It was a stunning October day for our second visit to Farmoor Reservoir. Seventeen of us turned out for a session led by James under the aegis of warden Hanna Jenkins. As with last time, we met in the car park then drove in convoy around the reservoir itself, parking up and unloading our tools for a visit to a different meadow to last time.
Shrike meadow – so called because a shrike was once spotted here many moons ago, although never to be seen again – has been looked after by Thames Water since 2000. Our task was to chop back all the scrub and weeds to create more pasture in preparation for the five cows, currently on neighbouring Pinkhill Nature Reserve, to come over onto this field next year.
The scrub comprised mainly alder and willow of one or two years’ growth, and some very tall reeds. We had brought bow saws, loppers and scythes and started to raze them to the ground. It was definitely welly work, as quite often the water was inches deep in places.
Adrian gave those who wanted tutorials on how to use the scythes which, once you got going, was a very satisfying activity.
Before long we had lots of brash which we gathered up and moved to small piles at the end of the field. We didn’t want to make the piles too big, in case they attracted wildlife to create habitats in them as a new community group, the Friends of Farmoor Reservoir, are planning a bonfire here for Bonfire Night and would be using the scrub for burning.
The sun shone down on us for practically the whole session, and we ended up in t-shirts, despite being in the latter half of October. It was a most enjoyable session and by the end we’d made considerable progress.
|Assembling at the reservoir car park.|
|Rosie takes a ride with Hanna.|
|Hanna provides instruction.|
|The 'before' photo.|
|Adrian sharpens a scythe.|
|Tea, coffee and conversation.|
|Bird feeders in the tree.|
|Rosie in the bird hide.|
|Reflections in the pond.|
|Andrew in the undergrowth.|
|Kevin and Hanna.|
|Kevin raking some reeds.|
|Joanna wields a scythe during the second half.|
|Margaret partially camouflaged.|
|Brash ready for a bonfire.|
|A welcome on-site toilet!|