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November 12th 2009

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    There is a phenomenon on Chalk Downs called a dew pond.  It is a depression in ground, and some claim the cause of these depressions were Stone Age people hunting for flint.  

    The fact that so many of them contain water on escarpments was often considered an accidental consequence of flint hunting.  Water oozes from waterlogged chalk providing a temporary source of water for livestock which would otherwise have to be brought to water or water taken to them.  Other ideas have concluded that dew ponds are natural in origin, owing their character to the process of freeze and thaw over geological time.  

   Others still, have suggested that dew ponds are the work of prehistoric engineers who knew how to literally collect dew.

    

       

    The new bed, I so cleverly located amongst river gravel, is close to where old maps suggest an 'intermittent pond'.   And I suspect this river gravel reflects an irritation with a piece of ground considered good for nothing. 

    No doubt in my mind there is something different about the ground between the vegetable garden and the compost piles.  The cooler weather grasses growing there stay green long into drought.  The soil has a mustiness.   And on a hot day the walk from the garden to the compost pile passes through what could be a temperature difference.  And there is an obvious and circular depression in the land.  

    Yet I wonder where my thoughts would be had I not seen the old map defining this space as an 'intermittent pond'.  I say this because it is not immediately obvious where water might come from so as to gather itself into any sort of pond along the top of a ridge. 

   

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tim candler

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(Dew Ponds)