Archive for October, 2009

October’s journal

7th There seemed to be a huge crowd when we walked into the cabin. Our usual numbers were doubled by a contingent from Brunner Mond organised by Ann Bates of Action Weaver Valley. Most of us went out onto the meadow between the lime avenues to complete the planting of wild flowers. It was a lovely morning but the grass was very wet. It was difficult to see the mown areas indicating where we should plant because the grass had grown so much in the last few weeks. Lunch was provided for us and with such favourable weather we were able to take it out onto the picnic tables. It was much less crowded and more comfortable than it would have been for a couple of dozen in the cabin. A convoy of vehicles transported us, most in the trailer behind Chris’ van, for our next task. Our Brunner Mond partners were shocked as we turned off Marbury Lane and into the Household Waste Site, but they were obviously relieved when the entrance road also led to Carey Park.


We walked across the fields to do some hedge-laying. Unfortunately the cattle like to walk alongside fences and hedges and leave their messy trail for us to tip-toe around or through. In spite of this we all had a go at hedge-laying with the expert advice and supervision of the rangers.



8th Ian, Diana, yet another Chris, Jim and I met Dave by the fishing pond car park at Anderton. We walked through to the wooded area to plant bluebells and wood anemones. It was difficult to dig in the ‘soil’, but there was plenty of moss and leaf litter to provide the depth of cover needed. The anemone rhizomes were tiny strands that were tangled together. It didn’t take us long to plant them and the 250 bluebell bulbs. Dave, meanwhile, was loading the trailer with hardcore from the anglers’ car park. tottingAll of us then made our way to Haydn’s Pool to put that first load of hardcore at the back of the sand martin wall. Back in March the brash had only made a temporary bank and most of that was removed last week. We began to pick over the pile tipped from the trailer to build an embankment of rubble. With a break for lunch Dave collected a further three loads for us to climb over and toss the assortment of bricks onto the bank. Surprisingly we found four toads alive and well amongst the rubble. They were probably looking for hibernation sites.

14th Jim and I helped Alan G with the first bird food distribution of the autumn. We made the feeders more accessible, clearing the brambles and nettles etc.

A pile of timber was accumulating at the burning site following fence removal at Carey Park. Whilst Peter took Diana and Ian to fetch loads more, I was left to build a bonfire; who else? It took a while to get the fire going, not being used to operating a cigarette lighter, but then the temperature rose rapidly as the fire took hold. By the end of the day a pile of hot ash remained, but then Peter, Diana and Ian arrived with another trailer load.

 15th Jim and I lit another bonfire to dispose of the last load of timber from Carey Park.flaring

The rhododendron clearance season is with us again. Six of us went to Big Wood with Chris, but we have to look for patches of rhododendron now. We settled in the area near the top of the path down to Forge Brook. We soon had a fire with the leaves flaring up every so often.

Deep ploughing

Deep ploughing


 19th Not a volunteer day, but Jim and I couldn’t resist going to see the deep ploughing in the field next to the scrape. Photographers were out in force to record the event. It was impressive, a giant tractor with tracks, not wheels, towing an enormous plough, which cut through the ground like butter, bringing the subsoil clay to the surface.

 21st Nuthatches and tits arrived immediately after Jim had topped up the bird feeders at the Woodland Hide. More food had been taken from there than from the Mere Hide.Ray We walked up to join the other six volunteers on the recently ploughed field by the burning site. The deep ploughing on this area had brought the remains of earlier structures to the surface. There were bricks, slabs of concrete and assorted stones and ironwork. Fortunately Chris was able to get onto the field with the tractor, so the stuff only had to be manoeuvred into the bucket. It was difficult, however, to walk over the ground as the furrows were a metre deep and the subsoil brought to the surface was clay, which stuck to our boots to make platform soles. It took all morning to complete the job. Someone suggested that we resembled a prison chain gang. P1020241Chris deposited a huge pile of rubble in the yard, which may be useful at the Sand Martin Bank. I fear that many more stones may appear when the ground is disturbed again in preparation for sowing wild flower seeds. I escaped further heavy work in the afternoon by accompanying Joanne and Frances to Castle Park Arts Centre, Frodsham, to take down the Photographic Exhibition. Judging by the number of leaflets etc taken, at least 150 people must have visited.

 29th There were only three of us to work with Dave at Anderton. Dave took the tractor with the chipper; Ian drove the van with the trailer containing all the equipment, leaving Jim and me in our car. beforeWe parked up where the coaches are usually left and donned the high viz jackets before coning off the area. I protested at the mention of ‘Men At Work’ signs, but they do not actually specify gender, so I agreed to continue. Dave got kitted out in his protective garb and started up the chain saw. Gloves, helmets with visors and ear protectors were essential safety wear for us. men at workWe didn’t have to stand still for many minutes before Dave had cut back enough branches for us to begin dragging them to the chipper for treatment. The field maple, dogwood and willow had grown so as to completely shade out one of the lights and were beginning to encroach on the parking area. Dave remarked that the trees had only just been planted when he started working on the site and the Anderton Boat Lift could clearly be seen. Now it can only be glimpsed through the trees when the leaves have fallen. It took us all morning to achieve Dave’s target in that area.

Simon joined us for lunch and then demonstrated his skill in manoeuvring the tractor in the yard by loading the charcoal burner onto the large trailer with some man-handling (and even woman-handling) assistance. The kiln and its accessories are being loaned out for the weekend. Dave, Ian, Jim and I returned to Anderton car park. It was more of the same, but we moved a few yards nearer to the canal, where Dave put his saw to the regrowth on the willows that he had pollarded last year. All was going well until the chipper became jammed with the strips of young willow. There was no alternative but to dismantle it. Ian was sent for a set of spanners, but there was no rest for Jim and me as the branches could still be dragged to lie alongside the chipper in readiness for its repair. Steph arrived to help us finish the job. It’s the first time I can remember completing the work Dave had planned for the day.

FoAM’s new website launched

Welcome to our new website where you can find out all about the Friends of Anderton and Marbury (FoAM).  We hope you like it.

You will still be able to find FoAM on the Northwich Woodlands website, where there is more information about the woodlands and details of all the other activities and events taking place there.

Autumn 2009 Newsletter

The autumn edition of FoAM’s newsletter is now issued.