I thought I’d put together what we had been up to and some of the other activities, done by contractors, on the reserve up until lockdown in mid-March … plus a few updates.

Since I originally wrote this and before I could post it to the website, the reserve has partially reopened and we, the Reserve Team, have been back working. This has been things like checking the site is safe, maintenance of the paths and clearing back the over-enthusiastic vegetation that has grown unchecked over the last few months!

The first item took place in December, just after I wrote the last blog…

Tree Sparrow Screen

We widened and lowered some of the viewing slots and provided a couple of seats in the screen.

We had to remove some of the struts and then replace the boards.

Although this slot doesn’t look out onto much, the plan is to provide feeders over this side too.


Dragonfly Pond

We get lots of dragonflies on the reserve of various types, mainly round the Wildlife Ponds area. Whilst we had diggers on site, it was decided to create a custom made pond with dragonflies in mind.

Clearing an area near the Garden Hide.

The large digger took out the tree stumps and made the initial excavation.


The friendly contractors on site then landscaped the hole with their smaller digger.

Fine tuning and making sure the sides were level.


An underlay was put down and then the (very large) liner was installed. We then started to fill it using just a hosepipe. It took a looonnnggg… time to fill!

Once full and left to settle for a few days, the edges were trimmed, an overflow pipe installed and the edges dug in.


New pond

Between the Dragonfly Pond and the Stepping Stone Pond a new pond was dug out.

This area had been a bit of an unproductive no-man’s land, now it will become more productive.


Family Hide

                Dismantling the old hide…

Taking down the old hide was quite a job, probably taking longer than it took to build the new one… almost! The benches, wall and ceiling cladding were the first to be removed.

The roof and wall panels of the entrance extension were next.

The roof and its frames were then removed


Removing the glass out of the frames was a tricky and lengthy procedure. I think we only broke one pane!

The hardest bit by far was removing the hardwood frames. They were screwed together and to the floor and took four of us to carry each one!


After a herculean effort to remove all the panels, etc to the workyard, we admire the unfettered view.

New Hide

The new hide started with excavating for the concrete supports. A lot of concrete was poured! Next was the steel frame followed by the wooden infill.

The newly completed inside.

From the front

The sedum roof.

Our turn next – putting up a gate on the side.

 and a fence and turf down the other side… (We had to water the turf upon returning!)

 Laying and rolling a surface outside the entrance.


Wild Wet Area

This area is located near the oak trees, just past the Toyota pond. Its name proved to be very apt as, if you remember the beginning of the year it was very, very wet, the area very quickly turned into a quagmire. The contractors did a great job, struggling on to try and complete the area but they had to give up when the turf they were laying started sliding down the banks, vowing to return when it had dried up. It’s difficult to remember how wet it was then when we’ve had a long dry spell!

You can see the digger, even though it’s on caterpillar tracks, is sinking quite a way into the mud!

A bridge across the ditch linking this area to the playground. We then planted several hundred trees and bushes along the fence line.

Finishing it off with a rope along the fence line. This was the very last job Steve and I did before lockdown.

Update- the trees have survived and are growing nicely!


Bird Garden

This is now part of the sensory garden since the education hide has gone. The plan is to remove the bird garden hide so that this will be an alternative path onto the reserve.

The path turns the corner to head back into the wooded area.


Rolling the top surface. This path will need finishing when we go back.

Update – we returned to the path this week (first week of June)…

Continuing the brick edges to the path.

A layer of gravel is put on to hold down the Terram and form a base for the path as it carries on through the woodland.


Welly Wash

Anticipating that children might have muddy wellies (not just children, I’ve used it a couple of times!) a welly wash has been installed near Grandad’s Garden. A recycled plastic frame was built and filled with gravel, allowing water and mud to soak through and drain into the new pond near the Stepping Stone pond.

Update- the taps are in place and vegetation is growing nicely behind them.


New sluice.

This sluice is down at Wath Ings. You can see the Wader Scrape in the background in the photo below. This pipe is connected to the ditch down Green Lane and empties excess water from the Wildlife Ponds (yes, they are connected!)

If you remember a time when it rained and rained a lot and Green Lane was flooded (last November), then this is the pipe that was part of the cause of the flooding. Those of you with a keen eye at the time would have noticed that water was flowing back into the Wildlife Ponds at the Toyota Pond, the water level at Wath Ings was higher than the Wildlife Ponds. This pipe should have had a non-return valve on it at the Wath Ings end, but it turned out it hadn’t.

This is a very old pipe that Barnsley Council installed when Old Moor was set up and any non-return valve it may have had was gone. It took until February before the water level had gone down sufficiently to be able to install the non-return valve.


There was also a lot of water hanging around the area of the path near the Toyota pond, so in March we installed a French drain down the side of the path to alleviate the problem. The pipe in a French drain has holes in it to allow water into the pipe and so be drained away.


Hedge laying at Adwick

We did manage to get away from Old Moor a couple of times and one of those occasions was to Adwick to lay the hedge from the cattle pens up and around the left hand corner.

This is as far as we got the first time as we were caught out in a blizzard and retired wet back into the truck!


The weather got better though and so we made good progress the next time.

The final section down to the cattle pens. I’m betting by now that the hedge is looking rather splendid!


Update section- 

We’ve spent some time putting a new surface on the path towards the Family Hide (nicely socially distanced!)


And chopped our way down Green Lane cutting back the growth so we can get down there. Hopefully in the near future it will be accessible to everyone!

The path from Field Pool East to Wath Ings.


‘til the next time.