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The two millponds to the east of the town are usually referrred to as the Hermitage Millponds. They are privately owned; Peter Pond is owned by the Kinloch family and is managed by David Gattrell. Slipper Millpond is owned by the Slipper Millpond Preservation Society who also manage its banks and sluices. The two eastern millponds have a more natural habitat than the town millpond, with reedbeds and bankside vegetation. They are connected through a culvert beneath the A259 road through Emsworth. The millponds are important habitats for a number of waterbirds.

Both ponds were designated Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) in 1997. They are also immediately adjacent to Chichester Harbour, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Slipper Millpond (but not Peter Pond by some strange administrative quirk) is also inside the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Link to . . . Slipper Millpond


A view of Peter Pond looking north towards Gooseberry Cottage from the A259 road, showing the extensive reedbeds.

Peter Pond is owned by the Kinloch family and is managed by David Gattrell of the Chichester Wildfowlers Association.

Here is David Gattrell with owner Elisabeth Kinloch in Dec 2008

David Gattrell 'thatching' the reedbeds on Peter Pond in October 2011

Installation of the new interpretation board on Peter Pond in March 2000
Designed and created by Marian Forster (second from right)
Unfortunately the board was removed in 2001 due to vandalism

The pond attracts a variety of birds throughout the year. Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and Black-headed Gulls are always present. In winter, they are joined by masses of other gulls, including Common Gull, Herring Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Great Black-backed Gull. and Swallows regularly hunt for insects over the pond in summer. Breeding birds include Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot and Moorhen. Meanwhile, Chiffchaff and Blackcap are often heard singing from the northern copse in summer.

Mute Swan nesting
A pair of Mute Swans used to regularly nest on the pond, sometimes on the island near to the main road and occasionally in the reedbeds. In both cases the nest was vulnerable to high spring tides and sometimes the nest was not built high enough to avoid being submerged. However, we have had some good broods over the years, sometimes including cygnets of the 'Polish' variety with white plumage. Since 2012 Mute Swans have nested on Slipper Millpond.

This swan had a good brood of eggs in 2007

The pair also had a good brood the following year - 1998

But 2012 was a disaster with the nest being flooded having been built too near the water

Birds in reedbeds
The extensive area of reedbeds to the north of the pond attract a variety of birds.

In summer Reed Warblers, and occasionally Sedge Warblers, sing from the reedbeds

Reed Bunting is occasionally seen in the reeds.

A Kingfisher also makes good use of the reeds for perching

Moorhen regularly nests on the pond, though not always as prominently as this one

Cetti's Warbler
In 2010 a Cetti's Warbler was present in the reedbed area to the north of the pond from April through to June and its loud 'cetti, cetti, cetti' song became a familiar refrain as one walked in this area. This was the first Cetti's Warbler in Emsworth though several are resident on North Thorney which is probably where this bird came from. The bird wandered around the local area, going up the Lumley Stream and onto Brook Meadow. For a Cetti's Warbler it was fairly easy to locate and many people managed to get some good photos of the bird, including me with this one.

A Cetti's Warbler was also present the following year (maybe the same bird), but this one only stayed for about 3 weeks from April to early March.

Unusual visitors
Peter Pond gets its unusual visitors from time to time. This Chiloe Wigeon turned up for a couple of days in January 2005. I had previously seen what was probably the same bird on Baffins Pond in Portsmouth. Chiloe Wigeon (Anas sibilatrix) lives in southern South America and Falklands Islands. It is popular in captivity. It frequently escapes and is often reported at large in Europe and N America.

Then in August 2008 we had a visit from this handsome pair of Barnacle Geese. They were fine clean birds and very tame, indicating a domestic rather than wild origin.





Little Grebe




Little Egret

Regular particularly in winter

Grey Heron

Regular all the year

Mute Swan

Regular all year. Nesting pair

Canada Goose

Rare visitors


Resident all year. Nesting.

Chiloe Wigeon

Rare - 19.01.05



Tufted Duck




Red-breasted Merganser



Resident. Nesting.


Resident. Nesting.

Black-headed Gull

Regular all the year

Common Gull

Regular in winter

Herring Gull

Regular in winter

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Occasional in winter

Greater Black-backed Gull

Occasional in winter

Mediterranean Gull

Occasional in winter

Common Sandpiper



Regular in winter

Grey Wagtail


Pied Wagtail



Regular summer visitor


Occasional summer visitor

House Martin

Occasional summer visitor

Sand Martin

Rare summer visitor


Regular Summer visitor in copse


Regular Summer visitor in copse

Cetti's Warbler

Regular in Summer 2010

Sedge Warbler

Occasional Summer visitor

Reed Warbler

Regular Summer visitor

Reed Bunting