There will be no Manor farm visit tomorrow. Inert were absent on Wednesday, working on Chandlers farm instead.
I hopped over to Fleet Hill farm to check out suspected flooding and to determine what contractors I spied a few weeks back were up to. Well...I was not disappointed with this visit, having not stomped around the site since last summer, when I photographed Dragonflies.
Flooding. Two years ago, I posted photos of 'gullies' cut into the banks of one of the lakes which bordered the Blackwater. At the time I postulated that these were cut by run off from the Blackwater. My supposition was proven correct. There was water still pouring over the strip of land separating one lake from the Blackwater, down through the gullies, over two days after storm Dennis passed over us, and nine days after storm Ciara. The flow from the Blackwater over the banks into the lake must have been quite impressive at the height of the storm. It ran for about 50m to 75m.
I'm not sure where all this flood water is going, but all the lakes were very full. In fact one, next to the Longwater road, had burst its banks. One outcome of all this high water levels, is that many of the crossing points I use to get from the southern most ponds to the middle part of Fleet Hill farm were full of water, at least three feet deep. I only had my wellies on.
The Blackwater appears to have only burst its banks on one lake, towards the west of the site. However, the water, reasonably deep, was flowing over what will be a bridle path which follows the Blackwater.
Before we move on to fencing. I noticed that the kissing gates on the north part of the site, which was across a footpath leading to Finchampstead village, has been removed. This is rather odd. It was designed to keep horses off the footpath and to prevent motorcyclists entering the reserve. The thing was only fitted two years ago. I wonder if the miniscule number of horse riders had complained about the kissing gate. Never mind that their horses churn up the footpath to make it almost impassable for walkers, and the fact they are not allowed on footpaths.
On to the fencing. The contractors have put in a whole load of fencing which delineate the public rights of way through Fleet Hill farm. I have a feeling the fencing is incomplete, especially as there are a number of paths missing e.g. the bridle path that follows the north side of the Blackwater. In fact, one of the paths which the fencing marks out leads into a field adjoining the Blackwater. Only there is no way out of the field as it has been fenced by horse owners who, I believe, have leased some of the site back from Cemex.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.