Friday, 15 April 2011


It's the second round of blossom at the Reserve this year. The blackthorn and plumb flowers are just ending as the bird cherry and apple trees bloom. Next comes the hawthorn, or May blossom.

This is an exceptional spring for blossom, indicating that the trees are under stress. I remember that when the elm trees were dying in the 1976 drought, they put out the most seed I have ever witnessed. During the dry season in Africa and in South America I've seen leafless trees putting out acres of bright blossom. In a similar way, I'm guessing that the trigger here at Paxton is a lack of water.

Still on the subject of drought; we are now a step nearer to solving our water level problems at Pumphouse and Diddington Pits. Our friend John Minnie from the quarry came down and supervised the movement of two pumps for us but we didn't have anything strong enough to lift them. However, our farming neighbours the Rampleys from Southoe, sprung to our aid with a telehandler.

Ranger Matt Johnson moved a lot of the pipes assisted by myself. That's why I'm home with a bad back now!

The pumps we intend to use are electric, so we have to wait until next week for the electricians to wire us in. We will bury the wires to hopefully prevent them being stolen.

While Matt and I were involved in the pumps, Ranger Paul Claydon was leading a group of volunteers in the task of fencing the repaired path by Hayling Pit. The ground was like concrete and I'm sure he and the volunteers deserve a long week-end. Oh, what a co-incidence! There's one coming up.