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Newbury and Thatcham Green Gym
Monday, 15th September 2014
Cold Ash Community Orchard ~ Pond maintenance

Oh what joy! To have a whole morning in which to play in a stream and pond, to be able to return home splattered with mud and be able to justifiably claim it was all for nature's benefit! Such was Newbury and Thatcham Green Gym’s good fortune when they visited the community orchard at Cold Ash where they had been asked to clear vegetation which was choking the pond and stream to be found in the woodland adjoining to the orchard.

When to maintain a wildlife pond seems to be a question with no right answer for autumn and winter are best avoided so as not to disturb the creatures which take refuge there whilst the breeding season make spring and summer equally problematic. September or thereabouts appears the best compromise.

The vegetation was loosened using forks and spades and then dragged on to the bank where it was left allowing any creatures it might contain a chance to crawl back to the pond.

Judith sets off in search of Himalayan balsam which was still flowering around the pond while Chaos looks on.

Progress! An area of open if not clear water.

Oh dear, look what's just popped out of the undergrowth!

It gets worse!

Thank goodness, back to something more serious.

Not again!

The balsam harvest seems also to be going well.

(Himalayan balsam is an invasive non-native species which thrives in wetland areas and along river banks smothering the native plants.)

Oonagh continues in her attempts at conducting an unseen and it must be admitted, unheard chorus of frogs.

In addition to working on the pond and surrounding area, we also cleared some of the debris from the stream which flows out of the pond.

End of task and both pond and stream are much clearer.

An area of open water which had previously been covered with vegetation and would ultimately have resulted in the pond being filled with silt.

Not a pretty sight but we promise it will recover.

Our thanks to all who helped, Dorothy, Helena, Nadia, Judith, Denise, both Barry's, Toby and Chaos as well as Cathy who yet again successfully hide behind the camera, to Alan for a rare appearance although possibly not rare enough and to Oonagh for all those words of encouragement (we hope her meeting was worth not getting dirty for).

Created: Saturday, 20th September 2014
Photographs: Cathy Holwill