In July and August 2014 volunteers from Ashtead Common and the Environment Agency joined our own small band of volunteers to clear the main culvert that runs from ashtead Woods Road to the Rye Brook. In addition they installed a new seat by the wooden bridge and cleared huge amounts of scrub from the banks. The main footpath was also improved by the addition of more hardcore.
Many thanks to all those who came along to help.
Volunteers from the Lower Mole Countryside Trust assisted by own own volunteers visited Rye Meadows on Tuesday to Thursday 7th to 9th October 2014 to clear blackthorn and hawthorn from the banks of the Rye Brook. Bramble and other scrub was also removed to let more light into the Brook.
Local birdlife obviously approved of the work as we saw a kingfisher exploring the stream now open for his fishing rights!
The photographs show the volunteers hard at work clearing the banks. Established trees were left in place and some coppicing took place where re-growth will occur over the next few years.
NCS The Challenge is an organisation which aims to bring together young people from all different backgrounds in a common purpose. Offering new experiences it gives them the chance to take on new challenges, learn new skills and meet new people. This helps discover their own talents and realise their potential whilst having fun.
10 young people came to assist us at Rye Meadows spending 4 hours cutting back the invasive blackthorn to let more light into the Rye Brook. They all worked exceptionally hard and all seemed to have a good time.
We hope to welcome "The Challenge" back next year with a new group of young people.
Our Estate Manager, Robert, has spent two weeks using a JCB and Dumper kindly donated by A-Plant to reshape some of the south bank to lower the bank and form some scrapes. In addition he has created a shelf alongside the stream where we will plant water loving plants.
Hay making on a sunny August day. These are the meadows in the sunshine with the new ponds filled despite the hot dry weather.
The Community Foundation for Surrey awarded us a generous grant to construct a large pond and scrapes in the field that has now been designated as a Centenary Field under Fields In Trust. Thanks to this generosity we were able to survey, plan and ultimately construct the pond and scrapes all sanctioned by the Environment Agency who recognised the flood alleviation this scheme would bring downstream.
Following Planning Permission granted by MVDC in 2015 work commenced on 1st April 2016 but was quickly halted by the wettest Spring weather for many years. Although we wanted to create a wetland we didn't quite want it before we started moving several tonnes of spoil off the site!
As a consequence work had to stop for a while. Even when we did continue we could only drag the spoil into a huge mound until the ground dried sufficiently to enable the large heavy dumper to move the it through Fraudings field into Jack Adams field so the grab lorry could take it away.
Thanks to the generosity of our sponsor, A Plant, we were able to keep the heavy plant on site and use it whenever the weather permitted. The pictures show the project from start with the mowed field to the end with the pond and scrapes already filled with groundwater.
Whilst excavating the ground, clay drainage pipes were discovered. These must have been installed many years ago as we were unaware of their exitence until work started. On the advice of an expert the pipes were broken up and a long deep trench dug between the pond and scrapes and the brook itself. This trench was then back filled with heavy compacted clay forming a natural barrier to the drainage. This allowed the natural groundwater to rise filling the pond and scrapes. The result was almost instant, and overnight the pond and scrapes filled.
The major ground work is now complete, but there is still some landscaping work to carry out. Another grant from the Thomas Flack Trust Fund helped us reshape the banks in the area, widening the brook and creating a shelf for water based plant life to flourish.
Thames Water have also now granted us funds to construct a wooden walkway across the wetland which will be built in 2017 by the Lower Mole Conservation Group.
If seeing these pictures encourages you get involved with volunteering for Rye Meadows, contact us on email@example.com.
In October 2016 the Lower Mole Conservation Group came to complete the coppicing of the hedge from Bushey Shaw to Ashtead Woods Road, stopping at the new "Burnett" gate to what will be the workshop and yard for Rye Meadows. They came on three days and coppiced the existing overgrown old hedge, planting new hedging in the gaps, and leaving some Ash and Field Maple trees to break up the hedge.
The photos show the work in progress and completed plus show the lower section that was similarly coppiced in 2015. It is astounding how much the hedge has regrown in just 12 months. Once both sections have become established, the 'Moles' will return to lay the hedge, returning it to its state as would have been when the fields were commercially grazed by the farmer.