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.