So… water levels should be at their lowest point this time of year, perfect to make life a walk in the park (or should that be walk on the reserve), for our wardens and volunteers to cut back all that annoying encroaching reed that can spoil those beautiful sightlines across the South Essex reserves lagoons, which has become particularly bad at Vange Marsh this year.

Not so though! What should have been a pleasant and satisfying days cutting and burning at Vange Marsh turned into a Halloween nightmare of stuck pedestrian mowers, stuck volunteers and most scary of all… frustrated wardens!

This required calling in the heavy cavalry. This came in the form of remote controlled tracked robotic mowers. This machine was able to get where wardens and volunteers feared wade…

Cutting at Vange marsh lagoon is now starting to take shape and the lagoon is starting to re-emerge from behind all the reed. With the tricky wet bits now cut back, we will be finishing off some other areas with brushcutters over the next week before turning on our abstraction of water into the lagoon and starting flooding out as much of the cut reed as possible.

Depending on the amount of rainfall, you should now start to see water levels slowly rise in the reservoirs and lagoon across the South Essex reserves, although, bear in mind in recent years we have taken most of our water after the Christmas period.

Steven Roach – Warden, South Essex Reserves