Hello Conservation Volunteers
Wow, what a fantastic turnout for our latest work morning up at Porter Clough, over 20, so many in fact Ranger Matt had to go and fetch more spades!
The aim of the morning was to clear the blocked gullies and drains which had contributed to some of the damage to the paths below the wooded area.
The long stretch of drainage ditch which had been cleared on several work mornings in 2022 was full of silt and was first port of call for attention. Looking rather like a chain gang at work, the volunteers spread out to tackle their own area of ditch to dig out, quite a muddy job but it didn't deter them, in fact some seemed to actually enjoy being covered in mud - that can be the only reason Rebecca decide to take a dive in it!
Further down by the old, stumpy willow tree, a previously unknown plastic drainpipe had been uncovered where the path had been eroded away, although neither end could be seen. The riverside end was eventually found and rodded to remove some silt debris however it proved impossible to get the rods completely through, and the other end in the field could not be found. As the pipe already had a split in the middle of the ditch which it crossed, the decision was made to remove a section to allow water from the field to drain into the ditch, and the other side which was now free of silt could drain water away down the bank into the brook.
The ditch behind the old willow tree was also cleared out but the roots from the tree appear to be aiding water to seep along them though the bank onto the path, and roots growing into the ditch prevent digging deeper below the seepage line. One to have a think about!
The full section of drainage on the path down to Clough Lane was checked and all drains and gullies cleared, removing branches which were hanging down and creating blockages.
A special thanks to Ben who was not able to join us but sent some delicious homemade cake, most welcome after a satisfying mornings work, and no doubt Ben will be challenging Mandy for the FoPV catering crown!
Volunteers join us on work mornings when they are available, but it was a bit of surprise to see Mel out as she was celebrating one of those "special" birthdays for which a round of "Happy Birthday" echoed around the valley at the end of the morning's work - absolute dedication for the cause and certainly one birthday to remember!
Just one casualty this time - somebody must have eaten too many Weetabixs for breakfast and managed to snap a spade in two - one for Dave to repair!
The next work morning is on Tuesday 28th November 2023. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Ditch diggers in action
Rebecca (pink hat) just after her her dive in the mud!
Dave enjoying the dig
More photos of the ditch diggers
Mel enjoying playing in the mud on her birthday!
Cutting low branches off the old willow tree to gain access to the ditch
The previously unknown plastic drain pipe under the path
Splitting and rodding the pipe
Philip cutting branches off a tree blocking the ditch
Ranger Matt's end of work morning talk (with Simon holding the cut section of pipe)
Singing "Happy Birthday" to Mel!
Who broke the spade?!