AN animal rescue operation has swung into action after a historic spring dried up in the uncommonly dry autumn weather.
The Spring Wells in Billingborough have dried up for the first time since 1976. This mildly warm water supply is thought to have been in use since Roman times.
Villagers noticed the water level going down about two weeks ago and then suddenly the spring dried up completely leaving no water in the pond in front of the parish church.
Parish council chairman Michael King said: “Obviously the aquifer has not got enough water and the water just disappeared almost overnight. It was quite a surprise to the whole village because it hasn’t happened for 35 years. The Spring Wells are the centre of the village and everybody passes it every day.”
The parish council then swung into action with volunteers assisted by members of the RSPCA with nets to rescue the stranded ducks that are resident on the pond.
Mr King said: “My telephone was red hot with people concerned about the welfare of the ducks and the state of the pool which revealed quite a lot of rubbish and debris at the bottom.”
First a working party was brought together to clear away the rubbish and then on Thursday they removed the 14 ducks to a nearby safe haven, along with a surprise population of 25 eels - some very large - which they had not been aware of that had taken refuge in muddy puddles, but were relocated to a river.
The Spring Wells are are fed from the underlying limestone aquifer which also supplies domestic water in this area.
It is expected they will not be replenished until several weeks of winter rain have fallen on the limestone uplands to the west, around Grantham.
Mr King said: “The remaining mud is smelly and quite deep. It was last cleaned out in 1976.
“We now want to get someone to take the mud out but we need machinery and the parish council does not have much money. We are hoping someone will come forward to help, possibly a farmer. Any offers are welcome.”
Contact Mr King on 07791 931309.