Silent Pool

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Silent Pool
Silent pool.JPG
Location Surrey
Coordinates 51°13′35.5″N 0°28′57.3″W / 51.226528°N 0.482583°W / 51.226528; -0.482583Coordinates: 51°13′35.5″N 0°28′57.3″W / 51.226528°N 0.482583°W / 51.226528; -0.482583
Primary inflows spring
Primary outflows Sherbourne Brook
Basin countries United Kingdom

Silent Pool is a spring-fed lake at the foot of the North Downs, about 6.5 kilometres (4.0 mi) east of Guildford in Surrey. It is managed together with the nearby Newlands Corner by the Surrey Wildlife Trust, within the privately owned Albury Estate.[1] The outflow from Silent Pool runs into a second, adjacent, lake, Sherbourne Pond,[2] created in the mid-seventeenth century. In turn the outflow from the Sherbourne Pond feeds the Sherbourne Brook, a tributary of the Tilling Bourne.[3]

Silent Pool is considered by some to be a sacred site. It is linked to a folklore tale that says King John on his horse abducted a woodcutter's daughter who was forced into the deep water and drowned. According to the legend, the maiden can be seen at midnight. This legend appears to have come from a book written by Martin Tupper in 1858 called Stephan Langton or The Days Of King John (A Romance of the Silent Pool).[4] The story is based on real historic characters including Stephen Langton, a former Archbishop of Canterbury and King John.[5][6]

In December 1926, when crime writer Agatha Christie infamously disappeared, it was feared that she had drowned in the Silent Pool after her car was discovered at nearby Newlands Corner.[7]

The lake was admired by the poet Alfred Tennyson.[8]

Geology[edit]

The Silent Pool Spring is the only major spring source in the 10.5 miles (16.9 km)-long scarp slope of the North Downs between the Wey and Mole valleys. It discharges between 1 and 10 megalitres (220,000 to 2.2 million gallons) per day into Silent Pool; and the lake water exhibits a blue opalescence characteristic of chalk spring-fed ponds. In prolonged dry periods, Silent Pool has been known to dry up, although the lower Sherbourne Pond has not.[9]

The Silent Pool lies on Lower Chalk, observable at the northern end of the pond. Sherbourne Pond lies mainly on Gault clay, while its northern end and the stream connecting the two ponds lies on Upper Greensand. Blocks of the Upper Greensand can be found in the stream bed: a pale grey siltstone which weathers to brown and is harder than the chalk.[10]

Archaeology[edit]

A survey of the Silent Pool in 2006 suggested that the southern half of Silent Pool was dug out at the same time as Sherbourne Pond (1662), while the northern half is of natural origin. It appears that this natural half of the pond was made deeper and lined with clay when the southern half (lined with clay and heather) was added.

In recent years the Pool came under attack by the invasive weed Crassula helmsii. The weed was thought to have been introduced to the Pool by someone tipping the contents of an unwanted aquarium into it. If it had been allowed to grow unchecked, it would have changed the Silent Pool and Sherbourne Pond drastically, “leaving nothing but a green spongy mass, devoid of life”. Thankfully, the sum of £49,960 was raised and work has been undertaken to eradicate the weed and restore the waters.[11]

Access[edit]

Victorian landscapist Lewis Pinhorn Wood, who lived in Shere village in the 1870s and 1880s, made this sketch of the Silent Pool in 1888, included in his portfolio Sketches from Nature 1869-1908.

The pool has been a popular site for visitors since Victorian times. It has a car park, directly on the A25, and a footpath leading to a viewing platform and a walkway which encircles the pool.[12] It can also be reached by walkers on the North Downs Way via a direct path descending the slope.[13]

Production of gin[edit]

Since 2014, water from the Silent Pool has been used in the production of gin on a site adjacent to the pool.[14] In keeping with the original vision for a sustainable business, a vintage wood-fired steam boiler was restored to power the hand-built copper still, created for Silent Pool Distillers by the Arnold Holstein Company in the Lake Constance area of Germany. The gin has proved popular and the company are now expanding the site, which will include the provision of a larger 'still'. The company operates tours of their distillery, which includes a tasting session.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Newlands Corner & Silent Pool". Surrey Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Silent Pool - Holy Well or Sacred Spring in England in Surrey". The Megalithic Portal. 2005. Retrieved 23 May 2007. 
  3. ^ Crocker, Glenys; Crocker, Alan (2000). Damnable Inventions: Chilworth Gunpowder and the Paper Mills of the Tillingbourne. Guildford: Surrey Industrial History Group. pp. 1–3. ISBN 0-9538122-0-0. 
  4. ^ Tupper, Martin (1858). A Romance of the Silent Pool. Biddles Ltd. p. 235. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Travel Through History In The UK : Silent Pool". InfoBritain. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "The Story of Stephan Langton and of the Silent Pool" (PDF). Albury History. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Agatha Christie's real-life mystery at the Silent Pool". BBC News. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  8. ^ Tennyson, Hallam (2005) [1897]. Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son. 2. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing. p. 594. ISBN 978-0-7661-8373-5. 
  9. ^ Adams B, ed. (2008). The Chalk Aquifer of the North Downs (PDF). British Geological Survey Research Report. Keyworth, Nottingham: British Geological Survey. p. 44. ISBN 978-085272571-9. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Newlands Corner-Albury Geology Trail led by Iain Fletcher". Open University Geological Society (London Branch). Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Silent Pool will breathe again". Surrey Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Silent Pool and Sherbourne Pool". Surrey County Council. Retrieved 22 August 2018. 
  13. ^ "Silent Pool near Albury". National Trail. 2005. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Silent Pool Gin Distillers". Silent Pool Gin Distillers. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "Silent Pool Gin Tours".