We are continually striving to make the Nature Reserve a more interesting place for the local community.
We have further projects planned for the future – so we need your help!
New Pond Dipping Platform
Our old pond dipping platform, which we built in 2010, was beginning to show its age! It was also not big enough for our community group visits and so we decided to construct a new platform. This project commenced on the 1st of November 2022 when the old platform was removed, and the site prepared for the construction of the new platform to be made from recycled plastic. Construction started at the beginning of February 2023 and completed by the end of the month. Photographs showing the progression of the project to completion are included below.
The embankment at the edge of the main pond required reinforcement and the wooden railings running along the top of the embankment, which were installed over 10 years ago, needed to be replaced. This was a major project for the group in terms of complexity, cost and the number of volunteer hours required to complete the work. In October 2021 we applied to Chelmsford City Council for a grant under the Greener Chelmsford scheme to pay for the materials and this application was successful. The work was conducted by a team of volunteers supported by Chelmsford City Council Parks Department in weekly sessions running from January 2022 to March 2022. The main stages to complete the project were: to shape the embankment, create a solid base, lay membrane and a base layer of crushed concrete. 500 soil and gravel filled bags were then laid to restore the embankment edge. The first 2 layers are gravel filled bags (the black bags in the photograph below) and the remaining layers (green bags) are pre-seeded with plant seeds to provide a natural looking embankment to the pond once fully established. To complete the work new railings made of recycled plastic were installed along the embankment edge.
Click to enlarge
We worked with Mike Barter, a local Artist and Sculptor who carved 4 beautiful oak sign posts for the site. These show the name of each area of the site and feature the wildlife on the reserve. The reverse of the sign post has a design which can be ‘rubbed’ with crayons, and other information about the wildlife featured on the post. We hope to involve one of our community groups who volunteer on a regular basis in working with Mike on a future sculpture project, possibly designing a bench or creating other natural features on the nature reserve. The posts were installed in November 2016 and January 2017. Funding for this project came from a legacy left by one of our early supporters.
We began building the ‘living’ Willow Dome in January 2013 using willow branches cut from the willow arch, constructed in January 2009. Two of our local community groups of Girl Guides are regularly working on this project.
New Bug Hotel
The old bug hotel was built in January 2010 and the bugs definitely needed a new home. This project was completed by the Guides and other young volunteers in 2016. The new hotel is a bigger structure and has a green roof with plants to attract insects and make the bug hotel interesting to look at. We managed to re-cycle most of the old hotel into the new hotel, and make additional layers to attract more wildlife. thanks to all who donated broken plant pots, shells, collected fir cones etc.