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
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.