When the history of the Society’s restoration efforts is written this work party will surely rate a modest mention. The weekend saw the conclusion of work on stripping the topsoil from over 1000 square metres of channel, and the resulting material transported a considerable distance to create a new ‘newt friendly’ area. The two interlinked tasks had to be completed by the end of the weekend, and they were – just! In addition a start was made on the extension of the compound. The latter is necessary to accommodate the increasing amount of materials and equipment required as the restoration pace quickens.
Heavy rain greeted the half a dozen or so volunteers on arrival on Friday morning. Their task was to do preparation work which involved removing newt fences, repositioning a water pipe and laying road mats. All of this was necessary because the site strip material had to be moved across two fields and a road. Its destination was a section of rip-rap along the offside bank the other side of Pryces Bridge. This rather convoluted exercise achieved two things – disposing of the site strip material off site, and creating a connecting corridor for newts between the Redwith newt pond and the Pryces Bridge area.
Work kicked off on Saturday (in ideal dry earthmoving weather) with the removal of the site strip material stockpiled during the last work party. On Sunday the rest of the channel was stripped and the material carted away. One 3 tonne, and one 8 tonne, excavator and two dumpers were used throughout. To give some idea of the scale of the task about 80 dumper runs, each with a travel time of approximately five minutes were necessary, with the road crossing supervised throughout. The task was finished late on Sunday afternoon. The other major task on the channel was the completion of the setting out which will, in due course, permit channel shaping to start.
The work on the compound extension involved clearing about 300 square metres of overgrown woodland including the removal of a couple of fallen trees. A start was made on installing a newt fence around the area – by hand, no machines here! By Sunday evening about 50 metres of fence had been erected. The other operation was repositioning the tea shelter, a task which was necessary in order to eventually give dumper access to the new area. The open day, hosted by Judy and Peter Richards, ran on Saturday and Sunday was a great success. About 50 visitors were treated to an exhibition showing the work of the Society and, of course, tea and cakes! All in all a weekend which advanced the cause considerably.