© Andrew Moon

Another big party, 18 in all. The ‘Brading Effect’ is still working, although Emma herself was in India for a few weeks.

We started a big job on the canal side of the reserve. The aim is to layer the hawthorn hedge we planted some years ago (some 400 metres!), but first we have to clear some of the brambles which have grown up on the canal side of the fence (which we paid for), so that we can get at the hawthorn and also to let sunlight to reach the hedge.

Whilst Dawn Goodair and Jack Westbrook did some layering (continuing the job they started last year), Tony and Sheila Lee cleared up the rubbish discarded by the Great British Public on the towpath and the reserve, and the rest of us started clearing the brambles. This left us with 4 huge building sacks of brambles and rubbish which present a disposal problem which is Ian Watson’s problem.

Many thanks to all who attended; Len Carter, Nigel Daley, Ken Davies, Phillip and Julia Davies, Peter Ewer, Dawn Goodair, Paul Knutson, Ray Kristofiak, Tony and Sheila Lee, Eileen Petch, Andy Schofield, Bob Sherin, Paul and James Sumner, Ian Watson and Jack Westbrook.

Ian Watson

Wow! And what a party! 20 turned up, the largest work party since we did haymaking on the riverside meadows 15 years ago. It must be the ‘Brading’ Effect’ because since Emma took over as our volunteers organiser, the two work parties have been really large. Well done Emma!

The difficulty of course is finding work for 20 people in more or less the same area (so that we can convene easily for coffee and excellent biscuits). However, we managed. We cleared the alder saplings which had taken over the second pond by the boardwalk; we used a pile of stones left by the Trust to fill in a puddle and patches on our paths. (The Trust has been doing wonderful work in creating kingfisher nests - as featured on BBC Countryfile); We tidied up some timber left by the Trust – kept the good stuff and chucked the rubbish; cut back the hazel but kept the withy thus produced ( useful when we get down to layering – which Rob Hopkins at the Trust has agreed to teach us at our next work party on December 3rd).

Good work by Emma Brading, Nigel Daley, Ken Davies, Julia and Phil Davies, Milesh Dodhia, Peter Ewer*, Evelyn Fox, Dawn Goodair, Helen Harbrow, Marcus King, Tony and Sheila Lee, Eileen Petch, Andy Schofield, Bob Sherin*, Paul and James Sumner*, Jay Vala* and Ian Watson.    * New workers who are most welcome!

Ian Watson

Rain threatened, but never came, but the volunteers did.  The largest work party for some time. Luckily there was plenty of work for all in more or less the same part of the reserve by Stocker’s House. I say luckily because it is sometimes difficult to find work for everyone in the same area.

We cleared the alder saplings away from the larger pond by the wooden broadwalk. Which were turning the pond into woodland; we cleared a path behind the hedge at the entrance to the reserve, so that we could layer the hedge when needed; we then removed undergrowth in the small copse we planted years ago by the lockkeeper’s cottage as the undergrowth was stifling some of the smaller trees.

Our usual high standard of catering was maintained with Jammy Dodgers, Hobnobs and delicious chocolate gingernuts. Plus, tea and coffee.

Our thanks to Nigel Daley, Ken Davies (good to see you again), Emma Brading, Milesh Dodia, Helen Harbrow, Paul Knutson, Tim Lawrence, Sheila and Tony Lee, David Neal, Eileen Petch, Ian Watson, Jack Westbrook, Dominic Wilson. And a special welcome to newcomers, Milesh, Tim, David and Dominic.

Emma Brading

For the first work party of the new season we welcomed two new workers- Eileen Patch and Helen Harbrow. We began the job of clearing a path through undergrowth to make way for cattle fencing in the meadows between the lake and the River Colne.

Also in attendance were Nigel Daley, Evelyn Fox, Andy Schofield, Ian Watson and Jack Westbrook.

Ian Watson

We have had two successful recruitment day campaigns in 2017 - Sunday 21st May and Sunday 24th September. Many thanks to Ian, Paul, Dick, Evelyn, Sheila and Tony for giving up part of their Sunday on one or both of these days to not just help increase our membership but also raise the profile of what we do. Over the two Sundays, we recruited just short of 50 new FoSL members and of course, a big welcome to all. We shall be continuing to recruit during the Sunday work party sessions over the coming year.

Nigel Daley

Prospects didn’t look good for the last Sunday work party of the season. It was cold, rainy, and overcast.  I didn’t expect anyone to turn up, but went to the meeting place, just in case.

To my surprise, Jack Westbrook arrived though the weather was still miserable.  Then Dawn Goodair turned up and miraculously the weather changed.  The sun came out and the sky turned blue.  Clearly it was the ‘Dawn Effect’. So we decided to repair the field gate in the fishermen’s car park, give the flooded kissing gate entrance a firmer footing and use old corrugated iron to inhibit growth around the alder saplings we had previously planted in the Margaret Partridge plot. (They will be useful as refuges for snakes, small animals and who knows what!)

But we were shocked to see that the bank protection installed by our country management company had been deliberately destroyed. We are pretty certain we know who did this and I will be taking this up with the parties concerned.  Finally, we have now managed to get Hillingdon Council to take away the large pile of asbestos which we collected when we removed the remains of the old hen and pig houses from the plot. Emma Brading, a new member, was also one of our party.

Ian Watson