Following some hard work already done by our small but dedicated maintenance team I am pleased to now be involved with making some improvements to the site surrounding Grimsditch Mill Pool. I have discussed my ideas with our club secretary and a couple of the lads already involved with many varied improvements on several waters, so its now time to get busy!
Whilst there are plans to improve structural aspects like the pegs and pathways there is also a desire to regenerate and enhance the site for the benefit of those using the pool. The idea is to create a more diverse habitat for all kinds of wildlife by introducing several species of native trees, shrubs and other plants. This will be a truly stunning place to be in the not so distant future I’m sure of that.
The work already done by the team has been mostly tree work as far as I can make out which has opened up the area allowing a better flow of air through the site which will help maintain good water quality and allow more light to penetrate too, but it is still basically a woodland setting.
As you can see there are still a few trees on the large island, others have been coppiced (pruned to near ground level) which will encourage vigorous and multi-stemmed growth come the growing season. This new growth may not necessarily be wanted but we’ll see, the plan here however is to introduce a few native shrubs and some native evergreen tuft forming grass plants (which will self seed).
What remains at the site now is a collection of mature trees some of which won’t last for too many more years. Whats missing is the understory level of young trees and shrubs.
Before any planting can be done around the pool there is a lot of brash and Brambles to be removed from the site which will not only allow us to see the soil level but will also allow any dormant wild flower seeds to germinate once the soil is exposed to the light.
A fair few piles of chippings here and there are to be used on the paths and pegs and some of the more composted stuff that’s been stood for longer will be used as a mulch around the new trees/shrubs.
There are some established cultivated ‘garden’ plants around the site some of which are to be tolerated and would benefit from being pruned like this Philadelphus (Mock Orange).
Others are just huge (Leyland conifers) and should really be felled or at least topped. One invasive shrub that will be dealt with is Symphoricarpos (Snowberry).
The only practical way to do this is to cut it down and treat with a systemic herbicide as it regrows and probably more than once too! The lads have done the first stage on this large clump of it.
Unfortunately these two areas will be a bit of an eyesore in the summer but its worth doing.
The plan is to pollard (same as coppicing but higher up) these Willows on the narrow island before they get too big which may seem and is brutal but its an age old tree management technique well suited to Willows which will allow easier maintenance every 2 years or so.
These trees will rapidly respond to this kind of treatment once spring arrives. Here’s an idea of how much growth to expect after just one year (this limb was cut by myself just last winter at Woodside Pool)
Some other tree work will be done I hope very soon by, I think, Scottish Power where there is a risk of damage to power lines. Other than that the only other tree work planned is to remove some weak trees overhanging the margins here where they will be casting unwanted shade onto the 3 shallow bays enabling us to introduce some carefully sourced marginal plants like Yellow Flag Iris.
Another job will be to remove a 1 metre section of Ivy from round the base of some large trees so it can then be removed once dead.
This next picture shows the bank that will be planted with various shrubs to provide a screen from the neighboring building.
Along the road side of the site is a part hedge mostly of a shrub that I will identify when in leaf!!
It would be good to continue this roadside screening with other suitable shrubs.
Plenty of room here for a tree or two to mature…
There are a few patches of established wild flowers around the pool although they don’t look like much now they are bound to thrive and spread around naturally and I’ll be very surprised if flowers like Foxgloves don’t start to appear too.
Meadowsweet. (Like I said not much to look at now)
Right that’s enough of that! There are other little gems clinging on here and there and although I was thinking of introducing wild flowers I’m now going let mother nature show me what she can do.
So there’s lots to do and I am happy to surrender valuable fishing time to this project, however any help I can get with the preparation work on the first work party or two would be brilliant so that I can order the bare root plants and, of course, get them in the ground!
There are other details that I’ve not mentioned, but I will update this blog with the various stages of progress throughout the next year at least. I can’t wait to get stuck into this project and who knows, perhaps I can have some influence over some other neglected sites.
If you found all this boring I’d like to say well done for reading it anyway, and don’t read the next update it will be even more so I reckon!