Whitefield Pond and Lade in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, has undergone a £200,000 makeover.

The pond and associated lade were originally used in the once booming textile industry in Lennoxtown. Part of the process involved bleaching fabric, where cloth was laid out in the fields to be whitened by sunlight. This is where the name ‘White Field’ originates from.  

More recently, the pond area has been used as a recreational resource by the community of Lennoxtown. Local organisation, Whitefield Pond Working Group, has been helping to look after the greenspace. The Council had previously naturalised sections of the pond and installed attractive seating, sculptures and interpretation material. There is a circular path around the pond which is heavily used and appreciated by the general public who regularly visit the site.

The lade feeding the pond, however, was unattractive, with canalised vertical sides, granite setts and concrete slabbing. There were areas of breaching and increasing issues with erosion, silt deposition and leaking which needed to be addressed. The Council viewed these required repair works as an opportunity to also create a more attractive and biodiversity friendly space to complement the pond and the rest of the greenspace.

The Council worked with Ebsford Environmental Ltd to draw up designs, carry out the repairs and implement the biodiversity enhancements. Before any work began, a public consultation was held in Lennoxtown to let the local community know about the planned works and also to allow them input into the design.

The final project involved naturalisation of the lade by re-profiling its banks and creating shelves for planting with a variety of native aquatic and emergent wetland plants, lining the new watercourse with blue clay and extending the lade through the creation of a small online pond, also planted up with native wetland plants.

Reclaimed granite setts from the lade were also used to re-profile a section of the existing Whitefield Pond to allow trapping of silt and create additional areas for planting. In addition, 40,000m2 of new native wildflower meadow was created within the site and the path along the side of the lade was upgraded. A total of 150m2 of native wildflower turf was laid on areas of the steepest banking (instead of sown) to help the meadows to establish quicker.

Consideration was also given to water level management through the introduction of a high-level berm in case of potential flooding and to adding another level to the existing silt trap to reduce the amount of sediment that travels down the new channel.

As part of the Helping Hands for Butterflies project, Butterfly Conservation Scotland volunteers have also been busy recently sowing Yellow Rattle seed into the new meadow areas.

The end result is a much more attractive, natural looking and colourful space which provides enhanced amenity for the local community, and a more diverse and friendly space for wildlife.