Tuesday, 4 December 2012

More Chipping Away and Christmas Lights.

We are back on the tree work for this week, thanks to Anglesey Abbey for lending us their chipper. We started pollarding as much as we could reach but this was proving too time consuming so after finishing the  first section we are started removing branches that overhung the path for the rest of length of the path.  It is slow going but reduces the damage to the path as much as possible and gets rid of the braches without having to drag them over very long distances by hand further damaging the path.   

In other news I popped down to Anglesey Abbey on Sunday to help them set up for Christmas Lights and can defiantly recommend going to check them out. A trail takes you around the gardens once the sun has set with all kinds of different coloured lights, candles and so on illuminating the way. You need to book so click here for info.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

An update on Burwell Lode Bridge

I thought I would try to do a short update about the bridge we are planning to build over Burwell Lode. Work has recently begun on some provisional groundwork’s including moving a main drainage ditch, and extending the main cycle route up to the existing pedestrian footbridge. A compound created for contractors vehicles on the northside of Burwell Lode will eventually become a small car park.

The work is being financed with the remainder of our Big Lottery Fund Sustrans Connect2 grant for the development of the Lodes Way. We are actively fundraising to raise sufficient funds to complete the bridge.

When completed the bridge will provide easy access for people on foot, bike, wheel or pushchairs, horse and even horse and cart over Burwell Lode.  The bridge will have segregated channels to enable our herds of highland cattle and konik ponies to roam between Adventurers’ and Burwell Fen’s without coming into direct contact with people.

I have put a few of the plans and pictures of the final design below, it will be a few years before it is finished though:

Monday, 12 November 2012

Pollarding on the Waterproof Bank

With the wet conditions limiting our movements around the reserve we decided to get onto pollarding the willow trees that grow alongside the waterproof bank. The willows are managed on the bank for two purposes, firstly to stop them growing over the path and secondly to prevent them from becoming too large, blowing over and damaging the bank which forms part of a flood defence system.  Several years ago they were pollarded with the aid of an excavator with a mulching head, not the neatest way of working but at the time the only way available. The plan was to manage them as they re-grew by using a tractor mounted flail to cut them more like a hedge, but sadly for several reasons this never happened and the branches grew to large leaving it to either be a job for a digger again or for plenty of hard work with chainsaws. 

So today we made a start, we needed to get a plan of attack and work out the most effective method of dealing with all of the cut branches.  The narrow bank means that there is very little space to work with as it is only a few meters wide and the path at the top would also soon cut up. Our initial plan was to cut the branches, stack them and move them with the grab, but we couldn’t fit very much in. Secondly we decided to push loads away with the grab but this damaged the path, we then used small trailer loads but this cut up the path. We can’t drag it away by hand as there are many tones branches to move, and over long distances so this was also impractical. So we stopped and pondered the next plan... this is to borrow a wood chipper and also put small loads into a trailer where possible and drag where possible. It will take a lot longer, and be a lot nosier but with a spot of luck produce a really good job over the next few weeks.

 The Waterproof Bank 
Loading the Grab

Pollarding with a digger about 5 years ago.

I also started making a sign for the Lode and Longmeadow Community Wood at White Fen. Gale from our Learning team wrote the name on a big plank of oak Jamie Cakebread from Cambridge Restoration had given us a while back and I routed it in. White Fen Wood is a lot shorter than ‘Lode and Longmeadow Community Wood’  I plan to paint the letters and then set it into the ground somewhere on White Fen. The writing is a bit wobbly, but, well it kind of looks ok I recon, in a rustic wobbly wood kind of a way.

 White Fen Wood Sign

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ash Dieback - Chalara fraxinea

So far on the Vision Project I haven’t spotted any signs of Ash Dieback but I thought I would post a link to a good video and to the forestry commission’s page.

If you spot some the official instruction is to contact the Forestry Commission, the link is in the site above. If you are unsure if it is indeed Ash Dieback then please feel free to contact me via the comments box of phone at Wicken Fen and I can go and investigate further.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mowing at Anglesey Abbey.....

I had a nice bit of mowing to do this week at Anglesey Abbey, the gardeners asked if I could have a go at their meadows with our larger mower.  Certainly a nice view from the cab.

We cut the meadow in front of the house but sadly I didn’t have enough time to get onto the squares further down the avenue. I hope to get back after my holiday next week and get the work finished. 
I also went and finished moving the bales and doing the mowing at Oily Hall. The Longhorns down there are from Spinney Abbey Farm. I just thought I would take a moment to remind everyone of the link to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spinney-Abbey/106403479405228 the normal URL is being re designed at the moment. Always worth a look for some really nice products.

The work to begin the work on Burwell Lode Bridge is also underway on the South side of Burwell Lode. The bridge wont be finished this year as we still have plenty of money to raise before we can afford to build it, but a drain is being moved and the ramps started. We have diverted the Lodes Way while work is being done to extend the cycle track, it is all still open but do remember to follow the signs.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Bit of a catch up. + Building a Fence

The Last Few Weeks:

No blog for a while, so what have we been up to? As usual getting the small jobs ticked off, plenty of mowing and strimming around the reserve but this is slowing down a great deal now the colder weather has come in.  The environment agency are half way down Wicken Lode and it looks great, but it is still pretty much bare earth still so best avoided if you can really. We had a nice trip up to see the Great Fen Project and say hello to everyone up there. Plenty of paperwork and we mowed round the 3000ish trees on White Fen, thanks to the gardeners at Anglesey Abbey got the lend of their mower. We turned the compost behind the overflow car park and I also started moving the bales around on Oily Hall, still about 50 to do, there are some pictures of this lower down.

We are also just beginning two projects. Fen Ditching are starting preliminary work on the new Burwell Lode Bridge, it won’t be finished, but a drainage ditch is being diverted on Burwell Fen with the beginnings of the ramps also being started. The cycle way is also being extended to nearer the existing bridges over the lode. On the North side of Burwell Lode a small car park is being put in at the meeting points of Harrisons Drove and Factory Drove next to Priory Farm.

Another important piece of work that is being undertaken is creating a link between Pout Hall Corner pond and Reach Lode. The Environment Agency and ourselves have taken the decision to allow the pond to maintain its level when water is abstracted into the bunded area on the Southern Section of Burwell Fen.  Previously it had been predicted by the EA that the banks between the pond and the lodes was porous enough to allow this to happen with no extra work, sadly this was not the case. Jason Cooper from RJC Earthworks is in the process of installing stone filled baskets into the lode bank to maintain its strength while allowing water and small fish to pass through.

As I had my camera handy I took a few pictures of our new fence as we built it (it is for the new car park), also a few others of odds and ends from the past few weeks: