Hello Conservation Volunteers
It was a welcome return to warm, sunny weather after the previous soaking for the volunteers who turned out for our latest work morning around Forge Dam.
It has always been our intention to install a bench on the viewpoint above the south bank, and Ranger Matt turned up with a large, sycamore bench top and larch poles (the latter looking more like chopped down telegraph poles from Whiteley Lane!) for a team to go off and start digging the post holes.
During the torrential rain on the last work morning, we had noticed drainage issues on the bridleway, so a team set off to attend to these, stopping off at the top of the dam to try and alleviate water from the wet woodland running across the newly tarmacked path (we need to have another look at this). On the bridleway recent works on the path had pushed up banks of earth against the bottom of the railings preventing water draining away. This has been dug away and water should hopefully now not pool on the path. An impromptu litter picking session also took place!
We had also seen last time that water was not flowing out of one of the new blue drainage pipes under the bridleway and water was flowing over the path. We had an investigatory poke with a full length of rods which surprisingly did not reach the end of the pipe, which is a bit of a puzzle as this would put the end of the pipe somewhere up the field at the other side and not where it pools at the bottom and runs across the path! Another poke with two packs of rods is required to try and determine where the other end of the pipe is situated.
The drainage team returned via the viewpoint to see how the bench team was progressing to find only one post had been installed all morning. There seemed to be a lot of standing around by the "lads" whilst Heather was digging the second post hole! The photos do show the team did finally manage to finish the new bench installation, a nice location to take a rest and admire the restored dam.
Dave returned with a team to tackle the railings on the cobbled path behind the cafe after getting washed out last time. About half of the railings have had the flaky paint and rust removed and treated with a red oxide primer. It will require a few more sessions to treat the other half and put on an undercoat and final topcoat.
Peter was back in the store putting some finishing touches to the tidying up with some more hooks for tools and labelling up the positions so we know where they need to be put back! A really great job, and well overdue.
To finish off the session, the plant bed opposite the playground was covered with some of the mulch left over from the previous hawthorn whip mulching session. The petunias planted by the beavers the previous week were starting to wilt, but after being mulched and watered will hopefully now pick up and flourish.
The next work morning is on Thursday 8th June 2023. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Ranger Matt explaining why it is taking so long to dig the post holes! (about 1m is underground)
Barry having a go with the post hole digger
Heather working hard while the guys look on!
Phil takes over with the easier task of puting the post in the hole!
Phil, Barry, Heather and Rod taking a hard earned break on the new bench
Glyn, Mel and Chris creating a drainage channel to divert water runoff
Chris and Mel clearing drainage on the bridleway
Mel doing a spot of mulching after completing drainage work
Stuart putting on the red oxide primer
Tony taking off flaky paint and rust with a tungsten carbide scraper
First half primed