Clean up pledge as cygnets battle to survive on litter strewn pond

Long POnd King's Lynn

A family of swans which have taken up residence on the Long Pond in King's Lynn, which have already lost two cygnets - Credit: Chris Bishop

A council has pledged to clean up a pond after the first family of swans to take up residence on it for almost 20 years lost two of their young to litter.

Two adults and five cygnets moved on to the Long Pond, in King's Lynn last week.

Long Ponds King's Lynn swans

The cygnet which died after becoming entangled in fishing line on the Long Pond in King's Lynn - Credit: Deborah Wright

One young bird has died after getting entangled in fishing line. Another is recovering at a wildlife hospital after swallowing a discarded hook.

The margins of the pond are strewn with litter. Swans graze the weeds among plastic bags, bottles and cans. Retired factory worker Steve Wright, who lives on nearby Loke Road, said: "I spend quite a lot of time picking up litter but I'm coming up to 74 and my wife's worried I'm going to end up in the pond.

Long POnd

Steve Wright with the family of swans on the Long Pond in King's Lynn - Credit: Chris Bishop

"Several people have been onto the council about the pond. You'd think the environmental people at the council would come and give it a clean up."

Brian Long, West Norfolk council's cabinet member for corporate services, said: “We get frequent reports of dumped rubbish in the Long Pond. Apart from being the result of anti-social behaviour and a blight on the area, this dumped rubbish causes other problems as the ponds are part of the town’s critical drainage infrastructure.

Fly tipping

Council workers remove a bed which had been fly-tipped beside the Long Pond in King's Lynn - Credit: Chris Bishop

“We are working with our contractor to get this area cleared again and in the meantime would urge anyone who sees someone dumping rubbish in the ponds to report it online at with as much information as possible, including time, any vehicles or descriptions of people, and specific location.

Most Read

"Alternatively call 01553 616200 to report it. It is a matter we take very seriously and will take enforcement action wherever necessary and possible to deter people from fly-tipping and dumping other rubbish in this area.”

Mr Wright's wife Deborah said it was the first time a family of swans had been seen on the pond for 18 years.


Cygnets beside the Long Pond in King's Lynn - Credit: Chris Bishop

Wildlife photographer Matty Jessop also saw the birds. He said: "I went down there for a walk at lunchtime and saw a swan on her nest and thought I'd go back and get some pictures.

"It was shocking how much rubbish was in there, bread bags, cans and there's a plastic bottle in the nest and chocolate wrappers."

Long Pond 2

Rubbish removed from the Long Pond in King's Lynn by Matty Jessop - Credit: Matty Jessop

Mr Jessop, 37, who works as a learning support worker, decided to go back and with a bin bag as well as his camera.

"I just thought I'd go back down there with a net and a bin bag and see what I could get," he said. "There was an old bike in there as well but I couldn't get it out."


A submerged bicycle in the Long Pond in King's Lynn - Credit: Chris Bishop

Long Pond

The Long Pond in King's Lynn - Credit: Chris Bishop

Long Pond

A cygnet shares its nest with a plastic bottle and sweet wrappers on the Long Pond in King's Lynn - Credit: Matty Jessop

Steve Wright swan man

Steve Wright has also put up signs to warn drivers of swans crossing Loke Road by the Long Pond in King's Lynn - Credit: Chris Bishop