Michelle Salter writes:
How old is the pond? The first clear reference to the pond was in the 14th century, when “the great fishery (of) Fleet Ponds” is referred to in the Rolls of Account of Crondall Manor. By this time, there seems to have been a thriving fishery of considerable importance and two ponds.
Do any museums house records of the pond? Many Victorian naturalists visited Fleet Pond and references to its flora frequently appeared in natural history journals from this era, with herbarium sheets located at the Natural History Museum in Kensington and also at Reading and Oxford.
When was the pond used as an ice rink? In the 1840’s, the South Western Railway ran special excursions to Fleet Pond, including a “Skating Specials” in the Winter.
When was the pond, not a pond? In 1940, the MOD completely drained the pond to stop hostile bombers from using it as a landmark to find the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough (see photo above).
What title did the pond receive in 1951? The pond was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1951 and was one of the first sites in Hampshire to receive this distinction, due to the importance of the lake to waterfowl and the rich aquatic and heathland flora.
Ed. This article is a repost, it was originally published in October 2008.