Well, boys and girls of the DPA Conservation Team, I did a reconnaissance visit this morning (in the rain!) and the leat was flowing like a good ‘un! I have never seen so much water in this part of the leat and it was actually running towards Devonport!
The photo above shows the stretch where we were working last Friday and the leat appears to be quite full of water. I thought afterwards that I should have made a short ‘movie’ to prove the point but after I left “The Rock” (I went in there for some reason), I decided not go to back in that very heavy rain. I think the camera was relieved, too.
Last visit we cleared 123 metres. There are 125 metres remaining – within the accuracy limits of the GPS method of measuring. With good weather and a good turnout, we could finish the original project next Thursday!
The photo above shows where we will pick up the job – you can see some young trees growing in the water, they will be removed.
The brash or cuttings that result from our clearance activities are formed into tidy piles that are left to become new homes for insects as the vegetation and wood decay. The insects may provide food for birds that can be attracted into the area thereby supporting the biodiversity of the wood and surrounding landscape.
There are some areas where there is little to do (e.g. to the right in the photograph above), as on our previous visit, but there are also some quite overgrown areas that feature brambles. This area is near the main road and cars can be seen in the photograph above.
The area near the cyclists bridge (above) is also quite overgrown, again with brambles.
The bridge over the leat for cyclists (above) is near the A386, the fence at the side of the road can be seen in the background, on the left side of the photograph.
There is a side channel to the leat that runs under the main road, this is drainage from the old WW2 airfield, RAF Harrowbeer (see also the following photograph).
This photograph shows the main leat, with a lot of water, and the side channel on the left.
This final photograph shows our goal, the end of the leat, or, at least, the end of our project. The leat emerges from under the main road and this is as far as we can go with our conservation work. It seems amazing that the end-point is now in sight after my initial walk-through, looking at the work to be done back on 17th January 2011.