Abbey Fishponds, 7th March 2020

There were seventeen of us for today’s session at Abbey Fishponds, led by Margaret under the instruction of Lucy Duerdoth from the Earth Trust. In addition, several Earth Trust members joined in, which was just as well as there was much to do over the length and breadth of the area.

We gathered by the entrance to the site at Hadland Road and Lucy gave us our tasks which were numerous today. Much of the work was as a result of the recent storms that have swept through the country. So we were to saw and chop up poplar trees that had fallen at the Radley Road end of the site, and a fallen willow tree at the Audlett Drive end. There were piles of brash which had been scattered by the high winds which were to be tidied up, too.

In addition, there was planting to be done in order to create a new conservation hedge along the reed bed on the eastern edge of the site. This was to grow along the reserve side of a dead hedge which has already been created there. One thing to make sure of was that there was no new blackthorn mixed in with the new hedge - otherwise this would soon begin suckering down onto the wetland areas.

We were also to move habitat piles away from a hedge which needed in-filling. And finally there was the perennial litter-picking to be done.

We gathered our tools and made our way up the mound to our usual spot where we set up base camp, and from where we have a great view over the reed beds. Then we spread out over the site to start whichever of the morning’s tasks took our fancy. It was a grey-ish day, for the most part, but the birds were singing and heron’s flapped around the ponds.

By break time we’d made good progress and deserved our tea break, especially after sawing through poplar tree trunks. Where’s a chain saw when you need one? Although of course that’s not the point of the green gym!

After tea and biscuits, it was back to work until we finished the session happy with all we’d achieved and as always amazed at how much the site has changed since we first came here all those years ago!

Lucy sets out the plan.

Preparing to work.

Jelly Ear fungus on a dead elder tree.

Roger and Andrew begin clearing a fallen poplar. 

The 'after' photo - the remaining trunk too big for our saws!

Adrian, James x 2 and Earth Trust volunteer Mike in varying states of urgency.

The path from the Radley Road end.

The view from the mound.

The view in the other direction with beverages being prepped.

Another tree brought down in the recent storms.

Helen and Petra.

Lesser Celandine.

Over on the other side of site, Graham prepares some tree whips for planting.

A planted hedge.

Rowan, Crab Apple and Dog Rose whips.

Dieuwke, James and Phineas busy planting.

A young spray of Elderflowers amongst the new leaves.

Elsewhere, Margaret cleans the mud from her spades after further hedge planting efforts.


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