Oldfield Pond lies to the north of Castor Recreation Ground at the top of The Drift and to the southwest of Belsize Farm. Located in a plantation and neglected over the last decade this site has probably been a feature of the landscape for the last two millennia. The theory is that the spring water in the area were captured into the pond which was deepened and lined with clay by the Romans to feed the Praetorium at Castor and the substantial baths to the south of this building. A series of basic aqueducts may have directed the water down The Drift and into what we now know as Castor.
Oldfield Pond certainly features on a map of the ancient field system of 1848 – surrounded by grazing land for herdsmen using the commons rights. The pond would have been one of many (possibly 40 across the Parishes) serving the farming and grazing needs as well as providing a water supply for villagers. This land was enclosed very late in 1898 compared to the rest of England and so the ponds and other features of the medieval way of life still exist in our landscape.
Today the Pond is home to abundant wildlife and the plantation provides an undisturbed sanctuary. There are no footpaths to the pond and it has become overgrown. In order to protect the Pond we are assessing the habitat and survey the species located here. In this way we can establish why it needs special protection from intensive human activity – including domestic cats and loose dogs.
We have the full support of The Fitzwilliam Estate who own the land on which the pond and plantation is located.
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