The Friends of Haddon Wood

Everything interesting we can think of about Alhampton's community woodland. To leave a comment on a post, click on its title and scroll down…


1 Comment

The digger is in! July 2014

As yet another marker of summer whizzing past, the pond construction is nearly into its third – and possibly final – week already. It seems an age since the community first put the idea forward as an adjunct to the Woodland Trust’s part in the woodland, but suddenly it’s taking shape – loud and proud.

In week one you would have noticed the Friends’ warning signs, followed swiftly by the contractor’s, but you can’t possibly miss them now that the Woodland Trust have added theirs to the gates too! If, however, by some bizarre chance, you did – landing, perhaps, by helicopter – no-one could fail to see the earthworks erupting in Field 4.

It’s going to be big – 50 x 100 metres – but not as big as the space suggests at the moment. Topsoil has been removed from a 20 metre strip all round, so that subsoil can be banked and spread, before being re-covered and re-planted. We’ve seen other, much smaller ponds that probably seemed large enough on paper, but have either shrunk over time, or been blotted out by surrounding vegetation and we wanted something that would make a proper contribution to wildlife habitat, with an island. Happily it was a concept that our then Woodland Trust manager took on board way back at the beginning, although on his plan it was higher up in Field 5 (before we found the land drains) and even bigger!

It’s going to be ephemeral too, so probably will only hold water for the wettest months of the year and yes, it won’t be so pretty for the first year or two, but it’s amazing how quickly grass – and other things – will creep into the space and we’ve got two hundred more trees waiting to go in below the Eastern rim, when conditions are right in the Autumn.

So, our biggest project yet  and one we’re immensely proud of. I’m no expert, but I know bad ground works when I see them and Mark has pulled off quite something by identifying one of the most proficient and hard-working teams I’ve come across. Yet again we’re lucky to have so many knowledgeable, helpful locals to get stuck in to help with Haddon.  Week one’s mysterious heaps in are beginning to make sense, the island has taken shape and there’s even a dribble of water in the bottom!

Just one last – but very important – thing: for those wondering why we’ve sited the pond where it is and a few other things, there’s a brilliant explanation, supplied by Roger Hutton – HERE

 

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Pond update: exploratory dig…

Mark found a gap between rain showers last Friday and hired a mini digger to… well, do some digging.

It was a serious exercise, not just a boys and toys thing – though I don’t remember that any women drivers present were offered a turn – but we needed to find the land drains we’d been told about and that Richard had found during the divining episode.

To keep you up to date, the plan is now to locate the pond across, say, two thirds of F4 (to be worthwhile, we want it to be a decent size)  and set a way back from, but running parallel with, West Lane. This will be further down the hill than some of us wanted originally, but is a good decision based partly on aesthetics and partly because it’s where Richard got stronger signals. It’s also more practical because of the levels and the amount of spoil to come out and be distributed etc etc

By the time I got there Mark had already dug two short trenches (thanks to Network Rail for closing the A371…) and was well under way with the third. The first bit of good news is that he cut drains about 3 metres apart, at a depth of about 3ft and water was actually running out and puddling in the bottom of the second trench by the time I got there with my camera; the second, that between 2 and 3ft down he found the heavy grey/black stuff that we love to hate. Now the only thing we have to worry about (and I never thought I’d say such a thing) is that the clay seam is broad and deep enough for our needs!

Now I know that pictures of muddy trenches are not necessarily the most exciting thing to look at, but we need to keep a record…