Earlier this month JW Fencing from near Thetford competed the replacement of the fence around Guinea Hall, all 2.6km of it. They had some pretty wet conditions to work in and managed to do a fine job in just over three weeks. They are now moving over to start work on Burwell Fen. At just over ten years old the fences are starting to show their age and need fixing in places so I will be glad to have them on site getting things ready for our stock moving on in May.
Fen Ditching are back on Burwell Fen too, the extreme wet conditions had led to a delay in work but now things have dried out a bit the work on the ramp for our bridge over Burwell Lode can continue. The cycle route now goes all they way up to the top of the lode and a short section has been added to the north bank to take people onto the road and off the old muddy path.
There are many of these to do. Although not the most epic of tasks they make a big difference. An example of two are finally removing the misplaced bollard on the Lodes Way, and raising the crowns on the trees either side of the entrance to Tubney fen to help people see traffic on the road.
The sycamore at Hurdle Hall
I have been pondering what to do about this tree for several years and now we are looking to put a new set of gates near its base I have been prompted to make a decision. The new gates will increase the time people spend under its dead branches and as a result I have to reduce the risk of them falling onto people. There are three ways of doing this, moving the gate, removing the tree and removing the dangerous part of the tree. Moving the gate is not a viable option as the reinforced track would be very expensive to construct elsewhere, felling the tree is the cheapest option but we would lose some valuable standing deadwood habitat, removing the dangerous part of the tree is pretty expensive as we would need to hire in some tree surgeons to climb the tree and cut the whole top off, but we would save some great habitat.
I had opted to cut the whole tree down and allow for new trees to grow in its place due to our tight budgets and in the knowledge that in time a new tree would take its place. But when we stood at its base with a rather large chainsaw it was clear that it really wanted to fall in one direction and we would need it to go the opposite one. We could have got some ropes and tractor and pulled it over but decided the most sensible course of action would be to remove the weight from one side and allow it to fall the way we wanted it to, this would however require us to have it climbed. So as it would be climbed we thought lets save the trunk and standing deadwood and go for the option of cutting its top off. Anglesey Abbey have very kindly offered to lend us some of their gardeners are trained to do this which has saved us a great deal of money. So…. later in the month with a spot of luck the work will be done our new gates will be in and people will be free to pass safe and sound.
Below are some pictures from the past few weeks. The sycamore at Hurdle Hall, a fine bit of fencing at Guinea Hall, the bollard I mentioned being removed and the trees having their crowns lifted. Also a spot the Short Eared Owl at Tubney Fen.
As usual if you like you can keep up to date with goings on through twitter @vision_warden