Saturday, 21 January 2017

Gabions finished, Bags of Help Bags of aches

While we still had the rubble chutes on hire, we were joined again by Brian and Phil, with Richard and Stella. The pile had hugely decreased from before the Tuesday, but there was an awful lot of loose material. One of us broke up the pile to get at the stone, while two filled the barrows.
The above pictures show us some of the process involved; filling up the barrow from the pile, unloading them at the top of the chute and waiting for the order to throw the stones down the chute before they are unloaded.
Here is the pile of stones before the WG event (left), before the Group's follow up event (middle) and after the event (right). Most of what remains is small stones to dust.
This is the view of the gabions from the path. We have left the stones up the bank to try and stabilise any further erosion and it makes the footpath feel much safer. We think probably 26 tonnes of limestone have been moved during this project and all of it by hand and by volunteers. It feels and looks an amazing achievement. We know loads of little critters use the gaps in between the stones for shelter, so it'll be great to see if we get any crayfish along this stretch.
As we know, this massive erosion all started with a little trickle, which widened and widened after the massive rainfalls we'd had over previous years. Our attempts to limit this with willow bundles was only ever a temporary measure and with Bags of Help funding through Tesco and help from Keep Wales Tidy with Business volunteers has allowed this fantastic transformation. It is fair to say, that it would have been easier and quicker to have done this with heavy machinery, but what new erosion damage could have been caused by these vehicles and what damage have we prevented by doing it carefully by hand. Time to relax, but we have bird boxes to put up before nesting and a few apple trees in the orchard to replace. One victory at a time.

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