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The Restoration of Johns Pond

‘Johns’ Pond’ – an old irrigation well on the edge of the Frome flood plain, a stone’s throw from Dorchester’s town centre.

Where the only prisoner ever to escape from the town prison drowned on a dark night, his name was John and he is said to haunt these parts…

I grew up around this area and spent most of my childhood fishing the Frome that runs past this rather old pond..

Last year we restored the hatches on the upstream side of the pond and in the last week or so we have de-silted the pond, repaired and repointed the stone and brickwork, giving the pond a much needed new lease of life..   Thank you Dorchester Town Council for using “Casterbridge Fisheries Ltd”

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A de-silt, 30 tonnes to move, busy public footpaths, no safe access for large slews and dumpers, lots of water, hundreds of meters of pipe and a very kind land owner who allowed us to pump the silt into his wet woodland, all conducted safely, on time and within budget.

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We basically broke all the silt up with one pump and then pumped the very liquid silt out to its new home, at this stage I need to say a huge thank you to Elliot and Kevin for their seriously hard work and professional input on this project.

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There was a fair amount of tree root to remove from the wall by a sluice, this wall was then re-built and sealed to prevent any leaks.

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Many years ago I won a book in a DFC raffle, a signed copy of The Ever-Rolling Stream written by Bernard Aldrich, a river keeper on the Test, Elliot new this lady and that she had illustrated a fishing book, this one….  Manuela Smith lives in the town and very kindly signed my book…

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So here it is, a restored “Johns Pond” full of water and a few autumn leaves, good for a few more years to be enjoyed by those brave enough to walk between here and “Hangman’s Cottage”…

Elliot, Kevin and I decided that we needed to thank the hundreds (no exaggeration) of people who wished us well with the project, we never imagined that so many people would stop and chat about John’s Pond, its history, and the pure pleasure that they get from walking in this beautiful part of the town, Dorchester seems to be full of lovely people 🙂   THANK YOU….

“Did you find any treasure ??” was asked on many occasions… One old Corona bottle, one old (1928) Eldridge Pope bottle and the sole of a hobnail boot, possibly John’s !

One great couple who had obviously lived in Dorchester for a long, long time asked we minded being sketched, another group of three great little fishermen stopped on their bikes, armed with rods, swapped fishing tales and disappeared in search of further Frome valley adventures..

Men at John's Pond 3