In addition to my normal Wednesday stroll, I also popped down on Friday for a much longer walk with the memsahib. I was able to see a little more of what Inert were up to. They are best itemised.
1. The west shore of Finch pond has undergone considerable remodelling - butchery more like. Areas once filled in have been bulldozed into ramps. Others (e.g. the funny structures I called the inlets) have been partially restored.
2. Similarly, the south shore of Finch pond has had huge changes wreaked upon it. I have commented that having built up the entire southern area of this pond, it was then scooped out and pushed into the pond. A large proportion of the western half of this area gently shelves down into Finch pond; forming a sort of broad sloping beach.
The western portion of this 'beach' (basically up to the causeway) has been extended to meet (in places) the north shore of Finch pond. Meanwhile the eastern half of Finch pond has had its south shore extended further north.
3. The northern area of the copse has had the piles of spoil graded smooth, and it has almost reached its finish level.
4. The northern area of Finch pond continues it rise to the finish level, extending almost to the north shore of Finch pond near the Longwater road entrance. The eastern half of the northern area has its finish level extending about half way south.
One curious action I noticed was that the finish level had been extended about 3' to 4' (90cm-120cm) up the slope of the north embankment; and slopes gently south. I did notice, some weeks back, that a bit of the bottom of the north embankment had been cut back, forming a vertical face some 3' to 4' high. At the time I thought this had something to do with the drainage channel or perhaps was over exuberant bulldozing. It appears that it may have been deliberate to mark out the finish level.
Having said that, I perhaps should not have said that as I know from experience that Inert will go off and do something completely unexpected. I don't have the master plan, and what I do have does not contain any elevation views or cross sections.
I am pleased to say, that the area I have been calling 'the depression' has been filled in. This is countered by all the remodelling that has taken place, which includes digging out sections of the north west area of Finch pond. In particular forming ramps.
There is a survey stake on the north shore of Finch pond, round about three quarters of the way east from the Longwater road entrance. I call out this stake as on either side of it the land has reached its finish level. However, this stake has its finish level marked a good 4' to 5' (120cm - 150cm) above the ground level either side of it. This indicates to me that the shore here will undulate. It might look very pretty and offer interesting landscaping, but boy will it require a lot of spoil.
Finally, the character of the spoil being applied to the area north of Finch pond (where it has reached its finish level) has changed. It seems more like soil rather than inert building rubble. There are the odd bits of rubble in it, but like nothing compared to what sits under it. I am going to take a stab and say this is the final capping of good inert soil.
5. I noticed on Wednesday that further work has been done on the east side of the gravel bar i.e. a low banking separating Cormorant lake north and south. A lot more spoil has been dumped there and sculpted by a digger. This seems to indicate to me (ha ha, famous last words) that the finish level for this part of Manor farm is given by the height of the gravel bar/spit.
The sculpting is quite extraordinary, with high steeply sloping sides. The channel between Cormorant lakes north and south is still open ( I did expect it to be closed) but hardly any water runs through it as the pump still continues to drain the ponds. However, we did notice that only one of the two channels, that normally carry pump water from the settlement ponds to the Blackwater) was flowing. Either the other one is blocked or there isn't sufficient water to have them both flowing. Who knows.
It kind of makes sense to me. The plans for the area call for a bridle path to run around the north of Finch pond, more or less along the route of the north embankment and then skirting the 'reserve' along the Lower Sandhurst road. This area is higher than Finch pond. Therefore the bridle path will need to slope upward.
6. I did notice, on Friday, that a digger was operating around the pump station. I could not really tell what it was doing, there were no apparent large scale changes. I didn't pop down to the pump station of Saturday; partly in deference to the wildfowl in Cormorant lake south and partly as it was freezing cold.
There were definitely more tipper and grab loader lorries around this week. Wednesday was dominated by John Stacey, whist Friday had a bigger mixture e.g. R Collard, Taurus, etc. I haven't seen any Manor lorries recently or the rare Inert tipper lorries.
I still remain highly sceptical that restoration of Manor farm will be completed by 31st December of this year. I reckon it will take at least until the middle or (more likely) end of November to complete restoration of Finch pond. That leaves three to five weeks to complete work around Cormorant and Manor lakes.
According to the plans I have access to, there is a lot of infill and sculpting to come for these two lakes. Of course, plans change, possibly in the light of wildlife sightings or other environmental factors. This could lead to the restoration requirements being lessened (especially the amount of inert waste required) and so allowing the finish date to be met.
I think I am being optimistic here.
One thought did spring to mind. What am I to do once both Inert have completed their restoration and any initial flurry of work done by the conservation groups who will take over management of the nature reserve? No need for weekly recording of progress.
I shall have to hang around on street corners again. :-)