A real treat today - Haggis and I get to accompany Dad on the Challock Forest 6-mile walk he leads for the Friends of Kings Wood. Before we depart, all three dogs get a quick walk to the Rec to make sure Meggie does her stuff, and then we sneak off while she's sleeping that one off.
There are 12 walkers in the end and Dad takes them round what used to be the 6 mile waymarked trail (dismantled by the Forestry Commission about 10 years ago) but with an added loop down into the bit called "Cutler's Valley" to see the newest pond created by (well, paid for by) the Friends. Created, of course by proper land scape contractors.
That's the 4th pond. Also on the visit we go to look at one near the "Reptile Valley" which has apparently been damaged by some muppets in a Land Rover. These ponds are created on fairly dry chalk and thin soil by digging the bowl with a big excavator, and then puddling in 15 lorry loads of local clay to make a 2 foot thick smear over the chalk. The ponds then fill naturally and we allow them to colonise with plants by the slow process of natural succession.
This one had been a great success, being blessed with a better catchment than the others, and we'd helped that along on a Friends "volunteer day" by cutting gulleys from the nearby forest tracks, which happened to converged there from the local hillsides. It was alive with dragon flies and other water insects, newts and was used frequently by the fallow deer to drink.
Till that is, some bloomin' idiot with a Land Rover decided it would be fun to drive through. Now Dad's as big a "Landie" fan as the next man - grew up with posters on the bedroom wall, was always going to own one and eventually did, used to go "green laning" (responsibly), joined the All-Wheel-Drive-Club, suscribed to LR Owner magazine, eventually sold the beast in an attack of pragmatism (noise, thirst, slowness etc).
So we sympathise with the muppets' desire to get out into the country and get it muddy. Not for us the "Sloane tractor" shininess, where the nearest to off road you got was mounting the kerb. But these tarts have driven it into our pond and then effectively sliced down through the 2 feet of clay spinning the wheels to get out
Either they have, or the tractor they engaged to pull them out has. The pond has now leaked away all it's water and sits there, a dry bowl with cracked African "river bed" floor. The Friends are left looking at the cost of restoring the pond, bringing in more clay, re-engaging the excavator to puddle it in.
Thanks lads. I hope the damage was worth the laugh.