Not for the first time in recent weeks, we met in a rainy car park on Wednesday and having lost half our number to the elements, I was delighted that Charlotte, Gary and Gareth decided to stay and give work a go for as long as was comfortable in the soggy conditions. Having erected a temporary shelter to protect our kit, enable the Kelly Kettle to be boiled and to provide a little respite, we set about lighting a much needed fire. Of course, this promised to be a challenge in persistent rain, but thanks to Gary having prepared burning material and the patience and perseverance of Charlotte and Gareth we soon had a decent heart to our fire and spirits were lifted.

From Small Acorns........

Gareth & Gary Coppicing

As promised, Richard joined us mid morning having already spent a few hours volunteering at Tonbridge Rugby Club with a group clearing the pitches of flood debris – is this a record, two volunteer activities before lunch time – hats off (probably best left on though) to you Richard!

A new, fast flowing water course, crossing the trail gives an idea of the extent of the current flooding.

Who'd have thought as adults we would derive as much pleasure donning wellies and boots and messing about in puddles as when we were knee high to grasshoppers. Yes, in order to alleviate some of the deep standing water in our work area, Gareth and Richard undertook some engineering to encourage the copious amounts of ground water to disperse.



Although rather trying to work in, the present weather does encourage some stunning woodland biodiversity, the moisture and dull light showing jewel like fungi, lichen and mosses to great effect.

Gary ends the day with his spooky apparition impression....

So, despite an inauspicious start to the day, Charlotte, Gareth, Gary and Richard stuck at it until 15.30! I'm sure the hearty fire and copious amounts of cake helped (thanks Charlotte's Mum for the date and walnut cake!) but whatever the motivation, I'm very grateful. We managed to widen another decent stretch of ride, and all that remains is to brush cut the brambles for maximum biodiversity benefit.

Great job.