Nurturing a New Path at the Swan Lake Allotments

Last week Jenny, Andrew, the volunteers and I, finished off our project to lay a new path through the allotments. The old muddy central track was pot-holed, so it was good to be able to provide a new raised surface. Andrew and I popped down to take delivery of the first 20 tonnes of gravel, a spectacular sight until you realise it all needs to be moved.

We laid out weed-suppressing membrane along the 80m of track, and started barrowing the recycled hardcore material into place. We were lucky to have the help of 3 volunteers armed with wheelbarrows who did a fantastic job.

Laying terram material

By raking around the recycled material we covered up the rubbly patches with the dust fines to provide a more even surface. The rather bizarre sight of Phil hosing down the new track, was to reduce dust and help the surface bind when Andrew used the whacker plate.

Andrew tamping the surface

Watering the new path

Over the first two days we laid 40 tonne of material on the allotment path. After that we brought in our Kubota tractor to help us load our tipping trailer to lay a further 18 tonnes on the Swan Lake circular path. This was ideal to fill in the areas which were too wet to lay originally and to even out the dips. A huge thank you to the all the volunteers who joined us over the four day project, donating 14 volunteer days to help us.

Jenny tractor loading

Ranger Stuart


About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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