Hundreds of residents braved the cold for the official reopening of the Mill Pond.
Visitors to the beauty spot wrapped up warm and enjoyed guided walks around the Mill Pond, tours of Ifield Water Mill, Crawley Model Boat Club’s first regatta of the year, bird box making, arts and crafts on March 20.
Other activities included dogs being microchipped for free by Crawley Borough Council’s Community Wardens, information from Crawley Angling Society, Gossops Community Forum and the Bewbush Action Group and the 2nd Crawley Scouts raised money by selling refreshments.
Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing, said: “It was a wonderful event and a very enjoyable day. More than 300 people visited Ifield Water Mill, many of whom had lived in the neighbourhood for many years and never set foot inside.
“The Mill Pond is a beautiful area and will look even better in the coming weeks as flowers start to bloom.”
In 2011, the council asked residents what enhancements they wanted to see in addition to the construction of a new dam, which was required following changes in legislation. Almost 90 per cent of respondents wanted to maintain the natural area and wildlife. They also wanted to keep the same volume of water in the Mill Pond to allow the restored Ifield Water Mill to continue working.
The 18-month construction work included:
• A new dam near Ifield Mill, including a new spillway with a pass for ducklings and cygnets and another for eels
• New and improved footpaths, cycle paths and boardwalks, including a 310-metre boardwalk in the south pond
• Fish and ducklings from the north pond relocated to the south pond to allow the draining of the north pond
• De-silting of both the north and south ponds
• An extra car park off Gossops Drive for 10 vehicles.
Clay to construct the new dam came from the bed of the north pond. This was replaced with some of the excavated silt, which has also been used to form a new island in the Mill Pond and extend the western bank of the south pond. The remaining silt was taken off site to improve agricultural land.
Cabinet member for environmental services and sustainability Colin Lloyd said: “The improvement works have been a huge success, protecting people from flooding while enhancing the natural beauty of the area. It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the Mill Pond on Sunday.”
For more about the Mill Pond and Ifield Water Mill and to download self-guide walk maps visit www.crawley.gov.uk/millpond