My mid week stomp around the south footpath takes me up to the works (Bailey) bridge. As I approached the bridge, on a dull, damp, wet manky morning, I noticed a posh Landrover Discovery (Disco) driving slowly along the lorry track on Chandlers farm. I reached the bridge as the Disco went past, allowing me to catch a glimpse of the occupants.
The driver was a stocky man wearing hi-vis. His passenger looked like a corporate executive type. Slim build, youngish, black hair, wearing the black woollen (?) knee length coat, beloved of corporate types. He didn't look overly enthused.
The Disco proceeded slowly on to Manor farm, following the lorry track westward. I checked to see if the pump was working - couldn't hear a thing. This is not unusual. The pump is about 75 yards away from the south footpath. South of it is Chandlers farm, with all the heavy plant kicking up a racket, whilst north of it is Manor farm proper. On this particular morning I think they had a tractor chugging around.
Anyway, I hoofed it back toward the Longwater road: partly to see what the Disco was up to and partly to ensure I didn't get rained on by a dirty great black cloud headed towards me. I finally caught sight of the Disco when I got parallel to the copse. It was stopped up near the Longwater road entrance by the Q bays. As I headed further west, the Disco did an about turn and slowly cruised back the way it had come. I finally lost sight of it at the hill of spoil by the former location of the yellow bridge.
The passenger didn't look like a surveyor; in main lacking the hi-vis that is part of their uniform these days. I reckon it was a corporate type, either from Inert or Cemex (possibly over from Mexico), come to check up on progress.
Enough speculation, on to the conundrum. From what I could make out, the pump was not working. Which is a bit of a surprise as water levels in Cormorant lake had dropped dramatically over the past week, and still remained low when I visited on Saturday - despite the soggy pasting the area has received over the past few weeks - like today, for instance.
Finch pond has almost disappeared, a tiny vestige remains, and is not connected to the culvert under the Longwater road. I tried to see if there was any other channel or drain constructed to empty water into the Blackwater, but could not discern any.
Thus I am perplexed as to why water levels in Cormorant lake are so low, and emptied so quickly, especially as water levels in Manor lake are quite high. I can only suppose that the pump is now super quiet. I was too lazy to wander over to the out flow channel into the Blackwater to check if the pump really was off.
Well, this past two weeks Inert continue to fill in Finch pond. It has virtually disappeared. The pond to the west of the causeway is tiny - smaller than a very large garden pond. The pond to the east of the causeway, and north of the copse is now about the size of a large village pond. Many manor and country houses have a bigger pond. I was fairly correct with my supposition last week with regard the bulldozer trundling over yet more filled in pond.
Essentially Inert have been pushing soil into Finch pond, gouging out the infill they did earlier in the month. Lorries were depositing inert waste on the south side of Finch pond or should I now say the Colebrook? Essentially, that is what Inert are constructing here - a small pond and the reinstated course of the Colebrook.
I wandered down to the 'scrape' on Cormorant lake this Saturday as I reckon Inert would start work on its infill. Sure enough, sometime over the past couple of weeks or so spoil has been pushed into the lake on its south western shore. Regretfully, this pond is also for the chop, being reduced in size to a village pond. Though I believe it will be joined with Manor lake.
Still, too much of the reserve will be hidden from the various footpaths. What makes Manor farm so unique is the ability to see so much of it as you walk along the south footpath. If any tree planting follows the same format as Fleet hill farm then much of Manor farm nature reserve will be hidden from the footpaths; being visible only from hides. Shame, I feel, as the birds using the lakes and land of Manor farm are quite used to human traffic along the footpaths.
There was precious little wild fowl around on both days. Partly due to most of it having migrated to their winter feeding grounds and partly due to Finch pond disappearing. Even the reliable Canada geese seem to have relocated themselves to Moor Green lakes, Fleet hill farm and (I believe) the reserve pond on Chandlers farm. There were a load of Pochards around. Least ways I think they were Pochards. They might have been Widgeon.
I am quite confused about the plans for Cormorant lake. On set of plans shows it being joined with Manor lake to form one large lake, and for there to be a viewing point jutting into the lake, and for its south shore line to be close to the south footpath. However, if you contrast the plans with a Google earth satellite image then the two do not match. Well not unless there is a large amount of landscaping and digging out of infill - which we have seen happens a lot.
Slide show, with a paparazzi style photo reveal. :-) :-) :-)
Some wildlife shots of what little there were.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.