Muddy Puddles Project - Autumn 2016
A plan to address the muddy puddles in the paths throughout Selsdon Wood was first formulated in 2015. The idea was to purchase gravel which could be used to fill the hollows in the paths where water and mud are most frequently seen. David researched the locations and made preliminary enquiries about suitable gravel. Sara Bashford agreed that we could apply to her Community Budget for the full cost (£432).
23/9/16 - Delivery of 1st Batch of Gravel - In summer 2016 Tony Flecchia also looked into suitable materials and on 16th September he ordered 150 x 25 kilo bags of 20mm gravel at £2.40 per bag plus VAT from Seccombe Builders Merchants, West Wickham. The company were very obliging about delivery and agreed to deliver the material at 2.30pm on Friday 23rd September. Tony was there to allow access and the Seccombe lorry driver (Rob) drove to the top of Field 1 and offloaded three 1.25 ton pallets each with 50 bags. Tony wrapped these with orange safety barrier mesh to keep prying hands off. See photo below left.
While Paul was away delivering the first load Tony turned up and loaded 10 bags into his car, being ready just as they returned to go off the the next point that Ted had advised while they reloaded. From then on Paul and Tony worked with both loaded vehicles together as directed by Ted. Tony did three full trips and Paul four full trips plus a fifth trip with just the remaining eight bags. The 5 people doing the loading handled an average of 30 bags each, a little less for unloading since Ted assisted with that at each point.
The entire job was done well within two and a half hours and in one or two places bags were opened and gravel distributed where it was already muddy enough. As a trial a couple of bins of wood chippings were also distributed over a couple of potential puddles. We were delighted with how smoothly both days went, delivery and distribution.
While others were dealing with loads, Ted showed Paul's little daughter a number of the woodland fungi which she clearly enjoyed. She was also thrilled to find a small ground beetle and though she was too nervous to pick it up she was delighted to see it running about on Tony's hands. The photo above right shows the gravel in Linden Glade and the photos below show Paul's vehicle and team, the gravel by the puddles in Avis Grove and the laid gravel in Middle Gorse.
They then went on to The Wend and spread the remaining half ton of wood chips to complete Tony's work and delivered the other two one ton bags of wood chips plus the usual one-third ton of gravel bags to Linden Grove, which now had the two one ton containers of wood chips and about 30 bags of gravel stored ready for when the mud there gets bad.
Next a batch of gravel bags was delivered to the Avis Grove point close to Beech Grove where the small yew tree intrudes over Avis Grove and the path gets very muddy there. Then Paul delivered a large batch of gravel bags to the low point of East Gorse near the border to add to the batch already there, while Tony delivered a dozen gravel bags to The Wend just beyond and below the junction with Noakes Way which David had indicated gets bad.
Finally Paul and co. took the last few bags of gravel to the junction of West Gorse and Farleigh Border while Tony stored away the orange mesh and unlocked the gate ready for departure.
There were many helpers. Paul brought a strong younger male relative as well as his female helpers from last time. FSW Tony, Neale, Linda and John worked to load/unload, while Ted directed to delivery points. The work was completed by just gone 1pm.
The woodchip in too heavy to move one tonne bags is very difficult to use since it's impossible to dig a shovel into the coarse material and lifting out by hand takes ages. Therefore I used my car with a towrope onto the bags to tip them onto flat boards, shown in the third photo. That made it easy to load the chips into a barrow using a wide snow shovel, six or seven shovelfuls filling a 90 litre barrow. I used my own lightweight wheelbarrow (fourth photo) that goes into the car.
I've used all of the two bags of woodchips and a dozen bags of gravel. The remaining 21 bags of gravel there isn't sufficient to cap all the treated sections, so I've left them for capping the bad points that will no doubt crop up as it gets wetter.
The builders merchant's empty 1 tonne bags I've put in the store, they can be returned when we get the next gravel delivery. The newly purchased expanding lawn rake is also now in the store ready for use on the pool.
After a break to get some feeling back in frozen hands I did two trips transferring 20 bags of gravel from Beech Grove-Avis Grove junction where there was an excess and where none was needed yet. Those are now ready at Linden Glade for me to gravel cap the link between the two halves of West Gorse. Photo 2. A lot of rain is forecast from later tonight through to late tomorrow so that will probably have to wait until Thursday.
Middle Gorse: 10 foot extension to repair where we'd fallen a little short last time. Photo 1.
Junction of West Gorse and East Gorse at the border: Woodchip and gravel capping added to complete area, and also woodchip to fill in the worst of the contractor's tractor ruts across West Gorse entrance. Photo 2.
The Wend deep mud hole: Filled with woodchip to stabilise the mud and then thickly capped with gravel. Two photos attached, Before showing the ankle deep mud, and After the treatment. Photos 3 and 4.
Car Park entry points muddy today: All three points treated needing 12 bags of gravel. Photos 5, 6 and 7 show notice board entry and both sides of gate
The bag of woodchip that was stuck out on the field is now completely cleared away. The remaining bag is neatly in store against the wood by Greenhill Way entrance and four polythene bags of woodchip behind it ready for loading into my car when required. Photo 8.
This now completes all activities until rain and mud allow spreading of bags already distributed. Below is a report with map of the full position as of 6/12/16.
Path Project Report, 6-12-2016.pdf
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I've then treated the entrance from the other side of the seat with gravel, merging the two paths together at the entry. Photo 3
The concentration of so many walkers through that point has led to it being very muddy inside past the entrance, so I've extended the gravel treatment inside to alleviate that. Photo
Developing puddle at Great Field - Courtwood Grove junction filled with woodchip. More will be needed as it grows. Photo 1.
Minor mud patch in Courtwood Grove just south of Avis Grove capped with woodchip. Photo 2.
Major mud hollow in Courtwood Grove near the turn towards Great Field filled with gravel. Photo 3.
Shallow but long mud patch in Addington Border capped with gravel. Photo 4.
There were 10 bags of gravel left on The Wend, but with that rutted by the contractors who also split 3 bags, it's not clear where there's a muddy patch. So I loaded the 7 bags and what I could salvage of the split ones and used the salvaged amount plus 3 bags to patch two developing holes on the narrow section of Noakes Way. Photo number 1.
Then onto East Gorse at the boundary where the largest of our muddy hole areas is. Someone had previously poured 6 bags of gravel into one hollow, but I've now opened and spread the remaining 46 bags. I haven't attempted to cover the full width, instead creating a wide enough path for two to comfortably walk side by side over the whole very muddy stretch. Both of the hollows have been deeply filled in and the total of gravel used here is 1.3 tonnes. Photos 2 and 3 show the two gravel colours, being from two sources.
The remaining 4 bags from The Wend that were in the car I''ve taken to add to the 20 at the Field 3 to Great Field entry since this becomes very muddy later and will probably need the extra. Photo 4
On the way there I smoothed the contractor's ruts at the crossing of Leafy Grove at the East Gorse exit. Walkers from East or Middle Gorses can now more comfortably cross to walk along the far side of West Gorse to the woodchip path link into Linden Grove.
Photo 5 is from West Gorse, but at an awkward angle not showing the new path width well since the sun was directly into the camera at the point I wanted to snap from.
Photo 6 is from Linden Glade, and Photo 7 a longer shot from Linden Glade showing the junction of all three paths.
I've tipped the woodchip store bag back upright and it's now just two-thirds full. The gravel store is down to 18 bags.
I've filled the Vale border entrance hollow with gravel, and since the lead in was treacherously slippery and banked, treated the approach as well. Eight bags of gravel used, photo 1.
Then treated the very muddy Courtwood Grove corner lead-out with the last 9 bags of gravel, photo 2.
To complete everything in that side of the reserve I went to the narrow point of Avis Grove and spread the 12 bags there, that shown in photos 3 and 4.
With the exception of the Field 3 to Great Field entry which remains stubbornly dry at present, that's the whole project completed, so I'm attaching the updated report.
I've towed the heavy empty wooden pallet down the slope and stored it behind the building past the store entrance. I'll speak to Paul about returning that, it won't fit in my car. Nearly 4pm by then and the sun just disappearing, so just got finished in time.
Beneath is the final project report.
Path Project Report, 18-1-17.pdf
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The memorial pool was fed by mains water and it disappeared when Croydon Council disconnected the water supply many years ago. It had gradually filled with mud and leaf litter - so much so that some walkers have reported that they did not even know there was a pond in that location. In the summer of 2016 the Friends decided to have a general clean up in the area in hope of restoring the pond. The work started in April and lasted throughout the summer months.
To allow examination of the possibly cracked concrete liner all the surface soil was removed. We discovered that the liner was filled with heavy mud with no animal life except worms. The Iris growing there were carefully lifted and put aside, and a start was made to remove some of the vegetation around the edge. The plan was to clean the surface of the concrete to see whether we could make a repair and revive the pond. A newt was found sheltering under a rock.
In May extra workdays were used to remove the old broken fencing and start the construction of a “henge” of logs to mark the boundary with taller ones to represent gateways to the pond area and house the explanatory plaques. The overgrown tangle around the pond was tidied and at least one species (bugle) seems to have taken advantage of the extra light and thrown up new shoots.
Photos below show the cleaned pond with cracks showing
8/5/16 – Filling the Cracks
Karen, Linda and Sharon concentrated on removing some of the vegetation around the edge of the dry pond. Neale, Jim and Mark took turns at digging holes for two large logs to represent an entrance to the pond area. David and Ted removed much of the rotted fence and stacked it out of the way until we can burn it at a later date. By the time we left the two gate posts had been erected and a large amount of vegetation had been removed.
Neale and Jim also investigated some of the cracks in the pond’s concrete liner and they later revisited the pond to complete the clean and fill some of the worst cracks. The rainy spring meant that it was not possible to complete the repairs and sealing at this time.
Photos below show the filled cracks and the rain water beginning to fill the pond
15/5/16 - Creating the Henge
While Neale & Simon began working on the positions for two further "gate" posts, Ted used a mattock to make shallow holes for the four short posts. David started helping Karen with gardening then moved over to make the shallow holes deeper. In little more than two hours all six of the posts were in their correct positions. David took the opportunity to move an information board from the old fence to the top of one of the gateposts. Karen disturbed a frog in the vegetation and as usual the work was accompanied by an avian chorus.
Photos below show the henge being installed
22/5/16 - The old fence around the pond was removed by Ted apart from a few posts which were set in concrete, though two had rotted at the base and broke off as the fence panels were removed. Simon was eager to get started and began digging near the Holly where he was joined by Neale. David’s group arrived, as did Angus and John, and digging moved over beside the old fence to prepare to place four more logs, with Simon, Geoff and Angus involved. John & Ted started three more holes to continue the “henge” behind the Holly and were soon joined by the ever-active Simon who used the post-hole digger to smash through the buried flints. Geoff & Jim helped to complete the work. At some point Neale & Jim re-mortared a few more cracks in the pond liner. While all this activity was going on Karen did some magnificent work in tidying up the vegetation around the pond.
15/6/15 – Enriching the Flora
Karen and Linda took several native plants to place around the pond, including Night-flowering Catchfly, Cowslip, Comfrey and Selfheal. Neale investigated the water supply to the pond and confirmed that water is still available. We planned to make enquiries with the water company and Council about the prospect of getting the supply restored.
Photos below show the team of workers and water flowing into the cairn
7/8/16 - Neale, Karen and Jim went to Linden Glade where they removed several overhanging branches before attempting to remove mud and water from the pond in preparation for later sealing of the concrete surface.
14/8/16 - Sealing the Surface
Tony, Ted, Karen and Neale took a trolley up to Linden Glade loaded with materials to seal the concrete surface of the empty pool. Earlier John Zareba had swept out the last remnants of the soil still present on the surface. By 10.30am Neale had started sloshing sealant on to the semi-porous dry surface, and for a short while was joined by Karen and Tony. The first coat was completed and left to dry until about 12.30pm when Neale began work on the second coat, making much more rapid progress as the surface was now much less porous. Another wait for drying to take place and the third coat started at 2.00pm and was completed in around 20 minutes.
Karen placed red and white hazard tape around the area to warn passers-by that there might be a problem, particularly for dogs (though we saw relatively few during the day
We left around 3.00pm, hoping that there would not be too many nocturnal visitors before the sealant was completely dry.
Photos below show Neale applying the first coat and the completed job after 3 coats.
19/8/16 - The pond begins to fill
The pond is christened with the first rain since the sealing. (Photo taken Friday 19th August at 16.20 hours).
Rainy weather periodically throughout September meant that the pond never dried up and continued to fill throughout the month.
QR Codes Project - Summer 2015
FSW have set up two trails in Selsdon Wood which are accessible on a mobile phone by way of QR codes. These codes are square patterns of dots which work in much the same way as the barcodes used for stock control in shops. For many years there have been two trails (red and green) both marked by wooden posts and starting at the car park. The numbered posts on each route now have QR codes attached and if these are scanned with a smartphone they display pages of seasonal information about the trail and an accompanying map. The original paper guide and the QR trails may also be accessed from the Walks page. If you use the QR trails we would be very interested in your feedback - do please get in touch via phone, email or website.
To access the pages revealed by the codes click these links.
Installing 5 new benches in Selsdon Wood - April 2015
This project started when the FSW received two grants towards the cost of renovating six Council Information Boards. These created surplus FSW funds, so the Committee decided to buy four new benches. One to be engraved in memory of Rob Sowter who for years had coppiced an area bordering The Wend under contract from Croydon Council. He also taught FSW members about his craft and led our Charcoal Burning events. Three were to replace 40 year old benches that had rotted. Then a member asked that a bench be installed to commemorate a friend who had enjoyed Selsdon Wood. So we ordered five 5ft green oak benches, with long legs for security.
Over two weekends Alan Bushnell, his son John and I
dug the ten 55cm deep holes ready for the benches. We used my homemade
wooden gauge to check the depth.
On delivery day we were lucky with the
weather and the contractor delivered the 5 benches beside our first
position in the Great Field. We were extremely fortunate to have the
help of Ashley Green (Leader of 17th Purley Scouts), his son Nathan,
friend Ken Jackson (Leader of 1st Selsdon & Addington Scouts) plus
Ashley's Landrover and trailer. This made light work of transporting
pairs of benches. The deep mud of Avis Grove, tight corners and the
steep slope in Noakes Way were not a problem. Thank goodness Ashley, Ken
and Alan are younger and much stronger than myself. The benches weigh
over 90 kilos each (200 lbs in old money) – as can be gauged in picture 2 below. They were carefully carried from the trailer and dropped into the leg
holes. Then we levelled the benches and shovelled in and rammed down
the clay and flints around the legs.
Plaques 'IN MEMORY OF G G LEWIS WHO LOVED IT HERE' and 'DONATED IN 2015 BY FRIENDS OF SELSDON WOOD' were fitted by Tim Lloyd.
David Malins April 2015.
2015 Bench location Answers.pdf
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2014 - 2015 - Renovation of 6 Council Information Boards in Selsdon Wood
Most of the notice boards at the 6 entrances had been subject to vandalism or attempts to set them alight and graffitti removal had made the polycarbonate opaque. Some information was out of date and some wooden frames had rot and were coming apart. During 2013 the FSW had attempted to interest Croydon Council in renovating the boards but realised that this was impossible in the current financial climate.
In early August 2013, a meeting in the wood between Heather Govier (FSW Chair) and Meike Weiser (Croydon Community Partnership Officer) suggested that the FSW should take a board apart to see what was involved in renovating them. David Malins, John Zareba and Sid Potter dismantled a board. It was concluded that it was not possible to separate the poster and the clear polycarbonate layer without damaging them. Replacement was the only option.
David took on the job of designing a new poster and coordinating the project. The first step was to produce a draft design and cost the renovation process. After considering several options it was decided that a new poster should be designed around an updated map that had been produced for a Council Selsdon Wood leaflet (the copyright was owned by the artist). The FSW would then see if they could afford to pay for it.
By February 2014 David had produced a draft design for the 1145mm x 850mm poster and during subsequent months the FSW Committee and Meike helped to detail the copy and pictures.
Croydon Council had obtained a quotation of £4,572 for dismantling, taking away, renovating, printing 6 posters including 6 'YOU ARE HERE >'s, and reinstalling the 6 boards. Adding origination of artwork (£520) and 8 gate name boards (£167) this came to a total cost of £5,259.00. (These and subsequent prices include vat).
The FSW Committee was convinced the project could be completed cheaper.
During subsequent months David refined the design and copy and looked at alternative printers and alternative board material. The final choice was 3mm aluminium composite DiBond for durability with the quality of Eco-UV print. Foamex was rejected because our own tests showed it expanded with heat and the print had less impact. Poster paper was rejected as not durable enough.
By July 2014 FSW estimated that we could renovate the boards within £350 which included 6 new polycarbonate sheets. Neale Fox volunteered to act as foreman with Jim Dunning's assistance. Sid Potter volunteered the use of his garage for renovating the 3 boards from the north end of the reserve, the other 3 being renovated in the FSW store.
Quotations for the rest of the work:
Origination of artwork by the artist Madeleine Smith £520
Printing 6 posters by Positive Images £339.60
Printing 6 'YOU ARE HERE >'s by Positive Images £70
8 gate name boards from Able Engraving £166.80 (5 for Info boards and 3 for other gates.)
FSW estimate for the renovation: £1,500
FSW presented the proposed design, action plan and cost esimates to Croydon Council who agreed to allow the FSW to negotiate with the suppliers direct, subject to Council approval. The Council thanked FSW for funding the project.
David submitted his brief to the artist and ordered the gate name boards.
At the beginning of October 2014 the artist completed her first artwork proof. After amendments this was cleared to the printer and printed by the end of November.
Sandra Crapper had made submissions for grants to Selsdon Residents' Association and Croydon Council. The FSW was very grateful for the donations - SRA £520, LBC £500, Totaling £1,020.
Neale & Jim with David, John and Karen's assistance continued the long job of dismantling, repairing and treating the wooden frames. A blowlamp was required to burn off rot and D/S tape used to attach posters to the back plate and to free screws. The bottom bar of one frame was replaced. Most of the frames had some rot and this was stabilised with Ronseal Wood Hardener and then painted with Sadolin preservative. We were grateful to John Bickerstaff for the use of his Brother P-Touch label machine to produce 'YOU ARE HERE >' labels. The new poster and polycarbonate sheets were sealed together with metallised tape before being mounted back in the frames with silicone sealant. The completed frames were then bolted back onto their legs and their backs repainted.
By the end of February 2015, the first complete Info board was put up by the car park. The project had taken 18 months.
Rounded FSW project cost £1,310 (£190 under estimate); generous grants have covered £1,020 of this.
By taking on the renovation work ourselves the FSW have saved nearly £4,000.
As the FSW had budgeted to pay for the complete project, funds can now be freed for our next Project – 5 new benches in Selsdon Wood.
David Malins 19.3.15
The photo to the right shows the new notice board in the car park. Can you identify the locations of the remaining 5 boards shown below?
2015 Notice Board location Answers.pdf
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