and yellow iris are more characteristic of shallower, marginal areas.


Streams offer a slightly different habitat to ponds, being naturally dynamic with a constant or seasonal flow of water.

They are particularly important as corridors for mobile species such as the otter and kingfisher and also support a range of plants and animals that depend on running water, including young trout and salmon, the larvae of the golden-ringed dragonfly, and also white clawed crayfish.

The constant movement of water along the stream bank causes a scouring motion which can alter the course of the waterway.

The sand and shingle habitats created by these slight changes, along with the marginal and bankside vegetation, all form part of the stream habitat and affect the wildlife that they can support.