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Archive for the ‘Ponds and lakes’ Category

Our first activity of 2017: some work on the willow groynes at Chorlton Water Park!  These groynes are important in protecting the banks from erosion and providing a valuable wildlife habitat.  There was only a small band of volunteers out today but a pleasant misty winter’s day and some good work done!

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Today SACV were out in Priory Gardens on behalf of City of Trees. The main activity was the building of a hibernaculum – in this case, one close to a pond which it is hoped will provide a habitat for newts, frogs and slow worms!

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Today SACV members were out with the Friends of Chorlton Meadows.  We haven’t worked on this pond for the past couple of years, but as in 2012 and 2013 our task was to clear some of the reeds and overhanging willow in order to maintain an area of open water.  Without this, the pond will continue to close in and silt up, and might gradually cease to be the important habitat it is, including for the variety of birds – such as reed warbler, reed bunting, water rail and willow tit – which can be sighted here.

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Today we were back at Chorlton Water Park to continue work on the new wildlife garden being created here in conjunction with the RSPB.  We planted a few wildlife-friendly trees and shrubs and finished building a flowerbed mound where our plantings included flowers such as cowslip and ox-eye daisy.  We then helped finish the bog garden around the new pond – and added wetland plants such as marsh marigold, water avens, ragged robin and flowering rush.

It was good to see the willow arch (which we constructed in December) looking healthy and sprouting well, fulfilling its function as the entrance to this developing wildlife area!

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A day at Chorlton Water Park on Sunday 13th December marked the end of SACV’s activities for 2015.  We worked on maintaining the willow groynes at the edge of the lake, which provide an important habitat for birdlife and spawning fish; using the cut willow, we then created a willow arch which will provide a living entrance to the new wildlife garden being created in conjunction with the RSPB.  Then, to finish the day, we had our annual Christmas get-together with plenty of mulled wine and seasonal delights – all of that, plus a 40th birthday to celebrate!

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This past weekend was our final residential weekend of 2015.  Working as usual with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers, we helped to clear and burn invasive rhododendron on the banks of Tittesworth Reservoir.  The reservoir’s water level was looking lower than any of us could recall seeing it, but that gave us a good space on the shore for our bonfire of cut material.  The removal of the rhododendron will help to avert the monoculture which is otherwise developing along some of the bank, and encourage native species to flourish.  We were blessed with fine and warm autumn weather to enjoy the scenic location.  In the evenings and in the breaks from work, the weekend followed the usual sort of course: great meal in The Lazy Trout on Saturday night, good chats, crossword attempts, entertaining post-dinner tabletop games (Saboteur, Coup, Avalon, Werewolves!) and a home-made cake to celebrate a recent wedding!

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The National Trust site of Hare Hill has an extensive Victorian culvert system which we have helped to maintain in the past.  The culvert system feeds into a cattle trough, and a couple of years ago we lent a hand with its restoration (it had previously lain forgotten for several decades).  It has silted up again since then, so today some of us joined forces with the Manchester National Trust Volunteers to clear out the mud and patch up some of the pond again.  There was a good crowd of volunteers out so, meanwhile, others worked on removing invasive rhododendron from a wooded embankment nearby.  A fine day in the spring sunshine!

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