The additional work party tackled two major tasks both of which had to be finished before the onset of cold weather. These were to transport the material stripped from Phase 1B during the September work party to the newt pond site at Redwith, and to finish newt compensation ponds and terrestrial habitats at Redwith. The weather was kind to us being both dry and warm. This facilitated our earthmoving work and meant that there was no danger to hibernating newts during operations.
The nature of the work meant that the majority of volunteers involved were qualified machine operators backed up by first aiders and banksmen/lookouts. In addition the lining gang were also in action on Friday. The usual silver service from the welfare department goes without saying. We always had the bare minimum number of volunteers on site and as a result all concerned did long hours without rotation of jobs. Two most welcome visitors were Adrian and Bob from WRG who did sterling service as the two digger drivers on Sunday. Indeed there was a bit of a reunion feel to Sunday since a number of volunteers on site had worked together on the recent Pant Railway embankment removal organised by WRG.
The pattern of work was established on Friday morning. The 8 tonner loaded the dumpers in the channel and these travelled to Redwith via two supervised road crossings. Here they were loaded by the 3 tonner with material excavated from the newt ponds for the return journey. This material will be used as fill in the Phase 1B channel works. The only hiccups were a couple of dumper breakdowns but we were saved by another star of the show – Steve the plant fitter – who had us up to full compliment by Saturday morning. Everybody was too busy to count the exact number but there were of the order of ninety round trips over the weekend. Much to the relief of all concerned the last loads were finished by lunchtime on Sunday.
The work on the newt ponds was necessary because they are a prerequisite of the forthcoming newt licence application. The work involved lining ponds 3 and 4 for the third, and hopefully last, time using a combination of three sheet materials. Construction of a couple of newt terrestrial habitats completed the weekend’s work.