Part of the Green Chain Walk passes through a small patch of established woodland. The path was prone to becoming waterlogged in heavy rain and the area remained permanently moist. 500 bulbs and snowdrops were planted in the Spring of 1999; further planting of bulbs, perennials and ferns took place in Spring 2000. Plans were developed for solutions to the damp area. The first stage was to place a boardwalk across the boggy area, and the construction undertaken during this project is illustrated in the photographs.
The building of the solid all-weather boardwalk, using 120 recycled railway sleepers, the most ambitious project so far undertaken by the volunteers, was completed in July 2000. Thanks to the magnificent efforts of a group of dedicated workers, the somewhat daunting tasks were completed in record time – just one weekend!
Although the principal reason for the project was to allow better access to this section of the Green Chain Walk across a boggy area, the intention is also to enhance the area by increasing its biodiversity. To this end the volunteers have regularly thinned out some of the lower branches of the surrounding trees to allow more sunlight to penetrate and stimulate growth beneath.
The volunteers wish to thank the Bexley Council Contracts and Works Department and the North West Kent Countryside Department for their expert help and support, not only with the planning of the boardwalk, but also with the execution of the work. The practical help given by volunteers from Woodlands Farm, Lesnes Abbey, college students, local residents, friends, neighbours and children was also much appreciated.
Drainage Ditches and Pond
The need to remove some of the excess surface water from the Green Chain walk area and channel it into an area where it could be used productively by the wildlife was identified. The second stage of the proposals was a series of ditches to collect surface water, draining into a pond. It was necessary to test the chemical content of the soil prior to pond digging, and all samples were well within permitted levels.
The pond and ditches have been dug out and a fence has been constructed around the pond with an access gate. Wild flower seeds have been scattered along the ditches and around the pond. Eventually it is hoped that amphibians, birds and moisture-loving plants will thrive in this shallow dew pond and return the environment to the state that it was in many years ago.
The pond does not pose a health and safety risk as there are shallow depressions with gradually sloping sides. Water will only collect during Autumn and winter, when the site has a lower usage.
The 2004 work by Princes Trust members
The Princes Trust team worked very hard over a two week period on the boardwalk extension and many of the young people who took part in the project are shown in our photographs. Various stages of these activities are also shown.
The placing and securing of the heavy railway sleepers is a challenging and strenuous task as the volunteers know only too well!
The volunteers subsequently attended a presentation at Hall Place Bexley to ackowledge the young peoples’ efforts to help improve this area. The Princes Trust is a personal development programme for those aged between 16 and 25.
The completed Woodland Walk, As Seen In 2010
As it looks in March 2016, following completion of the new pond project