This, my friends, is a truly significant event. Many decades ago, Cemex workers scrapped the top soil off the surface of Manor farm, and piled it high to make mighty embankments that flanked the east and northern edges of the site. Some smaller banking was created alongside the south edge of the site, paralleling the south (aka Blackwater river) footpath.
I used to love climbing up these embankments and photographing the site and wildlife from their tops. A good 10' (2.4m) to 20' (4.6m) or more in height, they gave a wonderful new perspective on the area; and were particularly good for Bird In Flight photography, as birds would typically fly east-west along the length of the site.
Alas, dear reader, this will be no more. Inert have begun the process of flattening these embankments, starting with the eastern north embankment. This is after a tiny foray, some weeks ago, where a small chunk was nibbled out of the eastern north embankment.
As usual, Inert leave me mystified and perplexed as to their strategy for flattening the embankments. Now, as a simple engineering type, I would have thought it best to start at one end and work your way to the other end, either by working your way along length of embankment thus
or by nibbling away, backwards and forwards along the long edge of the embankment thus
You'll not be surprised to know that Inert have completely different strategy that, to a lay man or woman, might prove somewhat perplexing. Yes, you guessed it, they bounce around. I'm sure there is a rational explanation, but it does elude me.
From what I can see, Inert appear to have started with strategy 1 - towit: begin a west end of embankment and work way eastward, marching (or digging) down length of embankment. Then, either getting bored of this approach or perhaps having two diggers (who could have started from the east end of the embankment) Inert decide to construct a vehicle track up the middle (lengthways) of the embankment, and then dig out a rather large hole in the top of the embankment. Said hole isn't on the south side of the embankment, where all the action is, but is on the middle to north side, making it difficult for a digger to fill up any lorry which might be waiting on the flat, firm, solid, safe south side. Instead, I suspect, lorries would have to drive up the vehicle track, onto the top of the embankment to receive a load of soil, with the digger driver having to pirouette through 180 degrees to fill up said lorries.
I'm sure it makes sense to someone, somewhere.
Anyway, the soil from the north embankment is carried by lorry to various points of what was the mighty Finch pond, then dumped for the bulldozer driver to do his bit and smear the stuff over the site; returning it to where it came from, sort of. I am quite surprised at the depth of soil achieved by the contents of the north embankment. It appears to be some 30cm-40cm (12"-16") deep. And that's just a small part of the north embankment. Inert still have the west embankments, the mighty western north embankment, and the east embankments to flatten. That's an awful lot of top soil still to be moved, and the amount of land they need to cover is less that the area of land they originally scraped - as they have ponds and lakes now.
Regardless, what we have here, dear reader, is the possibility that the site will be restored by next year. There are a few fiddly bits left to do, most of which could happen in parallel with the flattening of the embankments and landscaping of the wetlands, plus putting in sluice gates e.g. putting in new fencing, completing the bridle paths, constructing the pathetically small car park, etc.
Exciting times. The first part of the slide show covers the eastern north embankment
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.