Iremongers Pond is named after a local pair of sporting legends, the Iremonger brothers. The family lived in the police station on the corner of Coronation Avenue and Main Road and became leading members of the community. More information about the family can be read on the Ferry Crossing waypoint. The pond is a Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation and is cared for by the Iremongers Pond Association. The site has received numerous Green Flag Awards, the benchmark for well-managed green space.
The Pond has been known by numerous names including 'George's Pond' and 'Shipstones Pond'. The pond, like the Ferry itself, likely came under the stewardship of the landlord of the Ferry Inn. It is believed that 'George' was a landowner who owned the land before the Great Central Railway created the pond as we know it today. In the 1980s, the Ferry Inn is was managed by the 'Shiptones' Brewery who handled day tickets for fishing on the pond. Albert Iremonger was the landlord of the Ferry Inn in the 1940s during which he likely exercised stewardship of the Pond. During this time the name may well have stuck and, in subsequent years, has been formally adopted.
Points of Interest
Great Central Railway:
The embankment, at the eastern edge of the pond, once carried trains from Manchester to London Marylebone Station, stopping at Nottingham Victoria Railway Station. The embankment extended all the way to the southern point of Ruddington Lane. The pond was originally dug either to provide soil for the embankments or to act as a form of culvert for the construction of the embankment in 1894. The Great Central Railway route through Nottingham was closed by British Rail in 1968 after which the line through Wilford remained in use only for freight from Weekday Cross to Hotchley Hill for British Gypsum traffic and to Ruddington for MoD trains. The Wilford branch became disused around 1975 after a new link was built at Loughborough. The bridge carrying the line across the river was dismantled in 1985. The majority of the embankment was levelled for the running of the NET Tram Line in the 2010s.
Wellington Bomber Crash:
In the early morning of Saturday the 12th of August, 1944, a Wellington Bomber burst into flames over Nottingham and subsequently crashed in Wilford. It reportedly first touched ground in the field where the Community Orchard now stands, and bounced across Coronation Avenue before exploding as it hit the tennis courts, now the site of St Patrick’s School. The force of the explosion scattered debris over a wide area and, given the scale of the explosion, miraculously no one on the ground was injured or killed. After the fire was brought under control, the Royal Air Force Salvage Crew soon began to clear the area. It is reported that the flight, piloted by Flying Officer P. W. Clifton, with three other crew-members on board, took off from Seighford at around 10:30pm the night before and encountered difficulty in the skies above Nottingham. The crew ‘baled out’, and it is not clear how many of the airmen successfully escaped from the doomed Wellington at this stage.
Iremongers Pond Association:
The Association was set up in February 2008 as an offshoot of the Wilford Community Group, with the aims of protecting and enhancing Iremonger’s Pond, educating local people and visitors in the principles and practise of conservation, and managing and encouraging greater use of the site as a recreation resource. In addition to a major clean-up of the pond, which involved volunteers and members of the community removing around 150 bags of rubbish, including shopping trolleys, cigarette machines, and even a motorcycle, the first stage of the project saw the installation of a viewing platform on the Southern edge of the pond. During the second stage, the pathways around the pond were levelled with fishing and dipping platforms installed. The third stage saw the provision of a wheelchair-accessible pathway around the entire pond. Subsequently, the pond has been linked to the river for the benefit of local fishing stocks. In 2009, the association won the Cleaner and Greener Innovation Award for volunteer-run projects and has also been awarded Green Flag status from the Government on every consecutive year since 2011.
The Swales were created during the construction of the NET Tram Network Southern Extension which was completed in 2015. The Tram had a drastic effect on the perimeter of the pond area - previous green embankments were reinforced and turned into imposing walls, large amounts of foliage were removed and the otherwise readily accessible entrance to the pond was split by the tram tracks. Most dramatically, a large portion of the former GCR Embankment was removed with much of the earth used in the extension of the tram embankment. The resulting area is what has since become the Swales. Water feeds into the Swales from an underground stream running parallel to the tram tracks from the south. Thanks to the clean, constant stream of cooler water, a separate environment has developed alongside the main pond bringing with it an abundance of wildlife and foliage including Sticklebacks, Roach, Mirror Carp and Bitterling. The Swales and the area surrounding them were adopted by the Iremongers Pond Association and have since been planted with trees, rushes and water lilies.
In February 2017, following a grant from Tesco, the Iremonger’s Pond Association in cooperation with the Wilford Community Group and residents planted Wilford’s Community Orchard. In years since, the orchard has been extended with additional trees. The Orchard is comprised of a wide range of fruit and nut trees, kindly sponsored by members of the local community and planted by a team of volunteers. The orchard includes a large variety of apple and pear trees including the Gasgoyne Scarlet Apple, Morgan Sweet Cider Apple, Tettenhall Dick Pear, Queen Caroline Apple, Vicar of Winkfield Pear and Dabinett Cider Apple. Other notable trees, amongst the wide range of crab apples, plums, cherries, mulberries, and nuts, is the Notts Medlar and the London Plane planted to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee on the 13th of March, 2022. A map of the community orchard can be found on the Orchard Waypoint by clicking the linked title above.
Cherry Tree Grove:
In February 2021 during the Covid-19 Pandemic, the community of Wilford received a donation of twenty flowering cherry trees from the Japanese Embassy, as part of the "Sakura Cherry tree Project", as a sign of lasting friendship between Japan and the UK. These were planted by local residents and members of the Iremongers Pond Association along the lower embankment near the swales. Eleven more flowering cherry trees were donated in 2022 to replace damaged trees as well as additional planting directly around the Swales. In the Spring and early Summer, the cherry blossom creates a picturesque scene as the flowering reveals the three distinct species of trees. The bench, situated within the Grove was dedicated by Bill Roughton, Chair of the Iremongers Pond Association, to those who have reconnected with nature during the Covid-19 Pandemic and found tranquillity by the Swales.
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