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Hindolveston - Discovering Pond Croming and Kara Jam

February 16th saw a group of around ten of us gather at the Hindolveston Surveyor’s Allotment site. The weather was a rather unprepossessing damp and grey, but the team spirits were not! This is still a new site for the Trust and there is much work to do, starting today with the basics of access and boundary creation. Trevor led a brief tour for those who hadn’t yet seen the site. The intended circular path site had been set with white and red ‘FRAGILE’ tape markers, meandering between the numerous old gravel pits turned ponds. We were all warned to be mindful of keeping clear of wherever Ed the tree surgeon was working on clearing the path of fallen trees and undergrowth.

After this we split into teams of two set and to work on the various allotted tasks. Bev, Wayne, Sean and Andrew (myself) started on establishing the native hedge planting on the eastern boundary following (or attempting to decipher, depending on your viewpoint) the trusty Felbeck Trust Hedge Planting Template. The backbone of the hedge being a mix of Hawthorn and Blackthorn whips with a ‘Specimen’ species every sixth whip, consisting of a mix of Guelder Rose and English Dogwood.

John and Peter were continuing to establish the fencing on the southern and eastern boundary which had been started previously.

New posts required tamping down and existing wire and posts reinforced with new wire runs. Ed was here, there and everywhere, clearing and felling like a Trojan, both around the ponds and clearing a way through for the footpath. Stu and Nigel followed Ed creating habitat log piles on one side and brush on the other. Rampant brambles required tackling, of course, and holly cutting back.

Half past ten saw the happy return of doughnuts to the teatime break, following weeks of deprivation due to the Morrisons doughnut machine crisis. The ‘Kara’ jam sounded exotic but it turns out disappointingly to not be an exotic fruit, merely Apple and Raspberry, with Kara the name of the supplier (after extensive Google research).

The second half saw renewed energies and enthusiasm with further hedge planting and the creation of a number of impressive single and double planked bridges across depressions and boggy parts. The planks were founded securely either side on freshly felled logs and Stu and Nigel even carved an impressive sweeping flight of steps down a small incline to one of the bridges. About ten bird boxes were put up, and a large reclining tree over one of the ponds felled and dragged out with a rope, in a style reminiscent of a Canadian Rockies logging company. The intention is to ‘dam’ the ponds that are fed by drains from the road and fields, so they can act as a sump to gather and naturally filter out impurities, leaving the rest of the ponds to be fed only by uncontaminated rainwater.

The grand finale of a very productive session was the croming of one of the ponds by Sean, raking to the side heaps of sunken leaves and detritus. I hope I heard this term correctly, as again extensive googling produced no recognition of the word croming, and I hope as a newcomer I have not embarrassed myself! Pond combing perhaps? I think you get the picture. It was a great day in all, how so few could achieve so much in a short time.

Andrew Stokes

February 16th 2023


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