Thursday 27th September 2012 saw our 19th work day on the Devonport Leat project. My previous blog entry was on 6th Sept. when I apologised for recently showing only photographs of the volunteers sitting around at lunch-time – this being because we are too busy to take photos at other times. I made up for this today, making a lightning-quick tour of the work site with my camera, starting with Nigel cutting rhododendron …..

Nigel cutting rhodoendron

Nigel sawing rhododendron on Devonport Leat

Our work today saw us encounter two large rhododendron bushes, as well as other twiggy young trees. The major cutting is done by trained chainsaw operators …..

Roger dealing with troublesome rhododendron

Roger dealing with troublesome rhododendron.

The most efficient way of dealing with scrub growth and crowded, straggly trees that are a nuisance to their neighbours is to use a chainsaw and give the trees that are left a better chance of growing into more attractive and better shaped specimens …..

Rhodoendron ponticum meets chainsaw - I thought the sawdust would look good, but its not brilliant! It should have been flash or a faster shutter speed.

Rhododendron ponticum meets chainsaw – I thought the sawdust would look good, but its not brilliant!
It should have been ‘flash’ or a faster shutter speed.

As always, I want to thank all our volunteers who ‘turned out’ today – and what a good day it was, too? Dry, bright and a little breeze although the breeze could have been stronger for cooling as far as I was concerned. It is a case of “perspirati0n unlimited” under the hard hat, sometimes! Anyway, my usual huge “Thank you” to Barbara & Roger, Bill, Bob, Chris, Clifton, Derek, Elaine & John, Helen, John & Rachel, Mally, Nigel & Stephanie, Sylvia, Val and Stella, with myself making 19 volunteers  in total.

So what does the leat look like these days? …..

John (behind), Chris and Clifton

John (behind), Chris and Clifton in a cleared section of the leat.

The photograph above shows John (behind), Chris and Clifton standing in a cleared and tidied section of the leat. Not all the large trees are being cleared away.

Clearing away some of the smaller cuttings.

Helen, Stephanie and Val clearing away some of the smaller cuttings.

Sylvia,Bob and Elaine - all experts on the loppers!

Sylvia, Bob and Elaine – all experts on the loppers!

Stella – busy with the loppers.

Clifton (behind) and John, with bow saws.

A special “Thank you” to Rachel for bringing the cake, with a choice of chocolate and walnut or lemon drizzle – it is worth being a volunteer for that alone!

For a change, the photographs can do the talking, I often find it hard to say something new about what we are doing. What I must do soon is to work out distances and how far we have cleared and how far we have to do. That is always of interest. There was discussion today about how the leat will look in the next few years, whether or not there is a good seed bank  in the ground ready for wild flowers to appear in the more open areas etc.

While we were clearing away the tools, before leaving for the day, one of the residents came along and had a chat, saying that he thought we were doing excellent work and that he thought it was about time that somebody did something before the leat really gets overgrown. I appreciated that!

After a hard day’s work ……….

Our final photograph can also do the talking – taken inside The Rock Inn, Yelverton, where most of us gather to regain our strength and sanity before going our separate ways.

Volunteers are always needed and if you think you could do what you see being done in the photos above (and I don’t mean just the last photograph!) then why not telephone the DPA on 01822 890 646 or contact us by email or by snailmail?