St Ouen's Pond

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An aerial view of St Ouen's pond taken shortly after the opening of Jersey Airpirt in 1937
St Ouen's Pond photographed by Emile Guiton

St Ouen's Pond, Jersey's largest area of natural wetland and the largest stretch of natural fresh water in the Channel Islands, is situated in the middle of St Ouen's Bay. It was owned by the Seigneur of St Ouen and after the Second World War it was cared for by La Société Jersiaise, whose staff and volunteers tried to prevent any further silting up and spread of the reed beds which has reduced the area of open water. In 1972 the National Trust for Jersey started buying up land in the area, including the pond itself and other areas purchased from the Seigneur,

More properly known as La Mare au Seigneur, the pond is home to carp and fresh-water eels, and the surrounding area is a nature reserve of considerable importance, not least because it is the southernmost bird observatory in the British Isles. The reeds on the edge of the pond used to be harvested for thatching roofs.

The total reserve is some 48 hectares in area and contains open water, reed beds, fen, wet meadows, dune grasslands, rank grassland and scrub land. The first known record of the pond dates back to 1309 at which time it was used to stock fish for the Seigneur. Up until 1939 the pond was still used this way with the surrounding land used for hunting. The reed-bed was well cropped and used for thatching and bedding purposes and at this time it was possible to access the water’s edge in most places.

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