Bridlepath starts to get 'gravel' (ballast, more like) layer. Inert moving at relaxed pace on Manor farm. Chandlers farm work picks up. 3rd September 2023
Most people who I meet on my stomp around Manor farm are generally in favour of the restoration plans. Walkers/runners etc are excited at a circular route around Manor farm. Birders and photographers are pleased to get closer to nature - along with greater views from north Manor farm. The vistas over grasslands to the north of Manor farm are simply brilliant.
Then I met grumpy. An elderly birder I've not seen before. He decried the bridle path, describing it as "disastrous". Wildlife will be frightened away. Whilst he does have a point, a matter I have alluded to, I wouldn't say it is disastrous. Wildlife adapts, and will live around times when people are about. I see it already with birds on Manor and Fleet Hill farms, who disappear during 'busy' parts of the day, but are around early morning and late evenings. Plus, Manor and Fleet Hill farms are a community resource, where the needs of people and wildlife have to be balanced. He also needs to take himself off to various other reserves, particularly RSPB ones. He'll find people are right up close and personal to nature.
Enough of my ramblings and Mr Grumpy. What have Inert been up to since Tuesday?
Well, not a huge amount on Manor farm. I think most of their efforts are now on Chandlers farm.
Inert have continued with construction of the south bridle path, starting from the Colebrook channel next to the Longwater road entrance and working their way around to the Bailey bridge. As I stated last week, the construction is to first lay a weed proof, permeable material on the bed of the path. On top of this goes gravel. However, the stuff going on is, as I figured on Tuesday, stuff that looks like ballast: a mixture of sand and gravel.
It's been a long time since I visited Fleet Hill farm, and I can't remember if Inert then cap this 'ballast' with gravel. As it is, I'm not sure how the current 'ballast' will stand up to horse, foot and cycle traffic. It will certainly get torn up by hooves. I reckon it will then be washed away in heavy rain, as well as transported off when caught in hooves, footwear and cycle tyres.
I was surprised how little progress had been made on constructing the path. Granted, the depth of 'ballast' is quite considerable, but my viewings on Tuesday didn't reveal a great deal of urgency.
I do fear for the bridle path as it passes north of the sewage works and east of Longwater road. This area floods, and it floods quite deeply. I reckon this flooding will compromise the bridle path.
Good news, there is at least one week of heatwave; summer has arrived. Pretty bad news for kiddies going back to school.
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