Lower Eliot Pond and Quercus Genius

The bluebell woods. Trees and bluebells along a dirt path.

Lower Eliot Pond and Quercus Genius

Did you know?

Lower Eliot Pond has been extensively monitored and is known to be a breeding pond for Great Crested Newts (GCNs) supporting a medium population. It is also recorded to support medium populations of native smooth and palmate newts, and occasional common frogs. Recent evidence also shows Upper Eliot as being a potential breeding site for the UK's three native newt systems.  

The Quercus Genius is an outdoor teaching and learning space, nestling within woodland on the Canterbury campus, and one of the locations on the Wellbeing Map.  

Timeline panel

Great Crested Newts

A Gold Crested Newt in a fish tank.

Upper Eliot pond is home to a protected species of Great Crested Newts. Growing up to 16cm long, females have distinct yellow and orange bellies, whilst males develop a conspicuous jagged crest on their back and tail during the breeding season.


Bluebells in a forest.

Bluebells, also known as Hyacinthoides nonscripta, burst into life in this forest in late April. Coppicing the surrounding tress gives the Bluebells a source of light, resulting in them being able to spread down to Lower Eliot Pond in recent years. 

Coppicing the Trees

Two tree trunks in a woodland area. Large trees in the background and dirt on the floor.

On rotation across 15 years, trees around campus are 'coppiced' which involves being cut down at the base. 

Trees in a woodland area, with small white flowers and long grass growing all around.

Although this may look damaging, it does not kill the tree, promotes longevity of life and regrowth, and allows species on the ground to thrive, promoting biodiversity which attracts new insects and animals . 

Chestnut Trees

A close-up of chestnut trees, with large green leaves and white and pink flowers blooming.

Horse Chestnut Trees are just some of the trees coppiced in the Bluebell Woods. Blooming with white, cone-shaped flowers in April-June and producing brown, shiny Chestnuts as Summer ends and the first signs of cold emerge.

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Positive Energy

Try the Meditation exercise at the pond.

A white flower, with flowers and leaves in the background.

5 senses challenge

Mindfulness Activity

  1. Look around you and make note of five things, be sure to use different senses: sound, sight, smell, touch.
  2. Reflect on how these things may change over time and as the season's change.
  3. Now consider five things that you are grateful for. Think of how these may have also changed over time and reflect on future things you may be grateful for.

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Want to find out more?

Then visit the Sustainability and Biodiversity website.

Why not check out activities for a different stop on the Biodiversity walk?

The previous and next stops