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News from the restoration sites


18 2017

By David Verrall

On Sunday 13th August, I visited several of the canal sites in Surrey.

Construction work at Compasses Bridge has only recently been completed, so it was good to see several species of wildlife here. There were Common Darter (see photo), Southern Hawker & Brown Hawker dragonflies, Common Blue damselflies, Red Admiral & Small White butterflies.

At Tickners Heath, I saw a Common Blue (see photo) and several Speckled Wood butterflies. I was pleasantly surprised to see a Kingfisher and Grey Heron, unfortunately they flew away before I was able to take a photo.

At Gosden Aqueduct I saw a Male Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly (see photo).

At Hunt Nature Park, on Cranleigh Waters there was a Mute Swan. There were Banded Demoiselle damselflies on the water lilies. Several Speckled Wood butterflies were seen. On a visit to the Park two weeks earlier, there was a Mallard and six ducklings. Unfortunately I did not see them this time. I also saw a Common Frog.

More wildlife photos and information




Tagged under Wildlife


5 2017

By Sally Schupke

Our Northern Working Party were on site over the weekend of 9 -12 June when 21 volunteers (spread over the four days) set about installing the bank protection over three separate lengths of Cranleigh Waters. The logistics for the event were difficult. With no secure site compound to deliver materials to, all the specialist materials (coir rolls and mats, gabion wire etc) had to be left at elsewhere and Dave Evans had to build an artificial pond to keep them from  perishing before arrival at Shalford.

Then on the first day, about half the materials plus the Trust's dumper, small excavator and log trailer had to be transported to Hunt Park - not to mention the aquadocks and shower caravan! On arrival, a further 30 tons of gabion stone and 20 tons of top soil had to be moved so it was not surprising therefore that we probably spent about 1½ days out of the four moving materials and kit back and forth, thus reducing our ability to complete the ambitious task list. There were two types of bank protection to install. One section involved driving a parallel row of short timber poles into the edge of the river, wiring them up and placing coir rolls on top. The bank was then protected with matting. There were problems with this as the poles disappeared very fast down into the alluvial river bed. So an amendment to the scheme had to be devised. The solution was to re-profile the bank using the excavator so that the piles had something firmer into which they could be driven. The change in plan was successful and we managed to complete the section by the end of day 2, although without the layer of top soil under the mat which was detailed on some plans but not ours (helpfully!).

The second and longest part involved a curving length of the river bank further south (close to the viewing platform) with a much higher bank. Here we had to drive longer poles into the river edge using the aquadocks to position them and the digger to push them in. Thick oak timber wailings were then screwed to the poles using timber coach bolts. Behind the wailings, gabion wire mesh was attached and filled with stone to hold it down against the poles. Coir rolls (with ready planted water based plants) were then placed on top of the wailings with top soil behind. This took us until mid Monday morning to complete. It was only half the job as a second upper level row of the protection is required along the top, close to the park footpath, which is what all this is designed to protect.

Section 3 is a short 9m section adjacent to the small footbridge. Our attempts to drive the timber posts as per section 2 were thwarted by the presence of underwater rocks and we abandoned any further work pending a reconsideration of the design.  Another weekend is needed to finish the task along with a re-design of section 3.


Bill Nicholson


23 2017

By Sally Schupke

With our usual impeccable timing, this week's schedule was to coppice the willow bed in the Park, and as it turned out, we were trying to roll out a carpet of weed-suppressant material with storm Doris raging over our heads. Having secured one end it soon unravelled and flew away every time we tried to pin it down. At last the task was achieved and we moved on to the coppicing work. If anyone would like a bundle of willow please let the northern office know on It has to be said that the lime green coloured variety is the most attractive.


15 2017

By Sally Schupke

A huge effort by our volunteers today in planting a very long hedge to mark the park's boundary on the Bramley side. Mike was very chuffed with all the hard work by our Mid Week Working Party.

We have now planted some 2500 saplings, so far, which has created over 700 metres of new hedge which is in " double rows ". Much better for nesting birds and wildlife in general.

Some of the trees and plants are :

Hazel, Field Maple, Blackthorn, Wayfarer Tree, Spindle, Yew, Black Poplar, White Poplar, Rowan, Crab Apple, Service Tree, Honeysuckle, Hornbeam, Whitebeam, Willow (Osier), Guelder Rose, Wild Garlic, Cowslips.

We were also delighted to see that our local frogs and toads are on the move getting ready to start breeding.


2 2017

By Sally Schupke

I blame the publicity department: no sooner have you put up a new poster then they come along and give you another one. This week we walked the bounds in the pouring rain, noticing for the first time that the ivy on the footbridge is growing nicely (so beneficial to bees and birds) and is beginning to outgrow its posts. The rabbits have eaten most, but a “Golden Heart” is growing steadily – so they obviously don’t like the flavour of that one. The water level in Cranleigh Waters was well up, and the flow quite strong. Will we get some flooding this year?


25 2016

By Sally Schupke

It was a busy day in Hunt Park for the regular members of the team. During the morning we set off for the Osier bed in the park with the intention of extending it to allow for a further row of willows. The photo shows 2 members of the team reinstating the plastic mesh to protect the new plants from deer, and then chicken wire - not to ward off chickens (a species we have yet to see in Hunt Park) but the pesky rabbits. Late morning it was back to the compound to continue clearance work ready for the hoarding to be removed and the site returned to its original state. We stopped for a quick refreshment break - well two actually. The first was a small amount of mulled wine, and then later on tea and shortbread biscuits.


8 2016

By Sally Schupke

The Trust owns two working platforms at Gun's Mouth Island and each year (before winter sets in and the flooding along the River Wey) the Hunt Park team need to pump out the bilges. The first platform was completed the other week, and a bit of a tidy-up around the landing stage on Gun's Mouth in readiness for a visit from Simon Jones Associates to do a tree survey. Last week's icy weather made it too dangerous for us to venture out in the workboat to pump out the other one, so we tidied up the viewing platform instead.

But this week we were on track to finish this seasonal chore and we launched the boat, donned life jackets, collected the paddles, heaved the pump into the boat and set off for the island. When we got to the platform we found it very low in the water and in danger of sinking. With his usual lightness of foot, Mike stepped onto the platform, lifted out the pump and unwound the hoses..... only to find that "someone" had left the essential handle back at the stores. It took us all morning to complete the job and it was only the thought of a nice cup of tea that kept us going.

Next weekend we welcome back our friends WRG Forestry for more tree work along the railway track in Bramley towards Tannery roving bridge and we hope that they will be able to remove the fallen tree in Cranleigh Waters in the park.

Tagged under Gun's Mouth


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