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Posts Tagged ‘Hare Hill’

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of John Agar on 17 April 2020.  John was a very committed and enthusiastic member of SACV and right up until recent weeks he was a stalwart of the group, for many years our most frequent volunteer.  John was out with us most recently at Chorlton Water Park on Sunday 1 March, where he busily got stuck in to the construction of a willow arch.

John had a passion for the natural world and conservation and he especially enjoyed having more time to indulge these interests in later life.  In former years, John was a fixture on our residential weekends in the Peaks, until he “retired” from weekends away in 2013.  On those weekends, John continued his working life’s habit of very early starts, so by the time the rest of us were up John would inevitably have been for a walk to listen to the local birdsong as well as got the breakfast porridge, tea and toast on the go!

John was a founder member of the Friends of Chorlton Meadows, a group we have worked with many times over the years.  Having lived in Chorlton all his life, John was a source of fascinating memories of the changing local environment.

Since the loss of John, tributes have come in from the volunteers who have worked with him over the years: it is clear he was held in huge affection and warm regard, a vocal advocate for the natural environment, infectiously enthusiastic and always willing to share his knowledge with others, warm and welcoming to volunteers of all ages, good-humoured and good company.  He will be greatly missed.

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Digging into the past at Hare Hill

For today’s activity on a sunny September day, the focus was less on ecology and habitats and more on heritage conservation. Hare Hill has an extensive system of culverts (on which we’ve worked many times in the past), but today we were working on a structure which might have been part of a sheep dip, dating perhaps to the first half of the nineteenth century.  A lot of the construction was overgrown or buried under soil and turf – so we were doing what we could to clear and reveal the original stonework and, where part of the structure had collapsed, try to identify its original line and formation.  This led to a lot of interesting archaeological and architectural theorizing (“Are these buried stones part of a collapsed wall?  Would there have been steps?  Is this rusted length of metal part of a rail?  Could there have been a sloped descent to the water at this point rather than a wall?”)!  We don’t know that we came up with any of the right answers but the speculation was entertaining!

 The National Trust is arranging for the revealed stonework to be assessed by someone with more expertise and it might follow in due course that there is a plan for more exploration and restoration of the structures here – so we’ll keep an eye out for future developments!

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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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Rhododendrons at Hare Hill

Today SACV volunteers were out giving the National Trust a hand at Hare Hill.  We were working at the edge of the woods which surround the walled garden, in a meadow awash with buttercups, where our task was to help with the control of rhododendrons.

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SACV’s task last Sunday was to help the National Trust at Hare Hill with the ongoing culvert restoration at this site.  We also helped with work to renovate a cattle drinking trough which had been discovered when it was found that the culverts fed into it – before that it had lain hidden for over 40 years!

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