Yellow pump returns! Inert clean up bits of bridle path trench; appear to take foot off throttle. I got it wrong with Bailey bridge gate. 26th August 2023
It just occurred to me, as I was processing this week's photos, that the area at the corner of the sewage works and Longwater road is still very low lying and prone to flooding. I'm not sure if this area has had a capping layer of soil to build up its level. It has been some time since Inert worked on this area.
This is where the bridle path goes! This means the path could get water logged, which in turn means it will deteriorate quickly. In fact, the footpath alongside the sewage works and the Longwater road entrance is notorious for flooding. The section that runs alongside the Longwater road is particularly bad, supporting a 'puddle' over six inches deep (deeper than much of Manor lake!!) and extends for over 15m; it was much loved by a Moorhen earlier in the year. A lady dog walker, I saw earlier in the year, couldn't take her two Dachshunds along the path because they would have to swim through the puddle as it was so deep.
First off, that awful 45th US president got banged to rights on Thursday. In an historic first, he had a mugshot taken. Unfortunately, I had to see his ghastly orange face, leering at me from BBC news online front page.
Secondly, I will not put your through the ordeal of viewing over a hundred photos. I'm relieved as well. It takes a considerable time to process them.
Today's photos are hampered by lack of light. Sunrise was 6:06am. It generally doesn't get properly light until about 20 to 30 minutes after sunrise, and only then when the sun has cleared tree lines. I got stomping from the Longwater road entrance at 6:00am. Overhead was thick cloud and mist!
Thirdly, I got it wrong with the north gate to the Bailey bridge. I forgot that it had been replaced, and was now a single gate, and that I had to walk across the access road, over to the hinge side to climb over it. You have to cut me some slack, I am still quite dozy at 5.00am to 7.00am on a weekend morning.
What fooled me was that both sets of gates were unlocked, and open. I closed the ones on the Chandlers ford side of the bridge, as they were easy to secure.
Yes, the Yellow pump is back, sat near the Bailey bridge, along with short lengths of pipe. I am somewhat perplexed by its return. The only reason I can see for it is to pump out water from the excavations to the immediate north of the Bailey bridge, where gravel is going to be extracted for bridle and foot paths.
Seems like a lack of planning, going on here.
a) Why was our old faithful red pump removed? It didn't seem clapped out, and was going strong, if a little noisily. The new pump costs money to hire. I think the old one belonged to Inert.
b) Where is the water going to be pumped? I don't think it can go directly into the Blackwater. It can't go over to the settlement ponds in Chandlers farm because, guess what, the pipes leading to them across the Blackwater have been removed. The only place left, from what I can see, is Manor lake. But guess what, the sediment from pumping will settle into any deep bits of water, lowering the depth of water.
On to the south bridlepath. The section from the Longwater road entrance to about 50m east of the sewage works has been scraped smoothed. I'm not sure if this was done by a bulldozer or digger. I suspect former. Overall, the path is very firm underfoot, but there are numerous soft spots. This will cause sinkage in the top covering, which in turn will cause an uneven surface for users.
Inert carried on digging the trench where they left off last week, about 50 yards east of sewage works, through to about 50 yards west of the Bailey bridge. The bit between near the sewage works and where the path hits the old south (limestone) vehicle track still needs smoothing off. Whereas at the Bailey bridge end, the path sort of peters out. A quick eyeballing give the distinct impression that the land surface here, were the path peters out, is about a metre higher than the Blackwater footpath.
I can't really see what else Inert did since Tuesday. Yes, they have spread more capping soil on the ground between the bridlepath and the Blackwater valley footpath. They may have done a little tinkering here and there, but nothing obvious.
The bridlepath to the east of the Bailey bridge appears untouched, but I didn't bother going down there. I certainly didn't visit the north bridle and foot paths. I doubted anything would have been done on them. I'll attempt to look on Tuesday, but probably only if Inert have cleared the path to the Moor Green Lakes Group car park. So far the weather is looking dry. And I carry my Hi-Vis vest with me, to stand out, just in case any one is working on the site. Which I stay off if I know they are there.
The north edge of the south bridle path is up to 25m closer to Manor lake than the north edge of the Blackwater valley (aka South) footpath. Quite a lot is 7m, with it being 15m closer at the famous Grey box. For me, a photographer primarily, it brings me much closer to the birds. For birders, it offers greater scope for seeing birds. Sadly it might mean birds, particularly on Manor lake, may move further away into the Main Reed beds.
However, thinking about this. The footpaths and causeways we walked along at RSPB Leighton Moss were as close if not closer to open water as on Manor farm. However, the area was covered in reeds, which towered above our heads. We couldn't see anything. Birds were quite happily hiding in the reeds, probably quite close to us, but quite obscured. Great for the birds, less so for birders and photographers. But then again, the Longwater road nature reserve is for wildlife, primarily, though as a community resource, a balance has to be struck between providing views of nature, without causing too much disturbance for said nature.
Now, I forgot that bridle paths (or Bridleways) are open to foot, pedal cycle and horse traffic. This means that birders, in particular, will gleefully walk along. And it is lovely and wide.
Originally against it being a bridlepath, as I thought it for horse riders, and having had a couple of nasty encounters with rude, entitled horse riders arrogantly forcing me off footpaths (note, footpaths; where they shouldn't have been) I was against them.
However, thinking matters through. They could be very good for wildlife, if joggers, casual walkers and dog walkers can be kept to the Blackwater valley footpath. They tend to be the most disruptive to wildlife, especially day trippers from Horseshoe lake.
Horse riders tend to be quite rare (so far), hence cause a small amount of disruption to wildlife. Cyclists are generally quite, but tend to whoosh past, again causing little disruption.
Hopefully, that leaves birders and walkers to use the bridle paths. These tend to be very quite and respectful of the countryside and wildlife.
Even now, there are a surprising number of people using the footpaths who are, shall we say, nature watchers, out to appreciate the country side.
Unlike last week, the going on the site was firm due a spell of relatively dry and warm weather. I didn't need wellingtons.
Wildfowl were in reasonable abundance. The usual Egyptian geese, Canada geese abounded; joined by Lapwing, Green Sandpipers, at least eight Little White Egrets, the odd Cormorant, and the normal Mallards. I didn't pay too much attention, plus it was early and the birds hadn't got warmed up. Of the Marsh Harrier, Kestrels and Hobby, there was no sign. Again, it was very early, and there was mist or low clouds grazing the tops of trees.
Photos to follow, after the Memsahib and I get back from our morning constitutional around local footpaths.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.