© Andrew Moon

The first of the new season.  A small party (because the notice to our volunteers went out rather late – my fault) but good work done.  Jack and Nigel put up more fencing by Kingfisher Hide, which just about finishes that job.  We noticed that the bird table seems to have disappeared.  No problem. I’ve got another one which I had prepared earlier!

The rest of us cleared rubbish from part of the ditch on the canal side.  Much less rubbish than when we cleared it up some years ago.  I suspect our ‘boaties’ on the canal are becoming more careful.  Also the new hedge and fence which we installed have helped.

Thanks to Nigel Daley, Dawn Goodair, Marcus King, Tony and Sheila Lee, Ian Watson and Jack Westbrook.  We missed Rob Mitchell!

Ian Watson

This April we changed the work Sunday from the first to the third Sunday of the month because of certain commitments.

The work we did was around and in the ponds in the second meadow from the iron bridge over the river. We cleared willow saplings from around the ponds and Marcus and Jack put on waders and cleared dead vegetation from within the ponds. Marcus commented that methane gas was being released from rotting vegetation. This is going to poison anything living in the water. We should take note and act.

Those present: Jack Westbrook, Bill Sylvester, Paul Knutson, Marcus King, Dawn Goodair, Tony and Sheila Lee, Ian Watson and Mitch.

Ian Watson

We continued the work of hedge layering and clearing along the canal side fence. The ladies, led by Dawn, worked on the lake side of the fence layering the hawthorn that was planted a number of years ago. The men levelled the mix of plants, dead hedge fashion, on the canal side and performed other support activities. 

Those present: Dawn Goodair, Evelyn Fox, Sheila & Tony Lee, Jack Westbrook, Paul Knutson, Mitch.

Mitch (Rob Mitchell)

It was a rather miserable day, but Dawn Goodair got on with layering the hedge by Stocker’s House, with the help of Steve and Erica Davey, welcome new workers.  Meanwhile, the rest of us cleared the brambles from our little copse by the Lock Keeper’s Cottage.  We noticed that a lot of the young trees had the bark eaten away at the same height on the main trunks.  It was Chris Jones who deduced that this must be the work of deer and the height of the damage suggested that a muntjac was the culprit. We seldom see them on the reserve, but doubtless night time is when they operate.  We’ll get some protectors.

We raked up the grass cuttings made when Rob Hopkins of the Trust hand-mowed the fenced-off piece of land at the end of the causeway which the big tractor-towed mower cannot reach.  Ian Watson, whilst cutting down a few willow and alder saplings on the ditch which used to join Stocker’s with the sailing lake, managed to fall in the water. It’s one of his specialities; in fact it was his fourth involuntary dip over the last 20 years or so.

Many thanks to Dawn Goodair, Chris Jones, Paul Knutson, Tony, Sheila Lee, ‘Mitch’, Bill Sylvester and Ian Watson.

Ian Watson

The first work party of the winter season – and a fair bit of clearing-up to be done.  We concentrated on the wooden broad walk, not far from Stocker’s House, and then we cleared a lot of blackthorn from our hedge at the entrance there.  Blackthorn spreads with roots, and it was beginning to take over the hazel grove which we have planted over the years.  Blackthorn is not recommended for hedges unless you’ve got plenty of room. We have learnt by experience!

We welcomed two new members – Graham Clark and Chris Jones- to join our ‘old faithfuls’- Evelyn Fox, Dawn Goodair, Tony and Sheila Lee, ‘Mitch’, Bill Sylvester and Ian Watson.

Ian Watson