Addendum: I decided to see if I could find a definitive completion date for the restoration and entered into the murky world of planning applications. Using the posting on the MGLG website, I climbed onto the Wokingham Council website and found the numerous documentation, amendments, plans etc associated with planning application VAR/2013/2511. In these documents, it does state that the completion dates for restoration of Manor farm and Fleet Hill farm is 31st December 2018. Interestingly, there is a corresponding planning application for the Chandlers farm (Hampshire side of the works as I recently discovered) for plant to be removed by 31st December 2019, and restoration completed by 31st July 2020.
Personally, I can't really see the restoration of Manor farm happening by 31st December 2018. Progress on the infill of Finch pond has been slow and steady. Areas at the north west corner of Manor farm have reached the finish level of infill - which puzzles me as the whole lot is supposed to be capped with inert soil. I can't see the stuff being bulldozed into the lake being terribly inert.
At the current rate of progress, I reckon the infill of Finch pond will be complete round about the end of the year. Which leaves the matter of what is to happen to the lake I call Cormorant lake. One set of plans that I have seen suggest that most of this lake (both north and south) will be filled in. Another shows a fair amount of the lake being incorporated into Manor lake south; but with most of the northern parts of the lake filled in.
I feel it would be a shame to fill in Cormorant lake. It hosts such a huge range and number of wildfowl. Far better, to my untutored mind, to fill in Cormorant lake north, and leave Cormorant lake south well alone. It would certainly save a lot of money and allow completion of the reserve to be achieved much quicker. However, saying that the Fleet Hill farm and Moor Green Lakes parts of the reserve do have fairly large ponds and lakes, which the birds can use. Strangely I do not see the large numbers of Greylag and Egyptian geese in these parts of the reserve.
I have been studiously ignoring the restoration of Chandlers farm, mostly as I believed it would be given over to sports grounds. Now that I have actually gone back and inspected the plans properly, I notice that there is supposed to be a large reserve area to the east of the site - mainly where the works buildings are. However, once again I am hearing differing news on what precisely will be the final plan for this area. It has changed substantially over the decades.
In terms of progress. A visit on Wednesday morning revealed a scene similar to last week: a digger working on the north west corner of Manor farm, with a handful of lorries bringing in spoil. I have now decided that I hit tea break time on a Wednesday morning, as all the plant operators head over to the Hampshire part of the reserve.
I did notice that soil had been scrapped off the side of the west embankment i.e. the banking along the Longwater road. My Saturday visit revealed that it had been used to fill in the gap between it and the raised area that has been constructed over the past couple of week.
This raised area is now, as I mentioned earlier, at the Finish level for the infill. It has been extended about three quarters the way east along the base of the north embankment; thus filling in the drainage channel.
Some work has been taking place along the new south shore of Finch pond. Nothing dramatic, just fiddling with the edges.
Perversely, the pump has been turned off or has run out of diesel. Consequently, lake levels are, once again, rising. The birds, of course, love it. I do find it somewhat amusing the way the pump keeps being turned on and off, but cannot fathom the logic.
I've had stab at updating the progress map of Finch pond with the area I believe has reached the finish infill level. I do not know if this will then be capped with a layer of inert soil, but a quick eye ball seems to suggest that the the final level is that same height as the Longwater road. This should prevent flooding of the area.
I wonder if the car park will be constructed now. It would make sense, from my untrained point of view. Just cap the area around the Longwater road entrance with concrete and tarmac whilst it is still effectively a building site - rather than having to dig footings after restoration is complete.
Anyway, the orange area in the following diagram is my stab at estimating the portion of Finch pond that is at the final level.