© Andrew Moon

On a beautiful, sunny Autumn morning, we enjoyed the second work party of this end of the year. We worked on the western bank of Stocker’s Lake near the wooden bridge between the river and the lake.

We have enjoyed two great recruitment days, either end of the glorious summer.  Both days were extremely well supported by fellow members who gave freely of their time and worked very hard in getting over 80 new members to join our ranks over the two days. The sun shone on both days and Russell, our Recruitment officer organised and briefed the members making sure there was enough tea/ coffee and biscuits to share even amongst our new recruits.

The first work party of the season and a good turnout – 14 in all. Our job was to rake and collect the long grass cut by Rob Hopkins in the fenced area at the end of the causeway that separates Stocker’s and Bury lakes.  For some reason Rob hadn’t cut as large an area as usual, so, for the first time in living memory, we finished the work party by midday.  This was the first work party since we moved our tools from Stocker’s House garage to the fishermen’s shed nearer Springwell Lane.  We still met at Stocker’s House, but the tools had to be loaded into the van during the week before.

We returned to the scene of our last work party to continue clearing the rubbish from the strip of land between the Uxbridge Road and the metal bridge over the River Colne.  And what rubbish!  We filled three large builders bags with hard and soft plastics, tins, glass and large pieces of metal – all nicely separated ready for disposal.  To get at it we had to cut down a high bramble patch which doubtless will regrow.  We also picked up loads of dog poo plastic bags.  I wish people wouldn’t do that.  At any given time, there are probably 100 of these bags discarded in our reserve.  We also cleared rubbish on the other side of the river.  Now we need access to a public dump, as we are regarded as ‘corporate’ and not allowed to use the Rickmansworth public tip.  What nonsense.

We also set up a tent to do some membership recruitment.  Unfortunately, as it was rather wet we did not get very many passers-by.  But we did recruit one paid up new member and two or three people expressed real interest.

Splendid work by Russell Ball, Emma Brading, Steve Cohen, Nigel Daley, Ken Davies, Peter Ewer, Tony & Sheila Lee, Eileen Petch, Paul & James Sumner (James doing his Duke of Edinburgh Awards) and Ian Watson. (See photo above.)
 
Emma Brading
 

Jack Westbrook & Ian Watson repaired the fence we put up on the canal-side.  We replaced broken and missing fence rails and railed off the end which had allowed access to the reserve and to rubbish tippers.  3 hours well spent.

Ian Watson

A good-sized party worked on the land between the Uxbridge Road entrance and the River Colne.  Not everybody knew that this is part of our reserve.  The path not only gives access to the reserve but also to the Aquadrome and even the large Tesco store.  It is widely used and, as sadly you may expect from the Great British Public, heavily strewn with rubbish, plastic, glass, tins and my pet hate, little plastic bags of dog poo.  Why people go to the trouble of collecting their dog poo and then discarding the plastic bag as rubbish, I’ll never know.  Far better, in a nature reserve, to let the animal do its business off the path so that the first rain washes it back into the earth, whence all things cometh.  Plastic bags do not disintegrate but stay where they are as unhygienic eye-sores until somebody, like us, disposes of them. We also planted nearly 40 trees.  Alders, geans (wild cherries), silver birch and oak.  We’ve already planted about 50 trees there over the past 20 years.

Meanwhile, on the canal-side of the reserve, our expert hedge layerers, Julia & Phillip Davies and Ken Davies, were continuing the big job of layering the canal hedge we planted 10 years ago.   Our thanks not only to them but also to, Emma Brading, Russell Ball, Nigel Daley, Nllesh Dodia, Tony & Sheila Scott and Ian Watson.

We are thinking about continuing our rubbish clear-up at the next work party on 8 April and combining it with some membership recruitment, as so many people use the path.

Emma Brading