Even without leaving home, a stroll around the garden will provide as much evidence as you need – even the soil smells different.
But one of the most exciting – and joyous – changes doesn’t take place on dry land. In ponds up and down the country the annual amphibian reproductive cycle is in full swing, and otherwise quiet corners of suburban gardens are now vibrating to the croaks of mating frogs. Clusters of spawn are everywhere, and in some places the first tadpoles have already been spotted.
But frogs are not the only wildlife that make having a pond worthwhile. Even a small garden pond can also attract newts, dragonflies, and even the odd passing duck or heron.
For children, the experience of nurturing a pond and observing it year-round can be transformative, and lead to a lifelong appreciation of the natural world. (That said, young children obviously need to be watched closely around water!)
If you love the idea of creating a natural-looking water feature in your garden and boosting its biodiversity at the same time, a pond is the perfect answer. And if you’re already looking for a new home, then you might want to add a pond to your list of requirements. If you do, the following three properties could be on your search list. They all have ponds and they’re all currently for sale in our area.
Pottery Lane Farm in Littlethorpe, near Ripon, is a dream of a house, with two holiday cottages and 15 acres of land. The main house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a stunning breakfast kitchen, utility and boot room, three reception rooms, and sunroom.
The house, the cottages and the office and store rooms are built around a sun-trap of a courtyard, and there are also greenhouses, a potting shed, vegetable garden, chicken hut, and, of course, a huge pond with its own jetty.
Meagill Hall in the Washburn Valley is a detached farmhouse dating back to the mid-17th century and has retained many of its original features. It has six bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen, boot room, study and three reception rooms, one of which opens onto a beautiful patio area beneath a pergola. There’s also a side courtyard and workshop, stable block, former orchard, vegetable garden and more than six acres of land, which includes a large pond (with island!) surrounded by trees.
Finally, Laurendene is a detached house built in the 1980s and remodelled with a self-contained one-bedroom annexe. In addition, there are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, utility room, two reception rooms, and a kitchen with open-plan conservatory attached. Outside, there is off-street parking on the drive, plus gardens, flagged patios and, for frog-lovers, a pond.