Looking back over my blogs, it would appear I have not done an on site visit for three weeks. This is slightly longer than I intended, working on the basis that not a huge amount happens to justify a weekly visit. Sods law also states, that when I do have a long hiatus, Inert steps up a gear and do a lot of restoration. I think that the latter assertion has happened, but possibly not as much as expected.
Weatherwise. Cold, cold and more cold. A blocking high has been sitting over Great Britain, causing mainly overcast days, little or no rain and a cold northwest or northeast wind. This has enabled Manor farm to dry out, yielding reasonably firm to very firm ground conditions. Forecast is colder next week, with possibility of wintery showers.
What have Inert been up to during my long hiatus, brought about by not wishing to have an early morning onsite visit due to freezing cold weather? Yep, I know, I'm going soft.
1. Initially, Inert continued to upfill the infill they have already accomplished on the western half of Manor lake. The height of infill here now far exceeds the height of the peninsular. I can only assume that the excess soil will be pushed into the channel that Inert have left for the area to drain towards the pump.
2. After knocking it down a bit, Inert have built up the mighty pump station mound, and appear to have extended it further northward. It reminds me of Ingleborough. I took the opportunity to climb up it and photograph the entire site and restoration. I always said being 15' (5m) to 20' (6.5m) above the ground gives a wonderfully different perspective on the area.
3. The north shore of Manor lake used to sport a rather dense tree line. This has now been demolished (sometime over the past couple of weeks) with the trees dumped into Manor lake. I could be mistaken, but I think the spacing of the trees indicate that the trees had been planted deliberately. It's hard to recall, as I never expected the tree line to be destroyed, as it was an established eco-system, which also stablised the shores of Manor lake. Shame.
4. My previous blog entry detailed a digger working on the northeast shore of Manor lake, with heavy earth movers reversing along the length of the embankment separating Manor lake from the Main Reedbeds. What a transformation met my eyes on Friday evening. Inert have decided to continue infill from north to south. A most excellent strategy, provided lorries did not have to reverse the length of the embankment - which was Inert's usual modus operandi. Well, it looks as if they have finally realised the futility of this action. I observed heavy earth movers driving the length of the embankment before performing a U-turn to drop their loads. A much faster rate of restoration could then take place.
5. I did a footpath site visit on Thursday as it was at least sunny. Our faithful pump was chugging away, and water levels in Manor lake were very, very low. Various wildfowl must be having a field day feeding on ever more constrained fish. On Friday, our faithful pump was off.
6. On the days I have wandered down to Manor farm (actually, more to photograph animals on Moor Green Lakes) I have only seen a digger or two working. Friday's visit clearly showed at least one bulldozer at work. Good, infill should happen much faster. Of course, we have to bear in mind that Inert also have to restore Chandlers farm. And that place is looking a right mess, with thousands of tons of spoil, piled into yet more heaps.
7. According to a schedule I have, Inert need to have completed infill and landscaping of Manor Farm by the end of Winter. Whichever measure you have for the seasons, this would generally mean by near the end of March, roughly three to four weeks away. Thing is, the schedule calls for reed planting to occur during spring 2023. Now, the meteorological spring means we are already in spring. Which means Inert are late. The astronomical spring gives them a bit more time i.e. near end of March. Whichever way you look at it, Inert are late, UNLESS reed planting occurs in late May or June, in which case they may meet their schedule.
Before the long slideshow, an estimate of the infill of Manor lake so far. I'm not a cartographer, so can only guess. Roughly half the lake has been filled in. I do not have detailed plans for the area, so do not know if the infill is to extend throughout the entire lake. You already know my position on this, it's bonkers as the lake is an established, varied eco-system which has the additional benefit of being able to help with water, particularly flood, management. The amount of water that could be stored in the once mighty Finch pond, Cormorant lakes north and south and Manor lake (existing and projected) would have been phenomenal, and could have possibly helped with irrigating Manor farm and other farms in times of drought. Better still, beavers could have introduced to Manor farm, allowing them to build dams across Colebrook and creating exciting eco-systems with flood control. Sigh.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.