Some further improvements for Avondyke’s camping area

24th March 2015

Following some feedback from larger groups camping at Avondyke, the committee has been looking at how they might reduce the ‘water logging’ in some parts of the field.

Donald Cook, a member of the volunteer team who helps look after Avondyke explains what they’ve done.

Well the story here is an environmental project to help aid the drainage in the left-hand side of camping field at Avondyke. The project came about because at the tail end of last season and the early part of this season, a couple of larger groups who were camping had problems in the mid to lower half of the left field. Having had a look about the field, it would seem that there is an old drain near where the drinking water tap had been which had partially collapsed and the digging out of the field drain would be very time consuming and possibly costly.

The waterlogged soil has only been confined to this area of the field and was generally not noticeable unless a group are constantly walking over it and then we have some muddy Scouts. Wondering if anyone else had a solution, i remembered a similar issue at Hawkhirst whose challenge had arisen from tree felling at a nearby bit of the forest. So what do we do at Avondyke? Let’s plant some trees.

Following an application to The Woodland Trust and some advice from a friend that works for the Forestry Commission, a donation of a working wood pack was secured.

When the trees arrived, the Blackwood Scouts agreed that this would be a great new skill for the young people to learn. The Wednesday of that week they arrived at Avondyke, wellies at the ready.

Excited, they opened the packs and I explained what the other leaders were doing in the background was marking and measuring where our trees would go so that they could grow fully and that each marker spray dot was where a new tree should go. I then left it to James to explain how each each tree should be planted properly. Due to the really wet soil we would do ‘rounders.’ That consisted of creating a round of earth by digging a circle of earth and flipping it over on top of the grass then splitting the circular sod that had been dug to the depth of the tree root for planting packing with a little compost then fitting the protective tube and cane stake.

The young people really got stuck in, thoroughly enjoying getting their hands dirty taking turns both digging the rounders or planting the tree and setting the canes and protective tubes. They worked so hard even James was impressed saying they should be rented out for piece work as a planting squad for him!

The finished result?

Lots of newly planted trees, another 5 species for Avondyke, a drier camping field and possibly given time to grow another fun environment project as they grow big for groups to identify what species there are (the answer = Grey Willow, Wild Cherry, Rowan, Silver Birch & Field Maple).

Thanks to The Woodland Trust for their support!

Author: Gary Bainbridge


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