Inert and Co. have continued to work on building up spoil between the bailey bridge and pump, and on the land mass. Progress appears slow but steady. No apparent effort to get this restoration over and done with.
Now, I could be slighting Cemex, and progress is proceeding as fast as weather, ground and resource conditions allow. There could be any number of reasons for the apparent slow progress on Manor farm. I've mentioned several throughout this blog. However, I do know that a lot of people (i.e. residents) are getting fed up with how long this is taking. Plus it is a community resource which people want to get on and use. We can but wait and see.
Speaking of ground conditions. They are pretty bad, what with all this rain. Lorries have to proceed quite slowly, one would say gingerly. Whereas before, when the area was dry, they could belt along at a fair lick. Soil, stones, chalk etc have been ground into a fine powder, which when mixed with water turns into a sludge the consistency of wallpaper paste. And the stuff is deep in places, filling troughs the lorries have gouged out in the various vehicle tracks.
Walking about the site, particularly the land mass, was somewhat fraught at times. Much careful placing of feet, and slowly putting weight onto it to check how firm the ground was. I had to back track several times to avoid sinking up to my knees in the stuff. Dragging yourself out of clingy mud, with several hundred pounds of quite bulky camera equipment around your neck is not good.
For the first time in months, I made it onto my mighty mound. The mound itself is quite consolidated. The problem was getting to it and then getting away from it. Approaching it from the north proved relatively easy, as I stepped into vehicle tracks. I prefer lorry tracks, they consolidate the ground better. The bulldozer, with its wide caterpillar tracks, has a light footprint which doesn't consolidate the ground. I attempted to get off my mighty mound on its south side, and stepping onto the vehicle track. This didn't work as planned. The very last two steps were impossible to accomplish as the mud was so deep and gooey. I had to work my way back to the north side of the hill, and retrace my steps across the land mass. The things I do for this blog!
There was plenty of standing water about on the former Finch pond part of Manor farm. An indication of the area's predilection to flooding. Now, it is possible that the water levels over the past week are higher than would be expected when restoration is complete. When the traget levels are reached, the standing water will be a thing of the past. I remain to be convinced. Water levels have receded considerably, but the standing water (i.e. large puddles to thee and thou) still remain.
This week's challenge appears to be ice. My trail cam, which I put out, claims the temperature dropped to -10C, on Sunday morning. I'm not sure of that, and have put a regular thermometer out to verify. I was certainly breaking ice about 5mm thick as I walked through puddles on Saturday morning.
Inert, and the restoration progress, never fail to surprise me.
My first surprise came on my Wednesday stomp, when I spied a tipper lorry dumping stuff on the north east side of the copse, and a digger working on it. Although the land mass (aka previous infill) is fairly stable, I was surprised that lorries and diggers were working so close to the water of Cormorant lake (south) just north of the copse. It is quite deep there, and the ground very boggy as this is an area of recent infill. Still, a fair amount of stuff had been dumped.
My second surprise was how much stuff had been dropped onto the site, seeing as I keep commenting on how much progress appears to have slowed of late. Inert continued to build piles of stuff westward between the pump station and bailey bridge. The bulldozed was pushing stuff westward, building long, high ramps of spoil.
My third surprise came at the pump station. Normally, Inert will build a low embankment which runs along the shoreline of the lakes. It isn't always done, but seems to have been a feature of the shoreline of Cormorant lake (south) running from the pump station to the copse. Venturing on to the site in some weeks, I was surprised not to see the banking there; especially as water levels were now up to normal.
Pumping out water is proceeding slowly. Only about a foot had fallen since last week. Not entirely surprising as a fair sized Finch pond and full Cormorant lake (north) have to be pumped, all the while battling the saturated ground pouring more water into the lakes and... yes ... you guessed it...yet more rain.
I did not venture onto the land mass and neither did I attempt to clamber up my mighty mounds. The ground was just too saturated. As it was I had a long detour due to the flooding along the vehicle track running along the south side of the site. Even without the flooding I know that the track can be quite boggy along the vehicle track. Therefore, first I walked along the north embankment to the ridge, then back to the Longwater road entrance, and then to the bailey bridge via the south footpath, and then back along the footpath.
After the gloriously clear skies of Friday (did you see the Wolf moon?) Saturday was incredibly cloudy, giving pretty lousy light conditions. While by Sunday, it is now nice and bright again. Sigh.
Happy new year from the first, if a tad late, update of the new decade. I paid my first visit to the restoration on Manor farm since before a rather odd, though very satisfying, Christmas.
I wasn't at all surprised to find that our stalwart pump had stopped working over Christmas; probably ran out of diesel. This year, however, we have had torrential rain for a couple of months. Thus, on my return to the site I found that water levels had risen considerably over Christmas, probably to their normal levels.
This gives a hint of what the restored site will look like.
Inert were busily back at work on Thursday 2nd, keeping themselves between the pump and bailey bridge - carrying on their pre-Christmas task of piling up more stuff. About half a dozen lorries were in attendance, some from firms I have never seen before e.g. TMR. Understandably, progress appeared a little slow. It is now too dangerous to go near waters edge, simply because it is impossible to tell where it slopes down steeply; not to mention the ground will be the consistency of quicksand.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.