Pevensey Road Green Gym volunteers undertook a challenge and a half when local group Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE) asked them to build a bridge. Pevensey Road is a beautiful site, one side meadows and the other pockets of woodland and wetland with the River Crane running through it. Pevensey Road has its own secret, hidden charms.
Our Green Gym volunteers have been working over the last 6 months to push back the scrub on the nature reserve, to open up the ponds and pathways. Improving access for local residents and removing invasive vegetation. The ponds have been planted up with additional marginal plants, but some of the channels have started to vanish into mud.
In 2011, the River Crane in West London was hit by a devastating pollution incident which contaminated the entire seven mile stretch of the river killing its inhabitants. Channels and ponds were created at Pevensey Road LNR to provide a safe place for fish, if something like this were to happen again. On the path through the woodland there was no way to cross the main channel, so it was blocked with logs so people could cross. FORCE and TCV were keen to give local residents a safer path across the channel and to open the channel to the ponds so fish can easily pass into them from the river.
The challenge now was how to build a footbridge across a narrow channel. The start wasn’t promising, with the rain covering every surface, tool and volunteer in mud, and that tree stump blocking the way (top picture)! Tom Nandi from BAT north helped us plan the bridge, and then volunteers got stuck in, working out what to do and how to do it together.
Over the course of 4 sessions our Green Gym volunteers pondered how to dig holes in mud (without sinking), built the bridge in sections, and cut back the surrounding vegetation to clear the path for dog walkers.
From humble beginnings to an amazing end result, we’re really proud!
This project has already given volunteers a chance to try out their new found conservation skills, have a go at building something for the first time, and make a huge difference in the reserve. A great achievement.
We’re so proud, we’ve even laminated Dave’s bridge building drawings for posterity!
And then a well deserved celebration!