Thursday, 31 December 2015

Plugging The Gap

I am pleased to say that I have some good news.

The Environment Agency started working on repairing the Ellerbrook bank yesterday. Although there is still lots more work to do yet I managed to be there when the gap was plugged and water finally stopped running into the field. I have to praise the E.A. team that have worked on the bank. We will have had over 200 tonnes of clay poured into the gap so far together with a few tonnes of sand bags.

The Ellerbrook bank consists of a clay core with a compressed earth covering. The repair will be made completely of clay which is being brought in from Hambleton over on the Wyre.

I have asked the E.A. team what the cause for the breach was but we can only speculate really. You cannot get away from the fact that sheer volume of water put a massive strain on the bank. Moles or rabbits can cause holes in the bank that can weaken the structure. Another cause can be the 'topping' of water over the bank, Water that flows over the top of the bank rapidly accellerates as it flows down the outer side of the bank. It can quickly wash away the turf covering exposing the soil layer below which is then quickly eroded. If the water keeps flowing, the bank will become weak enough to loose strength and fail. There is evidence that this process has taken place in another section of our bank closer to the bridge and also further down on another field towards the River Douglas.

Seeing the flow finally come to rest was a minor 'moment' I suppose. As it happened Rob from the E.A. turned to me and gave me the thumbs up. At last. My hope now is that rain will stay off long enough for them to get some more clay in to build the bank up to full height before it all gets washed away.

Rob said that in the summer they will probably come and dig out the sandbags to replace them with more clay which they will compress down.

So, we only have to wish you a happy new year. Here is a memory of happier times when crops were ready and bees were buzzing. I am looking forward to these times again next year.

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