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Crowdfunding bid launched to bring ancient well back into use for the first time since 1908

Keptie Friends gather to launch a  crowdfunder project to open up an ancient well near the pond
Keptie Friends gather to launch a crowdfunder project to open up an ancient well near the pond

A fundraising campaign has been launched to bring an ancient well back into use at an Angus beauty spot for the first time since 1908.

Keptie Friends, a sub-group of Arbroath in Bloom, are aiming to have water in the pond by the end of July to curb the algae problem that blights Keptie Pond every year.

The group has already raised over £5,000 and will also be applying for Common Good funding alongside the public crowdfunding campaign which runs until April 29.

The bid was launched at the group’s latest litter pick at the pond.

Volunteer George Park said: “This will be the year when water will flow from the historic Nolt Loan Well into Keptie Pond.

“The initial plan was to excavate the well, install a pump and cover, and pump water to the pond.

“However, recent test results indicated that a borehole and pump located just outside the well would extract the spring water flowing freely through the extensive gravel beds.

“McLeod Consulting, who conducted an exhaustive survey of the pond and surrounding area, on behalf of Angus Council, indicated in their report that in order to considerably reduce or remove the annual algae problem, it would be necessary to aerate the pond, install re-circulation to break up thermal layering, and most importantly, locate an affordable water supply to raise the summer water level.

“Once the location of the well had been confirmed by dowsing and trial excavation, the group prepared a ‘guestimate’ of around £50,000 for excavation of the well and associated equipment to take the water to the pond.

“Plans for the entire works are not yet complete, but from early quotations, it seems probable that all works will be completed, with the aid of some volunteer manpower, for a figure likely to be less than £50,000.

“To provide all that is required, as indicated in the McLeod report, to rid us from the algae problem, for a sum which is less that the cost of the failed borehole, installed around 2011, under expert guidance, is nothing short of remarkable.

“The group would like to convey their thanks to the Geddes Group, Ian Smith Contractors, and David Leadingham, structural engineer, whose collective enthusiasm and guidance have helped bring this plan to the brink of fruition.”

The algae problem is tackled by diluting nutrient levels by maintaining a high water level and a throughput of fresh water.

However mains water comes at an unsustainable cost.

A first well was sunk in 1870 at what is now the junction of Rose Street and Roseberry Place before a decision was taken to stop digging and to erect a 6,000 gallon tank and support structure.

A second well was sunk at what is now the entrance to the park at Keptie Pond, linked by a tunnel to a second, similar, well at what is now the junction of Warslap Avenue and Inchcape Road.

The pumping station was built over the Nolt Loan well and the water was pumped to the new water tower on the top of Keptie Hill.

The well officially became redundant on July 10 1908, with the inauguration of the Noran gravitational supply.

Equipment was stripped from the pumping station in 1909, and the well was filled in and the pumping station demolished in 1910.

Volunteer Jean Stewart said the group also wants to install information boards at the pond and she’s hopeful water will be flowing by July.

The page can be accessed at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/our-muddy-puddle-into-swan-lake.

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