Photography At The Pond

January 24, 2010

Taking photographs at Fleet Pond is a very popular activity for a wide range of people. Doing a search in Google yields numerous sites and images that feature the pond. These cover photos of the pond itself, it’s wildlife (especially birds) as well as people just relaxing and enjoying themselves.

The quality of the photos on the web can be very impressive and atmospheric – see for example the photos above and below.

Probably the photo-sharing site Flickr has the most extensive set of photos. In particular it has a user-group dedicated to Fleet Pond Nature Reserve (see screenshot below). This group currently has 27 members and already features 550 photos.

This group is referenced in our blog in a box entitled Flickr Photos at the bottom of the rhs column and the box specifies the titles of the most recent 3 photos.

There are also a number of dedicated photographic discussion forums that mention the pond (mostly in connection with specialist bird photography).

In parallel with these public sites, Fleet Pond Society also encourages photography at the pond through competitions – see here and here. Of course this blog itself has many photos taken at the pond, mainly covering volunteer events (of which there are many) and wildlife. Here is a good example:


Preserving and maintaining the pond is an activity that benefits many people, including a wide range of photographers!

Photo credit (top two): Alexey Danilchenko (and with kind permission)
Photo credit (bottom): Michelle Salter


Fleet Young Person Of The Year Award 2009

January 20, 2010

Richard Bennett Receiving His Award From Sharyn Wheale, With Colin Gray (left) And Two Members of Fleet Pond Society Committee, On A Very Snowy Day At The Pond

Cathy Holden writes:

Fleet resident Richard Bennett was thrilled to have been named Fleet Young Person of the Year 2009, but disappointed that he was unable to carry out part of his prize, the switching on of the Christmas lights at the Fleet Festivities last November, as he was still at university.  However, his brother James proudly stepped up and switched on the lights on his brother’s behalf. Richard also won a £100 Outdoor Adventure voucher, an engraved glass trophy and a certificate recording his award.

This new award was funded as a joint project between the Hard District Council (HDC) Community and Partnerships and Hart Youth Partnership. It was organised by the Fleet Festivities Partnership and presented to Richard by Sharyn Wheale, Chairman of Hart District Council last week while Richard was home in Fleet during his university break.

Denise Roch, Manager of the Hart District Youth Team agreed with Charlotte Tickner, of the Hart District Youth Office, who spoke for the whole team and said of Richard,

‘The selection committee felt Richard has shown remarkable qualities and resilience.  He has also shown commitment to projects and his community that are to be admired.  We were particularly impressed with the breadth of voluntary work he is involved with. We, as a committee, wish Richard luck with his future plans and community involvement and believe he is a tremendous asset to any community lucky enough to have him.’

Richard (20 years old) was recommended for the award by Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, backed up by Jim Storey President of Fleet Lions 2008/2009.

Richard’s citation read that he had joined the Fleet Pond Conservation Volunteers in September 2003 and took part in the monthly conservation management tasks. He was also a ‘Looker’ for the society, a team or people who keep an eye on the grazing animals at the pond. The ‘Lookers’ walk the reserves paths regularly to ensure the animals are in good health and report any potential problems to the Fleet Pond ranger or to the farm from whom the animals are leased.  This is particularly important as only one ranger is available at weekends to look after all of Hart Council’s 1,500 acres of nature reserves and open spaces.  At that time Richard kept an eye on four Shetland ponies, three young bulls and two cows grazing two areas of the nature reserve.

Unfortunately, Richard developed the condition Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) and lost a whole year’s education as he became too weak to continue with his studies. In the second and third year of the illness Richard began working towards his A levels via online education facilities, achieving the A grades necessary to claim his place at Bath University.

However, Richard was not content to sit at home just continuing his studies, he volunteered to work from home with the ME support group, Association for Young People with ME, organising the sales of promotional goods to raise money for the organisation and supervising six other supporter volunteers in this task.

The Fleet Pond Society volunteers were delighted when Richard’s fight back to full health and strength resulted in him rejoining them in April 2008. University life has not kept Richard away from them as he always attends their conservation mornings when he is back for the holidays.

Richard finds time in his studies to help out in the local community in Bath and he has become an assistant scout leader with 31st St Barnabas Scout group, recently obtaining his warrant as a leader. He also helps another scout group with their weekend camps.

Colin Gray congratulated Richard as a ‘Very worthy winner of the award, someone who has both overcome personal adversity and put a lot back into his local community be that here in Fleet, or in Bath where he is currently based at university.’

This article will also be appearing shortly in Fleet News & Mail.

Volunteer Event 10 January – Dealing With The Snow

January 16, 2010

Colin Gray writes:

Twelve stalwart volunteers turned out for our mobile work party.  The heavy snow fall had bent over shrubs and some trees to obstruct footpaths.  We cleared back holly shrubs and a few threateningly leaning trees from beside footpaths along Gelvert Stream, Gelvert Glade, the boardwalk to Coldstream Glade, Brookly Wood and Sandhills.  A bough from a fallen pine was dragged out of Brookly Stream.

Suitably proud of ourselves we retired to the workshop for Gluewein, coffee and mars cakes.  A short task but a useful one which the weekend visitors appreciated.

Xmas Card Competition 2010

January 11, 2010

Vicki Jull writes:

Fleet Pond Society is running a competition to find photographs that will be printed as Christmas cards and sold in order to raise funds for the society.

The winners will be credited on the cards and will receive a free pack of Fleet Pond Society Christmas cards as their prize.

The photographs can have been taken in previous years, and must be of Fleet Pond Nature Reserve.

The entry fee is £3:00 per person.

Please contact Vicki Jull on for further information and entry forms.

Picture credit: ‘Snow Baby’ by Vicki Jull

Celebrate 2010 With A Curry For Carnival Bridge

January 1, 2010

A Happy New Year to all our readers!

To celebrate 2010 the Fleet Pond Society invite you to attend the hottest event of the year.

Blow away the January blues and banish those winter chills, by enjoying a delicious curry and helping us raise funds to buy a brand new Carnival Bridge.

The current bridge is in urgent need of replacing and we are looking to raise around £12,000 through grants and fund-raising in order to buy a new one.

For only £15 per person, enjoy a delicious meal of starters, main courses, rice & naans chosen specially by the Gulshan’s own Mr. Chowdhury.

7.30pm on Tuesday 19th January 2010

Gulshan Restaurant

264-266, Fleet Road, Fleet, GU51 4BX.

Still hungry? Just ask for more, eat as much as you like! There’ll plenty for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

Tickets are £15, payable in advance, from Jim Storey. Contact him either by phone on 01252 647650 or by email at

Hurry – tickets are selling fast!

Photo credit: Vicki Jull