I have a feeling that Inert have been digging out the foundations of the works buildings. Judging by the noise I heard on Wednesday, they had a jack hammer extension to the arm of a digger, which was then smashing its way through the concrete foundations The spoil was then being transported to Manor farm for screening by the boulder sorter outer.
Fine screened material was then being bulldozed into Cormorant lake, whilst the bigger stuff was piled into heaps before being bulldozed to form a road way onto the land mass. Actually, Inert have done this a number of times on Manor farm, and at least twice in the past few weeks. It follows their normal pattern of build piles, bulldozed flat, dig hole.
Speaking of holes. The area to the south of Cormorant lake (south) I called the great depression has been filled in. Again, following Inert's normal practice: pile, level, dig hole; repeat.
I suspect that the larger screen stuff (i.e. concrete blocks, bricks, etc) will be broken up a little bit over the next few weeks (probably by driving heavy plant over it) before being bulldozed into Cormorant lake.
Whilst the boulder sorter outer was in operation near the south footpath on Wednesday, it was absent from Manor farm on Sunday. Possibly finished with? Maybe infill of Cormorant lake will now pick up?
Although lake levels are now low, the pump was off on my Sunday stomp. I didn't walk on Saturday due to rain and even more gloomy weather. Strangely, the pump has been chugging away of late. It needs to be turned back on. More rain is predicted over the next few days, adding to the stuff we got last week (and last night), meaning the Blackwater is running high again. Getting my trail cam back from the tree in the Blackwater was a bit of a challenge this morning.
Needless to say, underfoot conditions were pretty boggy on Manor farm, with all this rain. I kept to fresh lorry and bulldozer tracks. However, kept resolutely off old tracks or freshly bulldozed soil. It is just too boggy, with the consistency of quicksand and clinging power of cold porridge.
The disruption around Cormorant lake (south) is causing birds to switch over to other lakes in the area. A whole load of Canada geese appeared to have taken over Manor lake (south) and Moor Green Lakes.
With torrential rain on Wednesday falling on already saturated ground, the Blackwater was almost bank full in places. A few more inches and there would have been flooding on parts of the south footpath. Note it is possible that the Blackwater burst its banks on Fleet Hill farm - it does so - and on bits of the south footpath I didn't walk along.
I put a trail cam out on a tree that had fallen into the Blackwater, near the Longwater road. When I put it out, Saturday week, it was a good 2 feet (60cm) above water levels. It was completely submerged when I tried to retrieve it on Thursday morning. Much to my total astonishment, the unit was still working (when I managed to get to it yesterday morning) even after water poured out of its battery compartment and SD card slot when I opened it up. Extraordinary! It is a cheap Crenova unit, costing all of £68.
Anyway, enough prattling on about flooding and trail cams. What have Inert been up to this week?
It is a bit tricky to tell. Due to my ancient car being serviced and MOT'd on Wednesday, I had to postpone my mid-week visit until Thursday morning. Inert were busy around the west shore of Cormorant lake and my mighty mound.
They had moved the boulder sorter outer to near the south footpath, next to my mighty mound. A small fleet of John Stacey lorries were queuing up to drop their loads next to the boulder sorter outer. I counted at least five John Stacey lorries - there could have been more, plus lorries from other companies, but I didn't hang around long to find out.
Our bulldozer driver was pushing stuff around the various parts of what will be Manor lake. I didn't really walk along to the scrape to find out how much had been pushed into Cormorant lake. Due in part to laziness, still being ill with a filthy, rotten, stinking cold; and partly as I wanted to get over to Moor Green Lakes to photograph it in the early morning sun.
I can say that the south shores of Cormorant lake are looking a little flatter, which is normal procedure. The piles of bricks and concrete, which I saw last week, appear to have been laid into a track, stretching from the south footpath to the middle of the land mass, where the boulder sorter outer was last week. By Saturday, this piece of plant had been moved back on to the land mass where it was last week. At least the other plant and personnel will have a firm track to drive/walk along.
After a couple of week's hiatus, the pump was back on - not leaking by the looks of thing. It is sorely needed, with all this rain about. Water levels have crept up quickly over the past week.
That's it, I'm afraid. More of same, slowly nibbling away at the infill of Cormorant lake, with nothing seemingly dramatic happening. This means the slide show is fairly short and, in complete contrast to last week's fog, a glorious technicolour scene which you get on an early autumn's morning.
What was dramatic, was I spotted a Great White Egret (aka Common Egret or Great Egret) over on Moor Green Lakes. No doubt this bird also partook of the reeds and rushes of the various lakes and ponds on Manor Farm and Fleet Hill Farm. Quite exciting as this is quite a rare species to spot in the UK. Sightings are getting more frequent, but still rare. There are reckoned to be about 35 birds over wintering in the UK, but this is a very broad estimate.
Now on to our rare visitor - The Great White Egret. This bird was stooging around the north shore of Colebrook lake (north) in Moor Green Lakes. Unfortunately, two minutes before I got to where I saw this bird, the early morning sun was covered by a finger of cloud. The whole lake went from glorious sunshine to instant gloom. Photography matters were not helped by the bird being about 100m from me, with the added bonus of a slight amount of mist. Still, the old Sigma 150-600mm contemporary and fence post/viewing screen board did a sterling job.
Wednesday's lovely sunny stomp, revealed Inert working on the banking that runs alongside the south embankment and also around the southerly shores of Cormorant lake (south). Two diggers were busying themselves, digging around the mound and reducing the height of the banking alongside the south footpath.
Inert seem to take great pleasure in nibbling away at this banking. It's been attacked a couple or three times already. I've no idea why the relatively low banking isn't simple bulldozed flat.
Our intrepid bulldozer driver was trundling all over the south shores of Cormorant lake and the land mass. In addition to commercial tipper lorries (from the likes of John Stacy) Inert have drafted in their heavy bulk loader; the type you see in big open cast mines. It has been trundling around for weeks, now.
Saturday's stomp was a reasonably miserable affair. I had hoped the overnight frosts we've had for the past few days would solidify the ground a little. Nothing of the sort. All it did was set water hard as epoxy resin around the doors and windows of my car. Getting the car door open required a great deal of pulling and yanking. By contrast, not only was the ground around Manor farm not frozen solid it was, if anything, even more gooey and sticky and yielding. I had to stay off bits of the site, even when sticking to bulldozer tracks.
The depths of some of the bulldozer tracks (2 feet or 60cm in places) testify how soft the soil was in parts, as even its wide caterpillar tracks did not stop it from sinking.
Fog made this morning's photography a little challenging. All would have been well had I left half an hour later than I did e.g. 7:45am, as the sun would have burnt off the fog. But then I would not have got some stunning shots of a Red Kite at 8:45am, when the sun was up, mist gone, and the bird was sunning itself.
What my (vague) stomp revealed was that the entire southern half of Cormorant lake's shores are completely torn up this week. More stuff has been pushed into the lake on a broad front taking the infill a little further north and still going around the scrape.
Inert have built a series of what can only be described as long barrows alongside the vehicle track south of Cormorant lake. It's very peculiar. They are beautifully crafted out of what looks like sandy ballast. No idea what they are for, but they do hide Cormorant lake (south) from the south footpath. And this after Inert reduced the height of the banking that ran alongside the south footpath.
A boulder sorter outer has taken up residency on the land mass, opposite the scrape, at the end of the track that Inert built a couple of weeks ago. It looks suspiciously brand new. Bright shiny paint and pipe work. There is also tons of concrete lumps spread about the boulder sorter outer. I don't think the birds are going to be too happy about this.
The nasty fly tipping has been cleared up, and a nice lump of concrete placed against the gate of the Longwater road entrance to deter anyone trying to get into the site. Should have left the banking and the tank traps in place.
Our pump was quite silent, this morning and Wednesday. Possibly awaiting repairs to its leak.
In summary, Inert have been all over the southern shores of Cormorant lake (south), filling it in a little, but mainly (as usual) tearing the whole place up so it looks like the Western front. Business as usual.
The much calmer, and reserve ready, Fleet Hill farm had a nice load of wildlife this morning. Shame I didn't have more time to investigate.
Sadly, after a reasonably quiet summer with regard to fly tipping, it appears that some low lives have decided to use the Longwater road entrance as a free rubbish dump. Some cowboy business.
Moving on to more positive matters. Once again I declined a Saturday stomp. The sky was cloudless and the air was crystal clear at 6:30am., which was not what the Met office said it would be on their Friday weather report.
I checked the Met Office's forecast and it steadfastly claim rain would come sweeping in from the west by 8:00am. As they have a habit of getting the weather completely wrong for this area, I checked Auntie Beeb's weather report. It concurred with the Met Office. I took a quick squint at the Met Office's (now somewhat useless) rainfall radar, which said a band of rain would track across from Bristol to Wokingham in approximately 3 hours from 8:00am.
Even during me eating a spot of breakfast, I noticed the sky getting overcast, with high level wisps of milky cloud. I held off going, and sure enough, by 8:00am the wind had picked up to force 4 and it was chucking it down. Ten out of ten to the Met Office and whomever the BBC use for their weather reporting.
Sunday, by complete contrast, was clear (though clouding slowly) and windless. I was hopeful of some decent wildlife shots, but there wasn't really much around.
Inert appear to have settled on remodelling Cormorant lake (south) with their usual strategy of dump, lump and flatten.
Dump: Tipper and grab loader lorries dump spoil around work areas.
Lump: Dumped spoil is quickly pushed into roughly the right place by the bulldozer; creating a No Man's Land type landscape
Flatten: The lump land is smoothed and shaped by the bulldozer driver.
This week's task appeared to be flattening and smoothing the Somme type landscape produced by the lump phase. There was some low key delivering of stuff to the site, but my Wednesday stomp showed the bulldozer trundling to and fro, smoothing off the land.
An odd feature was that a whole load of sand had been laid along the scrape and joining up with the previous week's infill. I simply strolled along this sand bridge onto the scrape; rather than having to gingerly pick my way across infill, testing the firmness of the ground as I went. Some paw prints in the sand revealed that at least one fox had also trekked along the scrape.
Infill continues around the scrape, impinging on it further. This feature may well disappear, though Inert are skirting around it still; apart from the sand.
Our pump was wheezing away and has sprung a leak. I've seen it do this before, when it was frosty. The spray of water coated small trees, making them look very festive.
I also took a walk along to the end of the gravel spit, which separates Cormorant lakes north and south, to have a look at the infill. Again, a very curious piece of infill, with Inert flitting about the site. It almost seems like Inert decided to dump some spoil there for no particular reason.
Guess what numpty forgot to take a photo of the site of the former works buildings? Yep, me. Even though I hoofed it back with the express intention of photographing the vacant area, I forgot. Possibly as I was quite tired.
On with the slide show.
Well, not quite. There was still a stub left this morning. I reckon all will be gone by Friday, such is the speed of demolition.
Last week's stomp revealed one works building still standing. I have no idea when the other two were demolished, as I tend not to pay too much attention to Chandlers farm. This week I stopped by for a clearer photograph than Sunday's, only to discover that virtually all the remaining building had been taken apart. Only the lower parts of the once mighty tower remains.
Better still, Inert were dismantling it as I snapped away. A dinosaur type extension to a digger. Bet that is a fun job.
Anyway, depending on which of the numerous amendments to the various planning applications you read, this demolition appears to be a couple of months ahead of schedule. Cemex and Inert have been concentrating on Chandlers farm all summer.
They have also made fair progress on Manor farm, over the past week. This time some interesting additions to the scrape.
Yesterday morning was outright manky, overcast, dark and gloomy. Rain followed later on in the morning, and didn't stop until night time. I declined to visit Manor farm. Instead I waited until today. Not only was it bright, we got an extra hour in bed due to the clocks going back. However, it was only 2 degrees centigrade, and I had to scrape ice from my car's windows. The yukkie ice that sticks to glass like epoxy resin.
My midweek stomp revealed a dearth of lorries, depositing stuff. However, this was an illusion. Much has happened, even by Wednesday. Infill was now wrapping around the east side of the scrape, and heading northward. Our intrepid bulldozer driver was flitting about all over Manor farm.
My Sunday walk, in misty conditions bordering on fog, revealed a whole mass of work has taken place. Though I cannot be certain exactly when some bits were done, as I have kept of the more muddy bits of infill. To recap what I sort of noticed, bearing in mind my proviso that one bit of churned up mud looks pretty much the same from week to week.
- There are signs that Inert have been working on what was Finch pond. It sort of looks flatter, and has fresh bulldozer and lorry tracks all over it. This is one way I tell where work has been done, how fresh and crisp the tracks are.
- That weird hole on the south side of my mighty mound, has been filled in and firmed up. I was quite relieved. I could now keep to the vehicle trackway, and not take a muddy detour around my mighty mound onto the land mass. The terracing is still pronounced, and a raised trackway has been consolidated onto the land mass, leading up to the 'north' shore of Cormorant lake (south).
- I did see the bulldozer driver working on the 'north' shore of Cormorant lake on Wednesday, pushing stuff around and, occasionally, into the lake, before whizzing back down to work around the copse.
- The gravel spit, separating Cormorant lakes north and south, has had work done to it. I'm not sure exactly when, but definitely within the last couple of weeks. I sort of spent most of last week concentrating on not sinking into mud as I worked my way across the land mass. Anyway, Inert have trundled to the east end of the gravel spit and pushed a whole load of spoil southward into Cormorant lake south. They might have done stuff in Cormorant lake north, but I didn't look this week. I'll try next week if the weather is clement.
- By far the most dramatic work has taken place around the scrape and the feature I christened Cormorant spit. A considerable amount of infill has occurred around the east and south of this area, with some infill encroaching onto Cormorant spit. I was able to negotiate my way along bulldozer tracks to step onto Cormorant spit, and walk along it onto the scrape; the bulldozed soil was unusually firm.
And there I was thinking the scrape would stay. If by chance it does remain as a feature, its shores must be protected from erosion by water. Plover island and Tern island in Colebrook lake, over in Moor Green lakes, have experience severe erosion, resulting in lose of eight feet or more of shore line.
In some ways the possible demise of Cormorant scrape and spit is a shame. Bird really like the gravel bars that appear when water levels are low. I have no idea why they are so popular. Even more so than the actual scrape.
- These were the most obvious changes around Manor farm. There are hints and signs that much other work has taken place, but it is slightly difficult to pin point on two short walks.
- Moving on to Chandlers farm. Some of the works buildings have been demolished! Actually two major buildings. I do not pay much attention to Chandlers farm, therefore do not know precisely when the demolishing took place. I suspect during May to July. I mentioned several times in this blog that I heard extensive noise, not unlike buildings being demolished, emanating from Chandlers farm. Well, I now have the photographic proof. Strangely, this puts the restoration of Chandlers farm slightly ahead of schedule, as I am sure this wasn't supposed to happen until the start of 2020.
I may or may not put some wildlife photos in. There were four Roe deer, a large number of Greylag and Canada geese, plus some nice swans and teal. However, here are a couple of before and after photos of the works buildings on Chandlers farm. I will replace the misty on I took this morning, with a clearer one. Hopefully this Wednesday.
I know I am sounding like a worn record...Inert have continued flitting around Manor farm. As usual, due to one bit of bulldozed mud looking pretty much the same from week to week, I am hard pressed to figure what Inert have done on certain parts of the site. Any changes have to be reasonable major to notice.
A further complication was the mud. I kept off most of the site due to the squidgy porridge like mud the consistency of quicksand. I was not prepared to take risks sinking in, particularly as I had my DSLR and long lens with me. Even keeping to bulldozer tracks did not guarantee firm ground. About the safest tracks to follow were the ones made by lorries.
OK, enough whingeing, what have Inert been up to this past week?
- There are definite signs of tinkering around the Longwater road entrance. Some mounds of spoil have been flattened, the odd hole filled in, and bits scraped here and there. Just a ways south of Longwater road entrance, along the old west shore of Finch pond, I came across a very curious structure. It reminded me of a sand fort children would build on beaches.
- I get the feeling more grading has taken place along the west and north sides of the copse. Hard to determine. I didn't walk along the north embankment and I didn't venture on to this part of the site. It is/was far too soggy and cut up. Any trekking across this bit of Manor farm would have been a slow, hard slog.
- Another strange structure was discovered by the 'mighty mound'. At first it looked as if Inert had dug a large hole across the vehicle track. After sleeping on this thought and looking at my photos, I do wonder if the trackway to the east of the 'hole' has actually been built up. It was hard to tell. Getting close to the edge of the 'hole' was tricky as the soil was so soft, I was sinking up to my ankles in it with some 3m still to traverse. This 'hole' or built up track occurred quite late on in the week, as I saw a lorry trundling along this bit on Wednesday.
Because of this 'hole' and super soft mud, I couldn't continue eastward along the vehicle track. I had to take a long detour north around my 'mighty mound' (which I couldn't get to due to the soft mud), onto the land mass (old infill) and work my way carefully to the west shore of Cormorant lake (south). Only then could I follow lorry tracks south to get to the vehicle track on the east side of the 'hole'.
- Obvious, by far, was the amount of work done on Cormorant lake (south). Inert have been working on the west, south and east shores of this lake, continuing its infill. It appears a slow, random process, working on bits at a time. The bulldozer driver appears to employ two strategies. The first is the obvious one for infill; he drives directly at the lake's shore (basically orthogonal to it) pushing soil in with the entire face of the bulldozer blade. His second strategy is more subtle, he drives parallel to the edge of the shore, using one side of the bulldozer blade to sort of peel the soil into the lake.
Anyway, as usual having graded the land flat, Inert have dug it all up again producing a WWI type landscape. Again, although I walked along the latest infill to its northern edge, I didn't get right to its edge. It was too muddy.
I'm pleased to say that our faithful, hard working pump was still at it, wheezing and gurgling away. Water was still flowing freely into the small pond in which the pump rests. I did spook a Green Sandpiper, when I walked along the south edge of this little pond. It was tucked up, right at the base of the southern shore of the pond.
There is a fair amount of wildlife around. Its pattern has changed. You tend to see more large flocks of birds, particularly Lapwings, geese and ducks. Other species are around, just less apparent.
Finally, will Cemex, Inert et al finish landscaping Manor farm by the end of this year? Like last night's Brexit vote (bloody stupid morons, the lot of 'em ought to be put up against a white wall without blindfolds), this is a close call to my inexperienced eyes. Although both Cormorant lakes, taken together, are large, they do not seem to be on the same scale as Finch pond. Cormorant lake (north) is actually quite shallow, easily filled with the flattening of the north embankment. It is the northern parts of Cormorant lake (north) that might sink the meeting of the deadline.
I am particularly fascinated by how Inert will tackle the merging of Manor lake (south) and Manor lake (north - also known as East Fen) with Cormorant lake; to form the new, long Manor Lake. The former two lakes are quite full; with water levels well above Cormorant lake. I guess opening up the ditch between Manor lake and the pump would be the first action. This allows the water in Manor lake to be pumped away to reach the same level as Cormorant lake; enabling diggers and bulldozers to safely landscape the area.
Yes, dear reader, your intrepid (some say foolish) blogger, despite posting continuous warnings about the quicksand nature of the mud on Manor farm, sank up to his knees in the stuff today. In my defence, the bit of bulldozed mud I stepped into had a firm look (rather than the grey porridge stuff) and took the weight of my right foot.
Unfortunately, the torrential rain of recent weeks (particularly last night) made the mud particularly soft. I sank up to my knees when I took a step with my left leg and put a load on it. Attempts to extricate my left foot out by pulling it out vertically and balancing on my right foot, only caused said right foot to sink even deeper into the mud.
Sigh. There was nothing for it but to gone on hand and knees. With my weight now distributed across three points (two hands and a knee), I could twist one foot clear of the mud and place it (horizontally) on slight firmer mud, and with my weight distributed over a larger area of leg. Then I could twist the other leg out of the mud, before crawling backwards on hands and knees to firm ground.
Yes, my trouser knees were distinctly muddy, as were my hands. Luckily, I eschewed my DSLR/long lens due to the manky weather. Thus I did not have to worry about getting them muddy. I only took my bridge camera, which I simply slung around my back. Also, I did not have to lie completely flat and pull myself out on my stomach.
Unlike my previous sinking incident, this time I had a mobile phone and could have called for help. However, I did not want to even contemplate being rescued by emergency services.
Before we plough into our normal schedule: There is a MGLG work party tomorrow, Sunday 13th. This week we shall be planting 300 saplings in the gaps in the hedgerow running from the MGLG car park and the Blackwater river. Do come along and help. Meet at MGLG car park from10:15am onward.
Inert et al, as is their normal modus operandi, have been working all over the southern half of Manor farm. I am still very perplexed at this flitting all over the place business. Must be the engineer in me: Start at one place and then work your way, linearly, to the finish - unless there is some compelling work to do in the middle bits beforehand.
The remains of the old iron footbridge and pump station road bridge have been removed. Bit of a sad day. I was quite fond of the iron footbridge, even though its metal treads were lethal when wet. As I can attest to with experience, having slipped down them on a couple of occasions.
Last week I said that one reason for the pump not chugging was that it was grounded, with its inlet pipe partially or wholly above the water; thus making pumping impossible. How wrong I was. It seems that the pump pontoon rests on a large brick structure. This structure was still mostly under water. The pump was chugging away this week, revealing the brick structure. At least a foot and a half (say 45cm) has been pumped out this week.
Just as well the pump is on. Water was flowing quite rapidly from the new Finch pond into Cormorant lake (south) and thence into 'pump pond'. It is still raining hard as I type, and the forecast is for yet more deluge over the coming week!
You'd be hard pressed to see what Inert have been up to on Finch pond this past week. It is all torn up, looking like the Somme. Again this follows restoration practice of infill, smooth, tear up: repeat. I can see that Inert et al have:
- Continued building up the land level around the northern part of Manor farm; some backfill along the banking built last week.
- Deepened the drainage channel between the smaller Finch pond and Cormorant lake (south) they started last week.
- I think the smaller Finch pond is now taking shape. At least there is a pond shaped hole approximately where it is to be, and it is being drained; but not yet hooked up to either the culvert or the original fragment of Colebrook cut. Can't do that until quite late on as access is needed by lorries.
Midweek I espied a digger working around the pump. Not entirely sure what it was up to, but there was a new track on the east shore of Cormorant lake (south), next to the drainage channel. Most was revealed this morning; though I do not know how much was done this past week or the weeks before.
- The ditch connecting Manor Lake (south) to what was Cormorant lake (south) has been partially filled in, forming a dam/viaduct to allow plant to cross over. This means that Manor lake (south) can longer drain. Water levels have built up, covering some of the mud flats/gravel bars.
- The viaduct allows diggers and bulldozers to go around the drainage ditch to work on the east shore of Cormorant lake (south).
- I am not entirely sure why or what has been done. There appears to be some bulldozing of soil into the 'pond' next to the pump. Diggers and/or the bulldozer have worked their way northward, but not a huge amount appears to have been achieved. Very odd.
- The digger also appears to have cut a path from the pump southward along the west shore of Manor lake (south), on the east side of where a bridge used to stand. Again, it is difficult to discern what the point of this is. It does give better access to the pump pipe, running into Chandlers farm.
Anyway, by the time I reached the pump station, I was a bit soggy, somewhat muddy, and slightly knackered; partly due to too much swimming this part week and as it was such a hard slog across Manor farm through all the mud and torn up ground. I chose to walk back to the Longwater road via the firm and comforting south footpath. At least the sewage plant wasn't so smelly. It was really on form on Wednesday.
Moving on to wildlife. Plenty of deer sign, as usual. Birds are beginning to return to Cormorant lake. I think I have seen less due to the odd times I visited the site over the past few weeks, but also I think it is only now that they start congregating into large flocks. Also, a whole load of migrant species start arriving e.g. Widgeon.
There were a lot of Canada geese, Egyptian geese, Barnacle geese and Lapwing. Your normal Coots, Grebes, Mallards and other assorted wildfowl I can't recognise were abound. Oh, I can now here and sometimes see Long-tailed tits. I've missed their song all summer, and was worried that they might have had a catastrophic breeding season.
The conditions were pretty bad for photography. My bridge camera struggled. Just as well, with the mud incident, I didn't take my DSLR and long lens.
Cemex/Inert have made reporting more challenging. Inert have been working all over Manor farm, it's hard to keep up and to even figure out what had been accomplished over this past week. Listing the highlights of what I could determine...
- Midweek revealed two diggers at work, attacking some of the banking along side the south footpath. My Saturday stomp revealed they had sliced a bit off the banking, making the vehicle track wider. Curiously, the track was then pinched narrower by marking its edges with some of the concrete blocks dumped next to the mighty mound.
- My midweek walk also revealed our bulldozer driver, working on the infill on the east shore of Cormorant lake south. Not unusually, there seemed to be far fewer lorries around. But this was Wednesday. More lorries may have been employed on other days of the week. The amount of stuff dumped onto Manor farm seemed to suggest this.
- Our puffing pump was off. I think I have discovered one reason why it has been off so much recently. Water levels are now so low, the pontoon holding the pump pipe inlet is now grounded on the bottom of Cormorant lake. The can't pump any more water, as the inlet is no longer submerged.
- A small 'pond' has appeared, located in the middle of what was Finch pond. Due, I think, in part to the large amount of rain we have had recently and also to the land level being built up around it. Inert have dug a drainage ditch from 'mini' Finch pond to Cormorant lake north, which curiously doesn't actually reach the latter lake.
- A line of soil has been bulldozed up to a survey stake which used to show 5' (1.5m) of infill needed to reach it. I think this is a fairly significant milestone. It gives the clearest indication yet of the effort required. All that needs be done now is the land be raised around it and landscaped appropriately; using the north and west embankments and ridge.
- The land has also been built up around the northern part of the copse. This is an original piece of hedgerow containing a fragment of the Colebrook cut. The land is, in places, level with the stream bed.
- Although much of the land has been built up, Inert are following their normal procedure of plough titanic gouges in to the levelled land, pushing some into the lakes, and piling up others into huge mounds. Thus, although the land has been built up over the past few weeks, it could just as easily be gouged out again. One thought I had for this procedure is that perhaps it is a means of mixing up the infill to provide a more homogenous mix.
- Further infill has taken place along the south eastern edge of Cormorant lake north. Inert are going to a great deal of trouble to infill around the feature I have been calling the scrape. If this scrape is to exist as part of the finished restoration, there needs to be some means of protecting its shores from erosion. Tern island, a scrape in Colebrook lake north, in Moor Green Lakes, has had up to 8' (2.4m) of its shore eroded away. It is now about half its original size, and rapidly disappearing.
- The soil barrier blocking the Longwater road entrance has now been flattened, and the gate has a shiny new pad lock. Strangely, the large hole (or anti tank trap as I call it) has not been filled in.
- I am quite sure I have missed a great deal of what happened on Manor farm this week. After all, I only have one, quick mid morning stomp (probably at the contractors' tea break time), and then enter into a forensic examination on the weekend to determine what Inert have been up to. It is all quite fascinating how a quarry is restored for nature.
I'm submitting this post first, before I then go to work on the slide show. It was a rather busy Saturday, and I'm a bit tired this morning.
A reminder about tomorrow's soggy Sunday Moor Green Lakes open day walk. Kicking off at 10:00am, and finishing at 4:00pm, I'm sure you'd all love to dodge showers and cow poop to have a guided tour of the reserve, along with other activities depending on the weather.
For once, Cemex/Inert have kept to my script :-) :-) :-) A colossal amount of progress has been accomplished, which the post title does not convey. In addition to filling what little remained of Finch pond and the 'Inlet', the boys have :
- Filled in the channel (as mentioned) but extended the infill into Cormorant lake (north) along the gravel bank
- Built up the land level on the north part of what was Finch pond. In many places up to the finish level. Whilst they appear to have built up half of the 5' (1.5m) high slope just north of the copse: very impressive.
- Work has recommenced on the east shore of Cormorant lake (south), with an extensive amount of infill pushing northward.
- There are signs of general clean up and grading all over what was Finch pond. What I can't work out is if the terracing it to remain. From volunteer work on Moor Green Lakes, I would say yes. however, I have been proven wrong before.
- More stuff, i.e. large lumps of concrete, have appeared next to my mighty mound (aka former location of Yellow bridge). I'm not sure if this will be bulldozed into the lakes as is (it is classed as inert material) or if some effort will be made to break it up a little.
-The brand new, shiny chalk/limestone track has been thoroughly chewed up by the lorry traffic. A lot has been ground up to the consistency of quicksand. It is truly yukkie stuff, looking like concealed porridge, and it sticks to my wellies like epoxy.
- I'm sure there are other pieces of restoration Inert have been up to on Manor farm. My short visits do not reveal this.
As I prepared my photographs for posting, I began to realise just how much had been accomplished this week. It is quite impressive. The question now is will this continue or will the lorry count be reduced to the normal three to four?
Oh, I forgot. My nemesis (mud) is back. The pump appeared on mid week, but seemed silent this morning. However, this might have been due to the wind direction, carrying any sound of it away from me. Water levels, despite the numerous down pours, seemed acceptably low.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.