Blog off…and Dew Pond News

Blog off…and Dew Pond News

Where does the time go? It’s already approaching the end of May and I haven’t written a thing for the blog this year; time to put that right I think.

One reason for the lack of posts is that a couple of the jobs from the start of the year are still under-wraps; some large oak panels and “elven thrones” for a fairy trail near York are still unseen, as the attraction doesn’t officially open until June. The same applied to a large sign for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, but that should be ready for installing any time now, so I can show you a little about that in a moment.

It also seems as though more evenings than usual have been spent hunched over a drawing board, sketching and refining designs. The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust project was a bit simpler than usual in that respect, as I’d received pretty detailed requirements for the design: a cow in the centre, standing in a dew pond; a dragonfly, newt, toad and water beetle, with “Dew Ponds” and “Water on the Wolds” above and below. My job was really just to transfer those descriptions into a carving.

The sketch for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust sign.

This is an interesting project by the YWT ~ reintroducing dew ponds at several sites across the wolds :

“Thanks to National Lottery players, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is reviving a threatened, once distinctive and important feature of Yorkshire’s rural landscape. The Wolds Water project is restoring an historic network of dew ponds in the Yorkshire Wolds. These ponds were originally created to provide water for livestock in an otherwise dry landscape, but with the arrival of mains water supplied and the decrease in livestock on the Wolds, maintenance of the ponds lapsed and many were lost. Restoring these ponds will benefit wildlife in the area and allow communities to understand more about these important historic features.”

Like many people I’ve spoken to, I thought dew ponds were a naturally-occurring phenomena, and didn’t realise they were man made; the habitat they provide for many threatened species makes it an extremely worthwhile project (

So, on to the carving: the original plan was for a 4ft x 2ft sign, but I managed to source a lovely piece of oak which was 6ft long and waney-edged, making it perfect for a rural setting.

Starting with the position of the cow and the main lettering

Using the scale drawing for reference

The cow, drinking from the dew pond

The dragonfly and toad
The newt and water beetle
The finished sign. I used my arbortech and sander to emphasise the waney-edge as much as possible.

So there we are, the first blog of the year ~ squeezed in just before June! More to follow, as soon as the fairy trail is open I can show the photos and the process of working on the “Elven Thrones” on site.