Good first proper workday today and it was a good one with lovely weather and we really got on with the task in hand.
The learning points from last season to this one are becoming apparent. The ground that we have cleared has become totally full of flowers and plants, while the banks are still covered in scrub and trees. We need to really bite the bullet and clear out the bottom of the cuttings and also clear the banks. There is no point in letting the new growth encroach onto the old and muddy path. We are just tramping through the same old mud and puddles.
The good news is that there is a ridge of ballast that must be a result of when the railway tracks were taken up. If we clear this, along with the rest of the scrub, we will have a natural path that is higher than the water-logged bits. It’s good that we have the wet bits because this increases the diversity, but we don’t want to be continually walking through these bits. I saw a lot of dragonflies today, along with all the usual butterflies, so the wet bits are useful.
As a pointer, this is a picture of Stockton Cutting. They had the same issues as us before they cut nearly all the trees down on the banks. I wish I had a picture of when it was first done, but trust me, it was bare earth. Now look..
The reserve is literally buzzing with insects and wildlife, and the plant life is really varied.
I believe that our task this year is to totally clear out every bit of the greenway that is in cutting and brush-cut anything that grows on the ballast path over the summer of 2013. We can then work out what we want to do with the path that is on embankment next year.
To aid us in this task I am going to buy a chainsaw and just clear everything. Simple as!!
Anyhow, on to today. Reasonable turnout considering the workday was short notice. We started to clear between the two areas that have previously been ripped out.
You can see how tight the path is. We had to have the bonfire in the middle of the path!! Not good.
As you can imagine, we need to push on forwards, but also up to the top of the bank! This little bit took 12 man-hours to clear – we really need that chain saw…
I will put new workday dates on the blog very soon. As a final picture, we have paul taking a very well deserved break on the picnic bench. Great to see it being used and that we don’t have a litter problem around it.
Thanks everyone who made it today. Good work!!