Secret Life of Ponds – The Pieces

Our amazing Secret Life of Ponds pieces are now available to listen to online. Just click on the links below! Information about each piece are described further down the page.

If you are creative in any way – we want you to provide your own creative response to the project, in the same way our wonderful have. We have a competition to celebrate World Water Day and details to enter are here.

Once Again by Madi Maxwell Libby and Dot.i

Created by poet, Madi Maxwell Libby and sound artist, Dot.i, ‘Once Again’ uses a looping, repetitive soundscape based on field recordings from a pond restoration the artists took part in as part of the Secret Life of Ponds project in October 2022. ‘Once Again’ draws on the ancient history of Norfolk’s marl pit ponds to create a folk-horror spoken ballad about memory, legacy and regeneration. UCL science research undertaken by Richard Walton and employed into the practices of Norfolk Ponds Project has shown that farmlands ponds can be several centuries old. When they die, plants and insects put down remains in the pond sediments that can tell us about how the ecology of pond looked all those years ago. In fact, plants have left seeds through the centuries and Richard’s research has shown that following pond restoration, they can, and do germinate, allowing us to bring back plant populations from the past to make our landscapes more biodiverse.

Leaf Mirror Song by Tom Fisher (Action Pyramid) and Chris Redmond (Hot Poets)

Sound artist Tom Fisher and Poet Chris Redmond bring you Leaf Mirror Song: an exploration of the pond restoration process in three parts. Part one is pre-restoration – a lifeless underwater world rich with old folk stories, a sleeping seedbed and potential. The second is a record of human intervention in all of its noise and questions. The third is a rebirth, where the sounds of a pond, fully alive, create an alien symphony of plant, water and creature music as a myriad of species return. This piece touches on the abundance of wildflower species found around restored farmland marl pit ponds, which is the focus of a study by research scientist Alice Walker for the EU-funded Horizon 2020 Ponderful project ( who is investigating this habitat as a resource for pollinators.

Devils Horse by Amina Atiq and Alice Boyd

Devil’s Horse* is an artistic collaboration between poet Amina Atiq and composer/sound designer Alice Boyd, exploring migration in the context of the climate crisis and environmental change. Amina’s two-stanza poem consists of two distinct sections; a sonnet focussed on pond insect species migration, followed by a free-form verse translating to human disturbance. This poem celebrates the growth of life and enrichment of diversity when it is cared and loved for. Alice combines her voice, electronic textures and underwater field recordings to reflect the beauty of the pond at the peak of its lifecycle, and the urgency of creating safe refuges in times of hostility. This work is inspired by the research being undertaken by UCL scientist Helen Greaves, as part of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 Ponderful project ( which is investigating the importance of ponds as a resource in the context of climate change. 
*Romanian folktales translate ‘dragonfly’ into ‘Devil’s Horse’.