Most of our work so far this year has been at Fosseway. “The Staffords” (Roger and Jean) have worked tirelessly several days each week to reuse the original bricks from the canal wall and complete the abutments for the board walks. The rest of us have collected, cut up and burned the vegetation dug up by the realignment of the canal route.
Queen’s Croft students have had several mornings putting sods of grass which were displaced in that process on the embankment side of the new batter, where they should take root and gradually spread, being the lowland heathland grasses which are so important to this project. Wherever possible gorse has also been transplanted, and more will be planted when and where they will not be disturbed by earth movements and construction.
Our valuable relationship with Foresters Scout Group continues: I met their Scout section at Darnford Moor in pitch darkness on 8 March and led them down to the willow trees from which they could cut willow withes from which they later made bird feeders and nest sites. It was a cold night but we all found our way around with head torches and they thoroughly enjoyed it! We will have their Cub sections help us on two evenings in May continuing the transplanting of grass sods at Fosseway – at least it will be light!
We also took delivery in March of 420 saplings from The Woodland Trust, almost all of which have been planted at Summerhill on two successive Saturdays. The Grounds/Green team is most grateful for the response from so many to come and help, as 210 saplings in a day take some planting! The first batch were planted on the top of the bank marking the boundary between our land and that of The Boat, and the second batch down at the bottom of the bank near the Cranebrook culvert. That second planting required our intrepid planters to venture down (and back up) a very steep slope, and the older volunteers particularly should be awarded medals! I reserved a few of the saplings for Queen’s Croft group to do some infilling at Borrowcop Locks.
More recently, both the regular Saturday workparty and Queen’s Croft’s Tuesday mornings have been at Gallows Wharf. It will be necessary for plant to be moved along the canal route from and to the Cricket Lane end, and to minimise the extent to which this churns up mud and dirt we are cutting back the vegetation along the boundary line so that the digger and dumper keep away from the main walking route.
On a final note, we now have several new youngsters doing their Duke of Edinburgh volunteering with us, and several of them are also bringing parents on occasions, too! Thanks to you all, and we hope you enjoy your time with us!
Island House, Moor Road
Registered in England - No. 2456172
Registered Charity No. 702429
VAT registration No. 823 8213 41