Fixing the dam

The dam at the downstream end of the big pond has been leaking.

In the floods of January 2021, the water bored holes through the earth embankments on each side of the dam and this past winter the dam has leaked through several holes in the wooden barrier.

Left: the floods of 2021 broke through the earth banks on each side of the dam.
Right: this winter and spring the wooden barrier has leaked badly.

The summer’s drought has dried up the feeder stream completely, which has given us the opportunity to repair the dam without having to drain the pond first. The Countryside Team has ordered up contractors to come in at the beginning of August to rebuild the dam, which left last week’s Wednesday work-party, working in two teams, with the job of clearing the decks in preparation.

Because the exposed silt and mud around the edges of the pond were firm enough to stand on, Team A was able to clear the vegetation around the dam while Team B tackled the hedge by the hard path.

Top row: the water level has fallen, exposing firm silt and mud around the work area.
Bottom row: before and after hedge trimming by Team B.

Team B also took advantage of the low water level to cut back the hedge on the pond side. Hedge trimming done, they moved on towards the decorated bridge, blocking the gaps that visiting dogs make. There are water voles, a protected species, living and breeding in that stretch of the stream, and we do as much as we can to minimise disturbance to their habitat.

A hard morning’s work for everybody.

It was a hard morning’s work and everybody felt they had earned their pond-side coffee break with home-made courgette cake. The site is now cleared, ready for the contractors, and while we are praying for rain to relieve the pressure on the reserve’s wildlife, please can it wait until after the dam has been fixed.

Header image: fixing the dam (SCPLNR 27.07.22) by Philip Knight

6 thoughts on “Fixing the dam

  1. What a team! The Friends of Southwick Country Park Local Nature Reserve volunteers have once again proved that their hard work and commitment helps to keep the Park a good place for people and wildlife to blend together. We would ask all users of the Park to support the meaning of a Local Nature Reserve by following the Country Code within the 150 acres of free to use, but not abuse, Country Park.

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