I do spoil you, dear reader. Another mid-week special. After a bank holiday weekend, I swung round Manor farm on Wednesday for a quick zoom round. I think the trick is to get there early, roughly 9.00 am or so, before the chaps knock off at about 9:45am for a tea break. They were hard at work, two diggers, two bulldozers, two heavy earth movers and the site foreman in his shiny silver pickup.
Before we delve into developments. I had a quick crawl around the Wokingham Borough Council planning site, and I found documents as far back as 1958!!! 64 years ago.
Some local people have been born, grew up, had careers, raised families and (regretfully) in some cases had died whilst this quarry has been either in planning or operation. Manor farm has changed hands at least once. It is now a fruit farm, with polytunnels stretching up the Finchampstead ridges. I have met walkers along the Blackwater footpath who remember Manor farm and Fleet Hill farm being farmland. Some even played on them!
Back to our scheduled program. Inert were working on four parts of the site, on Wednesday. One bulldozer driver was grading land levels along the west side of the site, north of the Longwater road entrance. I know it was a bit messy here, but I thought Inert were finished with it prior to a car park (far too small) being laid. I assume Wednesday's activity was mainly fettling the area.
A digger operator was merrily sat on top of what remains of the southern West Embankment demolishing it and filling two heavy earth movers with rather excellent looking topsoil. I wouldn't mind some of this for my garden. It is gloriously brown, pointing at a lot of organic matter - far better than the grey stuff in my garden.
The heavy earth movers have to trundle east along the south vehicle track, turn sharp left at my mighty mound, go north along the remaining land bridge, before reaching the south west corner of the Higher Reed bed. Here they turn round 180 degrees before playing chicken with the bulldozer driver as they reverse some 75m up the banking while the bulldozer driver reverses down it.
What the Inert plant operators are doing is highly skilled and dangerous.
I'm a bit surprised the banking is being covered with top soil. The old gravel bank, separating Cormorant lakes north and south didn't have any on. It did provide a nice environment for various creatures. Roe deer loved running along them.
Our final digger operator was digging out a channel around the west side of the copse. I did post a few photos some weeks back of a ditch running around this side of the copse, and I wondered at the time as to what it was for. I need only have inspected the plans properly - I haven't uptil now as they seem to change. There is a channel that runs around the west and south edges of the copse, before becoming the Colebrook channel leading to the culvert under the Longwater road.
This is going to make it tricky to maintain the site. Firstly, volunteers have to be told and remember that there is a deep channel here. Secondly, going from south side to north side of the site is going to be tricky without footbridges or waders.
I'm intrigued as to what Inert will achieve before the weekend. If there is a plan, my ordered engineering mind can't figure it out.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.