Yesterday we headed up for our first task at Darby Green Pond where we are working closely with Yateley Town Council and the BVC Trust to restore the pond and surrounding woodland. The historic pond was formed where the wet woodland stream was dammed by Darby Green Road. Our key priorities of the next three volunteer tasks are to; re-open up paths that have become blocked by fallen trees to improve visitor access, and start to remove invasive non-native weeds that have swamped the pond. The ecological survey we commissioned confirmed New Zealand Stonecrop (Crassula Helmsii) and Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), the latter which is the most immediate concern.
After putting the tea on, Stu, Charlotte and Paul headed off to clear some of the wind thrown trees, whilst John and Gerry cleared some bramble. Mike bravely donned the chest waders to join me in the pond raking out Parrot’s Feather. It was hard work with lots of trial and error to find the most efficient method of forking it up, which even when loaded on to our boat was surprisingly heavy. The weed forms a dense tangled mat around a foot thick so it’s a good challenge.
Our technique evolved into pulling off a tangle of weed with a chrome (beefy rake) and passing it back along the chain to the shore to drain off. Later on reinforcements appeared but bizarrely I only had a glorious pink life jacket left by the time Andrew arrived…..
The task went really well as I was surprised we managed to clear 20% of the Parrot’s Feather, an amazing effort. We’ll be heading back again on Thursday 8th December to cut back the paths, so if anyone would like to join us then please meet us in the Darby Green Centre Car Park at 10:15am. If you would like to find our more about this exciting project then please get in touch.