Sunday, 29 January 2012

Helping Waterbeach Primary School redo their pond.

Well today was the big day, we drained the pond, re lined it and started to re fill it. Simple as that? No it wasn’t, but with loads of us helping we got the job done.

Firstly we got our pump going and the water began to drop, but this soon slowed as it got progressively more and more clogged, even standing in the pond and continually cleaning it was no use in the end. Plenty of people with rakes cleaned the debris away but as we got lower the expected sludge caught up with us far sooner than I had predicted. The buckets came out and chains of muddy people got the sludge away, and cleaned the pond back to the original liner. We then lined the old liner with a protective layer and overlaid that with the new liner. In went some water to and all the frogs we had caught, then all of the buckets and containers of original pond water and minibeasts that Mrs Johnstone and her students had saved a few days ago. The plan now is to see if the Fire Brigade can lend a hand and re-fill it with non tap water.This will pull the liner into place, so in the meantime we weighed the edges down to keep the wind out.

Meanwhile there was plenty of other activity, the Ivy was being pulled off the trees, branches cut back and dragged off and out of the way. There was also plenty of soil turned over in the vegetable garden. Lots of hard work.

Here are some pictures from today.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Still building those shelters....

Had a bit of a catch up day today. You can defiantly work in the rain, and we got totally soaked on Friday building the shelters, but today was a good day to stay in the dry and get some things ticked of lists. Hope we can get these shelters finished sooner than later. There are many things to do elsewhere on the Vision. Moving concrete blocks, fixing new Omega signs up, still rolling out the new locks, fixing a lot of fences, litter picking, getting new fences built by contractors and the rest..... The winter is a good time to catch up on work and I would love to get things up to standard. Lets hope for a good day tomorrow.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Get the Chainsaws Out

Sadly the strong winds last week brought down a nice old Willow Tree at the end of Wicken Lode. It was nice old tree, so nice in fact I took a pic of it just the other day. It was great for wildlife too as it had plenty of standing deadwood at various heights, lots of craks and rotten wood.James, our Senior Warden and Kate, a full time volunteer did most of the hard work and I chopped a few bits off and helped move the big bits out of the way. It was a bit of a problem for us though was it was too large for our saws, so we had to borrow a bigger one from Anglesey Abbey. Good fun until you have to sharpen it.

A rare picture of me.Getting there, you might have noticed my saw got blunt on one side and it got a bit of a bend, in fact this pic is terrible, honest the rest of the cuts were not a massive mess like that!:

While I am on there was a lovely Sunset this evening (taken from next to the Five Miles from Anywhere in Upware):

Camping Shelters

Well they take a bit to build. Many many measurements to be made, joints cut things worked out. I even had to ring bind the instructions we were using as they were out so often! Without Jamie and Steve it would have been almost impossible, it was fantastic to have these two super skilled people at hand.

Now one is almost done the plan is to use a chainsaw to do the other three. Well 2 as hopefully we have enough logs made up to fit a second one together. Jamie made a nice jig to help my cutting to be as accurate as possible.

Here is one going up and some pictures from Oily Hall:

Early Start:

Steve at work:

Monday, 9 January 2012

A Wild Camp Site at Oily Hall

The construction has begun! The good news is the chaps from Cambridge Restoration are at hand to help (do almost everything), the bad news is we only have them for one week.

So what is a wild camping site?

It is camping without a tent, you book up, walk down and stay overnight. You need a sleeping bag and so on, but the rain is kept off and the fire can help to keep the worst of any cold away. I don’t have a picture of a finished one handy, I will try to get one in the next few days from the office. Imagine a shoulder high shelter, with a curved roof, all made from nice big logs.

Here is where we have got to so far, lots of working things out today....

There is quite a bit more work to get done.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Burwell Fen Water Abstraction

It is almost ready to be turned on!

After the long process of constructing the waterproof bund around the Southerly half of Burwell Fen we are nearing the point where we get to turn the key and let some water on. The plan is to increase the winter water table by a few centimetres and create some sections of permanent standing water. This is best achieved by increasing the amount of water we abstract over several years.

The water is being abstracted from Pout Hall Corner where Burwell Lode meets Reach Lode, it then runs through the intake across the bank, down the side of Reach Lode bank, through the metre and out of the end of the pipe into the stones. The stones help to reduce erosion where the water enters the fen.

The two pictures below show the abstraction point nearing completion.

The map shows the maximum water coverage within the waterproof bund. This will be the case in a few years with a spot of luck. I do want to stress that it shows the highest level of coverage during the seasonal water level change, where the water table rises in the winter and falls in the summer. With the exception of the borrow pit at the East end of the map the water will only be several inches deep before it falls away in the summer. It is worth noting that the whole area is below sea level so the high water level is at -1.4m.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year

With it being a lovely day we decided to take our boat down Wicken Lode. As I work on the Fen we have been there a fair few times! but it is a lovely place to go and right on our doorstep. We only moor around the corner. Also we wanted to run the engines for a bit. There were a good number of people going for a walk too, enjoying the winter Sun. Here are some pictures from our trip, and some from our walk at Reach Lode Bridge on New Year's Eve. Sadly my camera hasn’t quite captured the Sunset but I hope you get the idea.