This week's blog is picture heavy. Once again we are very busy. I will follow recent formats of giving an update with some photos, before completing the blog over the next day or so.
This week I was torn between taking 'arty' shots (you'd hardly believe this was a 'working' reserve) and the normal factual progress shots. I hope the photos will be a feast for the eyes.
I thought I'd end up like a stuck record repeating the same sentence. Not this week. The pump has been turned off, and although Cemex continue to work on Manor farm, my goodness have they been busy this last week.
It does take a little time for my two brain cells to come up with a thought. I decided that it was time I walked around the north part of Manor Farm. This is not for the faint hearted. Far better to have experience of tromping around steep sided fells and moors of The Dales, Forest of Bowland and Cumbria. The ground is boggy in places, some of the slopes near vertical and the covering of bracken makes for treacherous negotiation of the terrain. It isn't really that dramatic, but it is very easy to lose your footing.
I entered the reserve at 7:50 am on a cold, calm, frosty day. The birds started flying in after waking from their roosts. The sun slowly climbed above the horizon. It was magical.
What have Cemex been up to this week? Well, they have continued to their restoration around the Longwater Road entrance. Mighty leveling of ground and, if I am not mistaken, reclaiming some of Finch pond i.e. extending the ground into the pond. Plus they got to play with the concrete cubes.
I have assumed that the north edge of the reserve (basically the north shore of Finch Pond and Cormorant lake) were cut into the hillside that slopes up to Finchampstead. Having tromped around this part of the reserve, I now reckon they are embankments formed from the soil scrapped off the land to get at the gravel. They resemble the great ditches around the old hill forts and places like Avebury.
I also discovered a new species. :-) I found it right in the middle of the reserve, on an embankment between Cormorant Lake and a pond abutting the north edge of the reserve.
Typical, I thought I was all tooled up: reserve battery, reserve camera, monopod. What could go wrong? Halfway round my Compact Flash card filled up! It's only 2GB. Too many photos for the poor wee thing. It's about time I pulled my finger out and formatted my 'shiny' new, cheapo 16GB CF card.
As for the wet foot. Ah, I hope you can feel the waves of embarrassment emanating from Finchampstead. You see, I decided to hop over a channel, but got distracted as I wanted to take an interesting shot, but then couldn't be bothered to walk the few steps back to my original intended crossing point, where a big step would have easily cleared the channel. Instead I decided to use some tussocks of grass in the channel. Only said tussocks turned out to be floating mats of grass! Sigh.
I've split the slideshows into a number of sections, in the order of my clockwise walk around the reserve. We kick off at the Longwater road/culvert entrance.
The next, short, set of shots are from the north edge of Finch pond. I am atop the earth embankment, which I had mistaken for part of the hill that leads up to Finchampstead. I now reckon it is the soil scraped from the land to enable Cemex to extract gravel. The embankment at this point is between 15' (5m) to 20' (6.75m) high.
The following sequence of shots takes us along the north edge of the reserve, and the north shores of Cormorant lake and Manor lake, plus a new pond north of Cormorant lake. I am heading east all the time, and finally swing round to join a footpath that runs between Manor Farm and Moor Green Lakes. Normally this final part of the sequence is at the start of the walk.
There are some spectacular views from the embankment that runs along the north edge of the reserve.Alas, I expect them to be bulldozed down. Shame. Though if they stayed I'm sure some idiot would contrive (larking about more like) to not pay attention and fall down the slope, thus evoking elf and safety to have them closed. Sigh. Cynical me. Anyway, enjoy some of the views. Though the camera does play tricks with the light. :-)
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.