Hello Conservation Volunteers
Thank you to everybody who came along to Shepherd Wheel on what was quite a wet morning (for some more than others!).
The main task was to remove the pond weed from the dam, trying out a different method to that which we usually use. Previously, we have thrown Chris N's "patented" weed pond removal rake from the side as far we can and drag it back which gets tiring after a while and only reaches about halfway across. Ranger Matt had previously cleared some undergrowth on the far bank with the intention of having people on both banks pulling the rake backwards and forwards on rope to collect the weed, and he had turned up suitably attired in waders to facilitate getting the ropes across to the far bank and also to guide and ensure the rake did not become stuck.
Starting off with a continuous rope loop appeared to work until the knot came undone (somebody obviously hadn't been in the boy scouts!), and with Matt's waders having sprung a leak so he had changed out of them, we were unable to gather both ends to join it back together, and it proved too far to throw to the other bank with a heavy stick on the end. Never defeated, having still one length of rope on each bank attached to the rake, a quick adjustment was made and weed collecting resumed.
There is no doubt we removed more weed this time being able to drag it all the way across to both banks. Maybe next time we need a heavy rubber ball with string tied to it to throw across which itself is tied to the rope to get the rope across!
The collected weed has been piled up on the bank sides to allow any small creatures to climb back into the water.
The old barley bale was removed, ready for Jack to install a new one.
Further down near Ibbotson Wheel Dam, Dave, Mel and Heather went into what Google Maps calls "Westwood Road Copse" (who knew that?) which has become totally overgrown in cherry laurel, a great example of how cherry laurel will take over an area and grow to tree size! This was just a first foray into the edge of the area, but it is on our list to have some laurel bashing sessions in the future to clear it and allow other plant species to grow.
On a more disappointing note, one of the rope fences we installed in Bingham Park last September has had the bottom rope completely cut and at both ends and removed. If anybody knows anything about this please get in touch.
The next work morning is on Thursday 8th February. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Ranger Matt all ready in his waders with apprentice Caitlin on hand to rescue him!
Setting up the continuous rope loop system
Matt spear fishing??
Dragging weed in on the opposite bank
Dave, Heather and Mel tackling a cherry laurel tree
Lower rope cut on the ends and taken