Wetlands and ponds

The High Weald has one of the highest concentrations of ponds in the South East, and 20km2 of wetland including reedbeds, lowland fens, coastal and floodplain grazing marsh.

Many ponds developed as by-products of past human activity such as mining and marling whilst others were created for use as drinking ponds for farm animals. Larger hammer ponds were created to power the bellows and hammers of the iron industry, and mill ponds to power water mills.

Although many ponds will need little or no management others may need to be cleared of invasive plants such as duckweed, blanket weed and the invasive plant and water fern.


mapped ponds in the AONB – five times higher than the national average!

How we can help

We provide practical support to landowners and communities seeking to create, restore and manage ponds and wetlands in the Weald, including:

  • Advice on best practice management techniques such as controlling non-native species and natural flood management techniques
  • Details of grant schemes and guidance to support pond and wetland creation and management
  • Direction to other land managers and contractors who may be able to offer you practical advice and support.

Does my pond need planning permission?

The creation of a pond by machinery is considered an engineering operation under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

Even if your proposed pond will be small and shallow, the excavation of a pond may be defined as an engineering operation which may require planning permission.

Its always best to check with your local planning authority beforehand – you can find details for all 15 planning authorities covering the High Weald AONB on our Contacts page.

New pond in a woodland

Managing invasive species

A range of non-native plants have escaped into wetlands and ponds across the High Weald.

The most common problem plants you might find are:

  • Canadian Waterweed or Pondweed (Elodea canadensis) (floating)
  • Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum or Myriophullym brasiliensis) (floating)
  • Japanse knotweed (bankside)
  • Himalayan Balsam (pictured, bankside)
  • Giant Hogweed (bankside)

These plants are extremely invasive and they can take over ponds and exclude native species.

There is funding available to help combat non-native species in the High Weald. Visit our Grants page to learn more.

himalayan balsam

Other guidance

Please note these links take you to external websites.