Creation of a Scrape and Scrub Area at Marbury

The idea for the project developed out of a woodland management seminar run by the Forestry Commission and RSPB at Quarry Bank Mill in 2008, which Alan Garner and I attended. Part of the session discussed the benefit of softening woodland edges by planting scrub species to provide shelter and nest sites. With support from Marbury Ranger Chris Moseley, we started the project to create a shallow scrape, surrounded by scrub planting at the edge of Big Wood.

A successful application was made to Vale Royal Borough Council and the project was funded through a grant of just under £1000 from them. Part of the field next to Big Wood, which had previously been grazed, was given over to the project and volunteers helped Chris move the fence line.

The grant paid for hire of a contractor to dig out the scrape itself and this work was carried out at the end of 2008.

Starting to dig

Taking shape

The grant also paid for purchase of native scrub species, which were planted around the scrape by volunteers and Rangers early in 2009.

Planting

It was never expected that the scrape would contain water all-year round, but initial results were disappointing, with the scrape drying out very quickly during summer months. Over the next year or so, we persevered finding and blocking old land drains which ran away from the area and the scrape now holds water as planned.

The planting has matured well and the area is now unrecognisable from where we started.

Scrape Area - Summer 2013

Scrape Area – Summer 2013

Summer 2013 has seen a large number of dragonflies patrolling the pond.

Emperor Dragonfly at the Scrape

Emperor Dragonfly at the Scrape

Brown Hawker oviposting

Brown Hawker oviposting

The project has also attracted butterflies and, if you look carefully, large skipper butterflies can be found in the grassy areas and vegetation by the scrape. The large skipper often flies in the company of small skippers, but is bigger, brighter and has more variegated wing markings.

Large skipper butterfly

Large skipper butterfly

Small skipper butterfly

Small skipper butterfly

Alan Redley – Updated July 2013

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