Hello Conservation Volunteers
Another fantastic turnout for our penultimate work morning of 2023 - thank you to everyone who attended for the various tasks we had planned at Forge Dam.
Our wreath makers had requested more foliage for the wreaths and swags (or is it sprays...there has been much debate over the naming of these!), so we had two foraging groups out, one downstream and one upstream on the lookout for snowberries, holly with berries, leylandii, ivy and yew, with a special request for golden yew!
Both groups returned with the goods. The holly has been tremendous this year with the valley flooded (probably the wrong choice of words!) with red holly berries wherever you look, and we have managed to get in before the waxwings take them all in the next couple of weeks. The non-native, invasive snowberry lower down was apparently past its best with the white berries dropping off when cut - we will be digging this out totally over future sessions.
The large drain with the FoPV plaque on it in the head goit to Wiremill had become blocked with debris, and water was flowing around it rather than through it. A small group tackled this before moving on to clear the grill further along before finishing at Wiremill to clear more debris from the dam.
Meanwhile, Peter and Phil at the millrace tackled the overgrown vegetation around it and removed the pine branches which had fallen into it.
On the far side of the dam the drainage crew were out again - our volunteers do seem to like the mucky jobs!
The previously uncovered drainage sump on the west side was blocked with leaves and the small drainage ditch was blocked and overflowing creating a layer of mulch comprising of silt and rotting leaves on the path. The ditch has been cleared and dug out to deepen it (a drainage pipe will be installed next year), and the stones re-positioned at the sump to prevent it becoming blocked. It was all flowing well when we left it.
In the north-west corner, water coming down the path from the Wet Woodland was also flooding onto the path. The hidden and buried drainage sump was found and dug out, the drainpipe under the path rodded and the plastic drainpipe (removed from the other drain a few sessions ago) installed to aid drainage.
The drainage ditch running down from the Wet Woodland to the sump looked like it hadn't been cleared for years with loose concrete kerbs having fallen into it. An old drainpipe made up of individual, loosely connected one foot clay drainpipes was also discovered running down under the ditch and then disappearing diagonally across the path, obviously abandoned at some time as it became blocked, and hence the ditch had been dug. The full length of the ditch has been cleared to drain the water into the sump at the bottom.
At the bottom of the woodland path as it meets the new tarmac path where it had become very muddy, hardcore removed from the river back in September has been laid down to create a firm surface.
To finish off, the tarmac path around the dam has been thoroughly brushed and tidied up and is looking spick and span!
Our final work work morning of 2023 is on Thursday 14th December 2023. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Peter and Phil at the millrace
Two babes (foraging) in the woods!
Heather and Mel ditch clearing
Steve with a splattered muddy face
Clearing the drain and ditch on the west side
Digging out the drain and sump on the north-west corner
Heather and Mike installing the plastic drainpipe
Drainage ditch cleared
Hardcore laid at the bottom of the path
Ted clearing the path
Peter and Ted at the end of the morning session
Swept and tidied paths!