© Andrew Moon

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

The weather was bright yet cool. So it was a busy Sunday working around Stocker’s and there were many visitors enjoying the ambience. The work party split into two groups. One group focussed on hedge layering along the canal side with Dawn, Julia and Phil leading this group and teaching some new members the intricacies of hedge layering. The other group worked on the causeway between Bury and Stocker’s Lakes removing saplings by the water’s edge along the reed bed. The removed saplings had their lateral branches taken off so that they could be used at a later date as stakes on the reserve. Apologies to the hedge layering group who worked through tea break due to a mis-communication by myself.  Rest assured, I have punished myself for such an oversight and I can only tentatively ask for forgiveness.

Many thanks to: Dawn Goodair, Julia Davies, Phil Davies, Eileen Petch, Nilesh Dodhia, Peter Ewer, Steve Cohen, Nigel Daley, Sarah Marriott, Tony and Sheila Lea.

Nigel Daley

Another good size party worked off some of the Christmas pudding and mince pies.  We continued the job of clearing the undergrowth that blocks the sun from our hedge on the canal-side.  Some of us carried on layering the hedge, whilst others picked up rubbish discarded by our lovely Great British Public.   Nigel Daley took several carloads of rubbish and cuttings to the dump and cleared up the full sacks we left on site in December In February we will all get down to hedge layering – under instruction from our experts.
Many thanks to Emma Brading, Steve Cohen, Nigel Daley, Georgina & Julia Davies, Peter Ewer, Evelyn Fox, Dawn Goodair, Ray Kristofiak, Tim Lawrence, Alison Marriott, Ian Watson and Jack Westbrook.
Ian Watson

Another big party, 18 in all. The ‘Brading Effect’ is still working, although Emma herself was in India for a few weeks.

We started a big job on the canal side of the reserve. The aim is to layer the hawthorn hedge we planted some years ago (some 400 metres!), but first we have to clear some of the brambles which have grown up on the canal side of the fence (which we paid for), so that we can get at the hawthorn and also to let sunlight to reach the hedge.

Whilst Dawn Goodair and Jack Westbrook did some layering (continuing the job they started last year), Tony and Sheila Lee cleared up the rubbish discarded by the Great British Public on the towpath and the reserve, and the rest of us started clearing the brambles. This left us with 4 huge building sacks of brambles and rubbish which present a disposal problem which is Ian Watson’s problem.

Many thanks to all who attended; Len Carter, Nigel Daley, Ken Davies, Phillip and Julia Davies, Peter Ewer, Dawn Goodair, Paul Knutson, Ray Kristofiak, Tony and Sheila Lee, Eileen Petch, Andy Schofield, Bob Sherin, Paul and James Sumner, Ian Watson and Jack Westbrook.

Ian Watson

Wow! And what a party! 20 turned up, the largest work party since we did haymaking on the riverside meadows 15 years ago. It must be the ‘Brading’ Effect’ because since Emma took over as our volunteers organiser, the two work parties have been really large. Well done Emma!

The difficulty of course is finding work for 20 people in more or less the same area (so that we can convene easily for coffee and excellent biscuits). However, we managed. We cleared the alder saplings which had taken over the second pond by the boardwalk; we used a pile of stones left by the Trust to fill in a puddle and patches on our paths. (The Trust has been doing wonderful work in creating kingfisher nests - as featured on BBC Countryfile); We tidied up some timber left by the Trust – kept the good stuff and chucked the rubbish; cut back the hazel but kept the withy thus produced ( useful when we get down to layering – which Rob Hopkins at the Trust has agreed to teach us at our next work party on December 3rd).

Good work by Emma Brading, Nigel Daley, Ken Davies, Julia and Phil Davies, Milesh Dodhia, Peter Ewer*, Evelyn Fox, Dawn Goodair, Helen Harbrow, Marcus King, Tony and Sheila Lee, Eileen Petch, Andy Schofield, Bob Sherin*, Paul and James Sumner*, Jay Vala* and Ian Watson.    * New workers who are most welcome!

Ian Watson