Last week, Frank Lamerton and Pete White, both FoSCP volunteers and parkrunners, dug channels to clear the floodwater from the central path between the decorated bridge and the big pond, the first area to flood every winter and the last to drain.
The channels worked beautifully and Southwick Country parkrun was very pleased with Frank and Pete, declaring them heroes. But this week, Ian spotted a problem:
… when checking the flooding, I saw the work that Frank and Peter W had done – excellent stuff to keep the feet of the park runners dry but has had the effect of opening up the Water Vole and Water Shrew sanctuary. Our priority for this weeks’ working party is to form barricades to deter dogs from entering that part of the stream.
So, this week’s Wednesday work party built barriers of brush (called dead hedges) above the two drainage channels. We always try to make it as difficult as possible for dogs to get into this part of the stream because it is here that water voles and water shrews live in the banks.
Water voles are a priority conservation species and it is an offence to disturb them or their habitat. It’s actually an offence to let your dog disturb them, too, so if you know that your dog rushes through this part of the stream or digs here in the banks, be aware it is committing an offence for which you might have to face an unlimited fine and/or six months in jail.
Go safely; tread carefully around the floodwater, the ice, and the traps laid for the unwary by the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.