Darwin Park Pool and Wildlife Project


The Darwin Park Pool and Wildlife Project is a LARA initiative to improve the pools and green spaces that form part of the Darwin Park Estate.

The four pools are balancing pools – they weren't created just for ornamental or environmental reasons. They were constructed as part of the flood and water management scheme for Darwin Park and Lichfield. Their maintenance and upkeep has to-date been the responsibility of the landowners (Taylor Wimpey), but arrangements are now being made to transfer ownership to Lichfield District Council as part of the open-space adoption process.

We asked for the support of Lichfield District Council with the project, who agreed and have worked with us in developing some of our plans. The Environment Agency have also been involved to a lesser extent. We have considered ideas to enhance the existing pools and green space to benefit our urban environment. We want to encourage native fauna and flora to thrive and grow here. We want the improved facilities to provide educational benefits for local children. One of the ideas is to enable the exploration of the inhabitants of one of the pools by constructing a pond dipping platform. Other ideas include the introduction of bug hunting activities in a suitable area. We want to help protect the rapidly diminishing hedgehog population by introducing igloo hedgehog houses. Several families of hedgehogs live on this estate already. Bats also congregate here and so with this in mind we would like to build bat boxes in some of our trees, as well as bird nesting boxes. It might also be possible to introduce a dormouse nest tube and a bug and bee biome to attract insects.

In addition, to raise the awareness of the wildlife we have here on the estate, we would like nature trails of the area to be available to download from the LARA website, and display boards to be erected in appropriate areas.


We hope to carry out conservation work to improve, and in some cases restore, wildlife habitats. This is what we propose.

Pool One (nearest to Waitrose)

This pool was selected as being the most suitable to create a pond dipping platform . A display board would also be erected with information about what fish and amphibians may be found in this pool. The United Kingdom now has seven species of native amphibians: common toad, natter jack toad, common frog, pool frog, smooth newt, great crested newt and palmate newt. We would also like to see the introduction of the white-clawed crayfish, Britain's only native freshwater crayfish. Native fish suitable for the pool would include minnows, tench, rudd and sticklebacks.

Sadly, this pool is almost covered by tall, aggressive-growing reeds which we feel need to be removed and replaced with different, less aggressive reeds. These could be restricted to one small area which may be easily controlled. In this way, there is still an opportunity for reed nesting birds to find a base.

In addition, koi carp and other non-native fish have been illegally introduced into the pool. These fish destroy all the natural habitat, spread disease and need removing. The Environmental Agency and Lichfield District Council are in agreement with this proposal so we are in the process of obtaining quotes to enable the carp to be removed and kept elsewhere. Only then may the pool be repopulated with native species.

Pool Two

This is a smaller pool and occupied mainly by water birds; ducks, moorhens and coots, and is visited regularly by herons and even a kingfisher has been spotted.

We would leave this pool as it is but erect a display board with details of the birds and bats which may be found here. In addition nearby trees would have bird boxes fitted to encourage nesting birds and bat boxes to further encourage the bats that inhabit this area.

Pool Three

No changes to the pool itself are proposed. It is near to the children's play area and is fenced off for safety reasons.

However, there are too many trees around the pond and we would like these to be thinned out as they obstruct the view of the pond and the water birds which it accommodates.

Pool Four

This pool is commonly referred to as Swan Pool as local residents will be aware that a pair of nesting swans has successfully raised their offspring here for several years. In 2015 they reared seven cygnets and when the pool became too small they moved over to more suitable premises in Beacon Park, successfully negotiating the busy A51! So we want this pool to be left as it is apart from ensuring the reeds, which seem to have taken hold here as well as in pool one, are regularly cut back.

We would also like to develop an area of green space near to the start of Cathedral Walk to develop a sensory garden to attract insects, butterflies and bees. Various low-maintenance shrubs would be planted here such as buddleia. The bug and bee biome would be erected here.

The Future

There are so many opportunities here for local residents to become involved! Just having your support in what we are trying to achieve is important. We want to know what you think, if you have any fresh ideas, or if you would be able to help in some way. Examples include naming each pool, participating in bird and wild flower surveys, and that's just a start.

A meeting will be organised for all local residents to have their say, when the land finally falls into the hands of Lichfield District Council.

And last, but not least: Funding

Funds will be needed to carry out the work involved but grants are available. When we are clear about a way forward, and have an idea of just what is required and how much it may cost, we will then be in a position to apply for funding.

In the meantime, please get in touch with us if you have any ideas, would like to be involved or have any concerns about these proposals.