Spillway constructed. Infill of Manor lake continues. Lorries back to reversing long distances. 8th December 2022
Winter weather has set in with a vengeance. Temperatures an unseasonably 3-5C lower than normal for this time of year, with overnight frost. Snow falling on northern regions. All is not bad news. We've not had any rain for a couple of weeks, which means dry ground.
A MGLG member (Peter), whom I often meet on the south footpath during my mid week stomp, informed me that a spillway had been constructed off the east footpath (MGLG car park to River Blackwater) adjacent to MGLG's Colebrook hide. I haven't photographed it as I didn't fancy stomping a further kilometre or so in the very cold weather to do so.
I'm quite heartened by this spillway being put in place as it shows that restoration is nearing its end. Though it is still too early to say this with any real confidence because plans and deadlines change. It does reinforce what I have been saying - I do not get to identify all the restoration tasks that Inert and others do. A couple of hours visiting, once or twice a week, makes this an impossible task.
I might park in the MGLG car park next week (a less perilous undertaking now that the land slip on the ridges by the war memorial has been repaired) and walk round to the bailey bridge from there. This excursion will also enable me to check for any signs of further restoration around the east and south sides of Manor lake e.g. fence building.
Peter also drew my attention to a 'Reed Broadwalk' he had spotted on a Restoration plan he has. I hadn't seen this and thought it was something new that had been recently posted. But not really. Peter said he found it in a 2019 planning document, and the restoration plan was dated 2014! I memorised the image reference number, with an intent to search the Wokingham council planning site for it.
Luckily, I looked on my laptop first and discovered I already had the file. Sure enough, there is a reed broadwalk shown on the thing. Personally, I think this is a daft structure to build. It parallels the existing footpath from its starting point - foot/horse bridge near Colebrook hide - all the way round to the tongue of land that sticks out into Manor lake. Thus, the walk doesn't actually deliver much in terms of getting around the site.
Most of the broad walk will be on grass land, with a tiny amount being in reeds. Birds will be frightened away with all the people, and screaming children and barking dogs walking along the broad walk in plain sight. Not to mention dogs deciding to jump off the walk onto the grassland and into the lake to run and swim around.
And when the broad walk enters reed beds proper, you can't see anything as the reeds tower above you.
Far better to invest in lots of viewing screens (especially on the tongue/peninsular in Manor lake) and more paths through the middle of Manor farm.
Anyway, enough of my bleating (probably considered highly non-PC by tender snowflake woke people) what have Inert been up to? As if you hadn't guessed. Yep, they continue with their infill of Manor lake. A task which many people I have talked to who I meet on my stomp find totally perplexing. One statement I read seem to indicate that Cemex find this imposition equally perplexing.
Our bulldozer driver was earnestly chugging away, pushing stuff into Manor lake. Quite a dangerous task as he has to get right to the edge of an eight to ten foot vertical drop. The bulldozer goes forwards slowly (unsurprisingly) then charges backwards at speed. It's quite amusing to watch.
A digger operator was in attendance doing a task I find most baffling; a complete waste of time, fuel and effort. Basically, tipper lorries dump 16 to 18 tons of spoil right up against the south side of a heap of soil on which the digger is sat. The digger operator then transfers this spoil to its north side. Where upon the bulldozer driver pushes the stuff into Manor lake!!!! Huh?
Previously, tipper lorry drivers simply drive up to the edge of the infill area. They might then reverse a bit onto the actual infilled area - if so instructed by the bulldozer driver. They drop their loads, whereupon the bulldozer driver shovels it into Manor lake.
I really do not understand why the digger operator is needed. It appears to be make work. I hope Cemex negotiated a fixed price contract.
In an equally nutty return to slow work. Lorry drivers are reversing some 50 yards or so, from the bailey bridge to where they need to drop their loads. Huh? Why? There is all this vast amount of space which is not being used. At the very least provide a turning circle where loads are to be dropped. There's tons of hardcore available to provide a solid, firm driving surface.
The only good thing - there appear to be only one or two John Stacy tipper lorries ferrying stuff. Yep, they are back! Never thought I'd see them again. This means we don't have ten or more lorries queuing south of the bailey bridge patiently waiting for the lead lorry to cross said bridge, do a U turn, reverse 50 yards or so, drop its load and then drive back over bailey bridge.
Oh, the pump was off. Water levels were still very low in Manor lake (and Blackwater, come to that) and there has been no rain of late. Plus most of what rain did fall, is still probably making its way into the depleted aquifers.
I may or may not do a site visit this weekend. The weather is set to be freezing (-1C to -4C) and cloudy. Infill of Manor lake appears to be slow, therefore not a huge amount of change will occur. I'm sure readers will be fed up with yet another shot of a heap of soil that appears fairly identical to the heap of soil they saw last week.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.