This page covers work on a three-stage management plan for Eynsham Abbey Fishponds, based on specialist reports commissioned in 2004-5. The Parish Council is restoring the area with a variety of partners, to protect its past and enhance its biodiversity.
In this phase of the Fishponds regeneration we planned to excavate one of the medieval ponds for both biodiversity and archaeological reasons. However, as the water flow and channel construction turned out to be more complex than anticipated and the ponds quite large, we decided to find another way of achieving open water and leave the medieval ponds for a later date.
We applied to TOE (Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment) for a grant to clear the sedges and weeds from what is considered to be the old Chilbrook, at the point where it forms the north side of the moat of Harvey’s House mound. This area has a maximum width of 20m by a length of 60m. The profile has a very gradual drop to a depth of no more than half a metre at the centre.
By removing the vegetation a relatively large area of open, shallow water would be exposed. This would be edged with the sedges which would form a barrier between the dry land and the water: see plan.
The application included funding for Graham Keevill, the archaeologist involved with the Abbey excavations and the Thames Water pipeline across Harvey’s House, to keep a watching brief. This included preparing a specification for the archaeological work, for submission to Hugh Coddington of Oxfordshire's county archaeological service for approval, taking environmental samples if necessary, and writing a report on the results.
Such an open piece of water would provide a much improved habitat for various invertebrates, amphibians and bird life. It would also be visually pleasing whilst reinstating part of the historical landscape. The application also included funding for two interpretation panels, one at Station Road entrance and another at the playing fields entrance, and for two log benches for Monk’s Green.