Tag Archives: clay

Dew Pond

We have been repairing a Dew Pond

A Dew Pond gather its water from rain, mist and dew  but there is also a certain mystery about as to why Dew Ponds  never dry up even in the dryest weather.

The Yorkshire Wolds is chalk based and water seeps through the chalk so providing water for livestock was difficult.  THIS IS IN THE TIME BEFORE MAINS WATER WHEN VILLAGES AND FARMS HAD A WATER PUMP.

So dew ponds were built on the Wolds to water livestock. Without dewponds livestock would not have been able to graze for as long on the Wolds. 

Dew Pond being cared for

Dew Pond being cared for

This Dew Pond in the photo abvoe was so overgown by plants and full of mud it had to be cleaned out.  This was a big  job.  I so wish I had taken a photograph of how it was before it was cleaned, but the photo shows the Dew Pond nearly cleaned out.

I was always told that a dew pond was built where 4 fields met.  They were built so that livestock from 4 fields could use the same dew pond.  How clever is that?

I would love to know more about the people who built  dewponds.

I don’t even know when this dew pond was built, but a lot of knowledge has gone into building it. 

By building a dew pond and lining it with clay the men who built it knew that the water gathered in the clay lined dew pond and would not seep away as it would in a chalk based pond. 

Here is a photograph of the original clay base that was put there many, many years ago, by who we don’t know.  But as I say a lot of knowledge has gone into building this Dew Pond.  This picture of the original clay base is very rare as Dew Ponds are, of course, usually full of water

Clay Base of an old Dew Pond

Clay Base of an old Dew Pond

Other names for dew ponds are 

  • ‘Sheep Ponds’ or ‘
  • Ship ponds’
  • in the Sussex dialect.
  •  ‘Mist Ponds’, ‘
  • Fog Ponds’.

This dewpond became full of mud and choked with overgrown plants.

We knew it would be fatal to the pond if we pierced the clay lining as the water would seep through the Wolds chalk and away into caverns deep underground
It took a lot of time and effort over two or three weekends to clean out this pond.  I was going to help, but nearly slipped in the mud so gave up before I started as I knew they would be better off without me.

A lot of the work was done by bucket and shovel!

Can you see the tools used

Can you see the tools used

Royal al Commission on Historic Monuments Dewpond:- A shallow pond, often artificial, fed by the condensation of water from the air, occurring on high land which has no other adequate water supply

At the moment it is so good to see clear water in the dew pond and see it is not choked by plants any more

Hard work done - Dew Pond  Refreshed

Hard work done - Dew Pond Refreshed


This Dew Pond is home to a lot of wildlife.  We get ducks landing, stopping and taking off again.  They waddle from the pond to the field without a care in the world.  There is sometimes a rustle in the undergrowth as you walk by.  

This dew pond is not used at all for stock now.  It was ‘repaired’ for the benefit of wildlife only So farmers aren’t all that bad are they?

Please contact me if you have any more information about these magical and mystical dew ponds. I would like to put together any information I can get including photographs and any knowledge on what does make a dewpond.  

Please remember the country code and if the dewpond is on Private Land please do not trespass or disturb livestock.