The Thursday volunteers were again spoilt for choice with multiple job offers – working in the greenhouse with potting-up, laying down mulch in the nursery, building bee hives, clearing road gullies in Golden Valley, or pond clearing in Little Gaddesden. Most people headed for the pond and put on wellington boots. Apparently the inhabitants of Little Gaddesden want their pond back, since it was hardly recognisable as such. Owned by the Trust along with the stretch of roadside verge, it was infested with water plants which were largely removed along with the roots (rhizomes) to stop any regrowth. This was a back breaking and tricky operation, with one volunteer falling into the water. This ancient pond was originally on the common green along with the adjacent field, and was used by the villagers and passing drovers until around 1850, when it was successfully enclosed by the Bridgewaters as part of the Park, although not without some resistance from the locals. The ponds were left outside of the park railings so that they could still be used by the people.
There was another pond called “blue pot” about one hundred yards down the road opposite the manor house which was even larger. It was filled in sometime in the 1940’s. This was the main water supply for the villagers until 1857 when the village water works was installed by the Brownlows at considerable expense. This guaranteed a regular supply for the inhabitants when previously blue pot ran dry during hot summers.
Thanks to Richard Gwilt and Diana Maple