The majority of this week’s large group of volunteers gathered on this warm morning at a new venue – the canal adjacent to Pontardawe Cricket Club. The task was to remove trees from the cut between Holly Street and Bridge 8. A large oak was to prove too much for us but, undaunted, Bob and Gordon set off in “Nellie” to tackle what we could.

 LargeOak1  Nellie1

The first tree was a faller consisting of a substantial tangle of branches. Gordon cut them up and the pulley system was used to drag the larger material onto the bank where a combination of saws made light work of reducing everything to manageable pieces that were stacked neatly.

 TA2  TA4
 TA5  TA7

The second tree was a giant, living willow that was dangling precariously over the water. Once again, Gordon did the cutting and the gang dragged everything to the bank.

 TB4  TB14
 TB10  TB6

Time for tea, with delicious cakes provided by Alan and Jan W.

 Tea3

After tea, we tackled another, relatively small faller. Gordon had had to leave us, so we we had to rely on a pruning saw that John G wielded to great effect, with Alan T steadying “Nellie”. We couldn’t clear all the branches but the canal is now flowing freely.

 TC3  TC6
 TC1  TC7

In other news, Martin and John G joined forces in the Buried Lock Site to fix an extension pipe to the existing tank which collects the rain water from the site office gutters. The pipe was a monster 150 foot long to ensure that watering the plants in the garden will not be a triathlon event but a pleasure. John’s plumbing expertise was augmented by a slim physique which enabled him to squeeze into the narrow gap between the site office security fence and the water tank to connect the pipe. From there the pipe was attached to the perimeter wall, through the very full shed and out towards the garden. Difficult, time consuming work but eventually the pipe was fitted with an outlet tap next to the garden. It will make watering the garden so much easier. Well done John and Martin.

The garden is full of hawkweed and red valerian. Both of these plants attract bees and hoverflies. The nettle patch next to the valerian is full of hungry small tortoiseshell caterpillars and ladybirds.

 BLSPipe1  BLSPipe2
 BLSgarden1  BLSGarden2

And finally, Kath photographed this week’s “Nature Corner” – a red admiral, an iridescent beetle and a beautiful Cerys admiring an even more beautiful dandelion.

 WL1
 WL3  WL2