Hello Conservation Volunteers
What a great turn out we had for our latest work morning! A massive thank you to everybody who came along to help with a varied programme of work around Forge Dam.
One of the tasks was to remove a cherry laurel tree which was growing profusely and had taken over at the bottom of the spillway. No sooner had the group been briefed they were in action with bowsaws and loppers and dragging the remains back across the river for storage behind the shed for (hopefully!) Ranger Matt to take away at some point. Having razed the laurel to the ground the laurel hedge on the driveway approach to the cafe had a good haircut to neaten it up.
On the path down from Whiteley Lane to the cafe another group was tackling the nettles and brambles which were encroaching onto the path. These have been cut back and the path edges trimmed to remove encroaching grass.
Ann was also out strimming back on the rising path by the playground.
At the top end of the dam a group extracted some of the hardcore used by contractors for the first Irish bridge which was washed away in the autumn storms of 2022. This is to be reused to repair the drainage along the path on the west end. There is still more to be extracted another time when river levels are lower, but trying to gather up the hardcore in a river at welly top height is not as easy it may sound! The team did a great job removing such a large amount to wheelbarrow away ready for recycling.
The training wall near the bridge had also suffered some damage during recent storms. John cut down an alder sapling to use as posts to knock in and support one small section. The hessian covering which had dropped down has been pulled back and secured with galvanised staples.
One of the frustrating issues on the west side is the muddy water running over the newly laid tarmac path. We've had a couple of attempts to fix and investigate the pipe where it drains into the dam but not been able to clear it. Before winter arrives we are planning to dig out the channel and install a perforated pipe using the recovered hardcore and fix it for good, so whilst working in that area we had another attempt to find and clear the other end of the drainage pipe.
After a lot of digging, we eventually uncovered the original drainage sump, but the plumbing rods were unable to break through to it, being about 6 inches of blockage, and although we knew where the pipe should be we couldn't actually see it.
Peter disappeared and returned with a long, thick branch cut earlier by the laurel cutting crew, and using it as a battering ram finally broke through the hardcore and soil to the sump! That wasn't the end of matters though. The large plastic pipe going into the dam had a smaller diameter plastic pipe inside it and this was bent round effectively blocking the drainage to the dam. A bit more tugging, huffing and puffing and that came out to allow water to finally drain away!
We will be back to reinstall an inner pipe at a later session and in the meantime monitor it to see whether we still need to install a perforated pipe in the drainage channel.
Those pesky wasps were out tormenting again. One of our volunteers unfortunately suffered a wasp sting in a rather nasty place at the top of her leg through her trousers......we think the wasp was probably after the Lincolnshire plum cake in her backpack and had lost its way!
The next work morning is on Tuesday 26th September 2023. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Laurel Cutting Crew in action
Ben on dry land moving the brash
Stephen cutting the laurel hedge
Laurel brash awaiting Ranger Matt to remove
Simon trimming the path by the dam
Simon trying to find the end of the drainage pipe
Peter with his battering ram!
Trying to get the damaged inner pipe out
Hardcore removed and drain sump covered over with a large stone
Damaged training wall before
John clambering out after doing some repairs
Training wall repaired
Volunteers having a well earned coffee at the end of the morning
A nasty looking wasp sting but fortunately the wasp didn't get the Lincolnshire plum cake!