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FoPV Work Morning Roundup - Tuesday 25th June 2024

Hello Conservation Volunteers

Thank you to everybody who came along to Forge Dam for our latest work morning where we welcomed a new volunteer, Claire.

There were a variety of tasks lined up for the morning to suit those of all abilities. Martin had answered the call to clean the "Forge Dam" sign and turned up with a bucket and sponge, complete with warm, soapy water, and promptly cleaned it before we got started on the main tasks! (Hopefully he emptied the water out and took an empty bucket home!)

One group made their way to the start of PROW path SHE/48 which starts by the "Carr Bridge Path" stone, and were tasked to cut back and open up the full length of the path. After clearing all the undergrowth around the start of the path the remains of the original steel kissing gate stands proud once again, it has opened up the entrance and looks so much better (see the photos). A great job by the team! Further along near the hibernaculum and dead hedge where the new wildflower meadow has developed nicely, the path had disappeared under the encroaching grass and plants, but this has all been cleared to allow walkers to actually see the path and hopefully not wander off creating new "paths".

Ranger Matt had previously conducted a risk assessment to ensure it was safe for a small group of volunteers to go onto the island as well as checking there were not any nesting birds. Not an easy place to walk through with head high brambles and nettles but all balsam found has been removed. Matt also took the opportunity to install some perches for the kingfishers from dead branches lying around.

After a brief rest back on terra firma (and meeting the path clearing crew where Mandy was dishing out date cake!) the balsam group made their way into the very wet and boggy area of the Wet Woodland where there are large patches of balsam which need pulling in the most difficult areas. Some of the swamps in there are very deep - a stick for testing the depth went down a good 4 feet! Nonetheless, a large area was cleared but we will be back in this side next time.

Two further groups were tasked with checking and clearing drains after the recent storm the week before. The power of the water rushing down had blown off a drain cover on the path below Forge Dam which had been reseated the next day (see photo).

Group 1 worked first on the drain at the top end of the dam which had become blocked with silt out of the Wet Woodland, spilling out onto the path. This was cleared and the mud and silt spillage on the dam path has been cleared. The cobbled path behind the cafe had also suffered with a depth of mud and debris washed down to the bottom. This has all been cleared.

Group 2 made their way downstream to check all the drains to ensure they were clear. Dave also took the opportunity to try out the new tree loppers!

Thanks to Mandy for the date cake, where we had another slice with a coffee at the end of the morning work!

The next work morning is on Thursday 11th July. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.


A Selection of photos from the work morning

Martin cleaning the Forge Dam sign

Kissing gate by the Carr Bridge Path stone before clearing

Clearing around the stone and kissing gate

After clearing

Clearing further along the path

Path clearing team - Chris, Claire, Ted and Martin

On the island

Ranger Matt with a giant balsam in full flower behind him

Rowena with some pulled balsam

Rowena and Mel wading through the nettles and brambles

Ranger Matt installing kingfisher perches

In the Wet Woodland

A tiny balsam growing on a decaying tree trunk!

Rowena and Hugh

Mel with a collection of balsam ready to be hung up to dry out

Dave M clearing the drain

...and clearing the cobbled path

Cobbled path cleared

Dave C trying out the new tree loppers

Drain cover lifted by the storm water


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