A new venue, and a new task, but the same old gutsy determination from our volunteers was evident on Saturday as the ditches at Tolworth Court sportsground were given a new lease of life.
|George puts his back into it, digging down to find the watercourse|
A legacy of past use as farmland - the ditches at Tolworth Court are traditional drainage channels. Over the years they have become silted up, overgrown and full of leaves. Frequent management of the hedgerows (often growing beside the ditches) with a flail kept this in check to some extent, but in order to improve provision for wildlife, hedge cutting is being scaled back at the site. This will allow hedgerow fruits and berries to develop and remain available to birds and mammals for longer, but it also means the ditches will not function so well. This is where our volunteers step in!
|Overgrown, silted up and full of leaves - volunteers had a big task on their hands|
|Common reed standing tall in the winter sun|
So with excellent leadership and instruction from TCV, plus the moral-boosting sun on our backs we got stuck in. On first inspection, the ditch appeared very dry, but once we got our spades in there we soon found the water underneath.
|Digging a ditch in the sunshine - not a bad way to spend a Saturday|
|Roger cut away overgrown brambles and scrub|
|Wellies proved a good choice as we discovered quite a depth of water once the ditch was clear|
|Barrowfulls of leaves removed from the ditch|
|Lunch with a view|
Lunch was an entertaining affair, sat on the pavillion terrace overlooking the football pitches. A match had just begun so we cheered on the whites and stripes as we tucked into our hot paninis.
|The ditch is revealed!|
|Spring bulbs will make a colourful welcome to the site in Spring|
|Volunteers squirrelled away the crocus bulbs under the oak trees|
Of course there are plenty of ditches still to be cleared at the site and we'll be returning on January 11th to continue our good work - why not join us, discover the sportsground, watch some footie and help our local wildlife thrive?!