Help For Heroes
Thursday, April 18th 2019
A keen and willing team from Help for Heroes gave up their time today to help with various maintenance tasks in the spring sunshine.
The main job for the day was to upgrade a section of the red route which is the 'easy access' trail that leads to the lake. The group set to work first sweeping the existing stones into the centre of the path so as to minimise waste.
This left behind only the weeds at the edges which could be scraped up and removed.
Many, many barrows full of weeds were taken away and used to fill in a quad bike track elsewhere. Then several trailer loads of stone were collected and transported by wheelbarrow to the trail. The team worked so fast that not only did they do the part that was planned for the day (before coffee time) but they continued along the next section too. It was quite a challenge for the quad bike and trailer to keep up!
The new stone was spread out and compacted using spades, rakes and a good, old-fashioned tamper.
The finishing touches were added and the new surface was smoothed out with a wacker plate.
The end result was impressive! Some of the team painted several benches including the picnic benches on the front lawns which were very 'thirsty' and required numerous coats of preserver and wood stain.
Volunteers also helped by building Water Vole latrines, mending tools and raking weed out of ponds. They also tidied around the field centre gardens so that they are ready for the many visitors who are expected over the Bank Holiday. The reserve is open from 10.00am - 4.00pm every day over the Easter weekend.
Visitors with a passion for Lepidoptera counted butterflies on their walk; Peacock (10), Brimstone (4), Orange Tip (14), Small White (2) and the first Speckled Wood of the year!
In the scrapes, work is continuing to replace dams. The water levels are currently very low due to lack of rainfall and it is hoped that the new structures will maximise the amount of water able to be retained in these wildlife rich pools.
The temperature got quite high and by lunchtime, the two ponies were wallowing in Plover's pool! The feeders outside the centre are still a magnet for the finches with many Redpoll and Siskin attracted to the nyger seed.
Mallard are everywhere and a camera trap put out to record an animal that has been leaving mysterious tracks in one of the Mink rafts captured a pair who appear to be looking for a nesting site! On the recently created Spigot Mere, Swallows were skimming the surface and Oystercatchers had already found a suitable place to bathe! Willow Warblers were calling all around the reserve.
Our sincere thanks to everyone for all their hard work today. It wouldn't be possible to run the reserve without all of this valuable support!
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