Well, we only went and won, and today we received the official trophy and certificate from the Rural Business Awards for the best social enterprise, charity or community interest company in the whole of the North of the UK. What a beautiful acknowledgement of all the hard work that the staff, volunteers and centre users undertake on a daily basis here at the LionMouth Rural Centre. Proud of each and every person who takes the time and puts in the effort to help this place grow and glow!
Deep in the heart of the LionMouth site sits a large puddle of murky water. We call it the Monks Pond, as it was once used by the trainee priests (not Monks at all) from Ushaw College just up the hill as a swimming facility. Pictures show it with diving boards and changing rooms and it was apparently fully tiled out at one stage.
Over the years the bricks from the tumbled down changing rooms have been taken and used for other buildings, nature has reclaimed the square edges and decades of fallen leaves have silted the pool floor. Today it sits as a stagnant pond surrounded by tall willows and blackthorn. In more recent times, moorhens have nested on it and frogs have been spawned there, but this year the activity has slowed right down.
We have decided that it is time to start taking remedial action. The first step was to involve the Environment Agency who gleefully came and took and array of samples. With Oxygen levels nearly zero and pond weed, water hog lice and leeches being the main inhabitants we were worried about inflow from the fields and land drains up above, and had sought out expert advice on how to reduce this from The Wear Rivers Trust. However, it seems that the stagnation has just been a result of time, mud and leaves, and nothing chemical or algal.
Hopefully, all our frogs, toads, moorhens and much more wildlife will quickly make their way back to our Monks Pond.