The Thaw Sets In

Tuesday, January 23rd 2018

The rise in temperature over the last 24 hours meant that the snow that had been lying thickly around the Reserve had disappeared from large parts of it at the start of this morning.  The moorland had lost its white covering and had instead become very wet as the water started to run off.  This was a day for the Volunteers to start on a number of small tasks dealing with the aftermath of the snow.

With much of the water running across paths on the moorland and middle moor, the first task of the day was to dig out the small ditches alongside them to take the water away into the drainage system.  Thanks to both the Volunteers and the group from the Dales School who helped with this.  Once this had been done, it was amazing to see just how much water was rushing off these areas.

The opposite was true elsewhere. The Vole Ponds were clearly not getting enough water to feed them and the level in the top pond had fallen to expose the vegetation and silt.  The inlet that feeds the ponds had become blocked with the large number of leaves washed down with the melting snow, not a difficult problem to solve, but needing both removal of leaves and digging out of some sediment that was blocking the lower half of the inlet pipe and restricting the flow.

Meanwhile, back on the Moorland there was also a chance to do some final work on the path resurfacing of the last few weeks, with an area that needed to be smoothed out being raked and compacted into place.

The snow had also left its mark on some of the young trees.  A group of recently planted pines needed to be restaked as they had been weighed down by the snow.

Unfortunately, we have had a couple of these trees that have been too badly damaged, including one that has been completely ring -barked by deer.  This means that the tree will not be able to supply sap and nutrient above the point where the bark has been stripped off, and so will have to be replaced.  But, apart from that, this was a day of hard work that completed lots of small but very necessary jobs.

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