Collaboration for restoration! New Luce Curling Pond is brought back to life
A very special heritage site near Newton Stewart in Dumfries & Galloway has gained a new lease of life through a collaborative restoration project – with some Learning for Sustainability along the way! Members of the GSA Biosphere team worked with New Luce Community Trust on a project to restore the historic curling pond on the edge of the village, which had fallen into disuse and become inaccessible in recent years. The heavy work was carried out by environmental consultancy Connicks, who dug out the wetland area and rebuilt the old curling hut beside the pond. Biosphere officers contributed information about habitats and wildlife for the interpretation board installed beside the pond, which will help locals and visitors to learn more about the range of species that live here, which we hope will expand year-on-year now that the pond has been replenished and improved. The beautiful bug pictured is one we photographed during a visit: a hoverfly called the Hornhand Sedgesitter (Pyrophaena granditarsa); this species frequents bogs and ditches and here is perched on a Common Spike Rush (Eleocharis palustris).
Between September 2022 and June 2023 members of the Biosphere team used New Luce curling pond as a venue for delivering monthly outdoor education sessions to classes from Glenluce and Castle Kennedy Primary Schools. New Luce Community Trust purchased pond-dipping and bug-hunting equipment, a weather station, and even an iPad for the children to use during for learning outdoors. Pupils were able to find out more about curling, as well as local weather and our changing climate, and observe at close-hand the wildlife in and around the pond. As well as searching for invertebrates (both terrestrial and aquatic), activities included measuring temperature as it changed through the year and doing maths using natural materials such as sticks, leaves and pine cones to create graphs. The children listened to the songs of birds, such as song thrushes and wrens, and played plenty of games. Among the tiny natural wonders the children discovered and examined close-up were spiders, woodlice, water boatmen, dragonfly larvae, and amphibians such as palmate newts, frogs and toads.
New Luce Curling Pond was previously one of the focal points for the PLACE in the Biosphere Project which ran between 2018-2021 and explored community heritage across the UNESCO Biosphere region in a variety of participatory projects led by volunteers. PLACE looked at the history of curling on the curling pond and provided an early forum to discuss the potential for restoring the curling pond at the site. The project report, which includes some interesting ‘before’ photos, can be found here.
The pictures below show New Luce curling pond in February 2023 and just five months later, in July.