In August the Skaigh Woods Trust were encouraged by their local Ranger, Ian Brooker, to contact the Sustainable Development Officer to enquire about opportunities funding for renovating the Victorian pond in the woods. The Trust’s volunteers had already invested a huge amount of time and effort in clearing and restoring the pond but to ensure that it would be a year round habitat they needed to connect it to a spring which was some way away up a very steep bank. After discussion with Richard Drysdale, completing an application form and then being granted the funds under delegated authority, the Trust soon rolled into action with the purchase of a pipe.
So that is how 6 volunteers arrived in Skaigh Woods on the first bright and sunny day for a long time, to unroll and lay 125m of pipe to connect the holding tank of water (fed by a spring) to the pond below. Taking lives into their hands (but after a suitable risk assessment, naturally!) , due to the steepness and slipperiness of the slope, the daunting task of unravelling each 25m section of pipe took place whilst others connected each section together.
Several slips and shouts later, the bank of the pond was reached and the floodgates were duly opened!! The pond soon filled and a new overflow pipe was added to complete this project. As the water supply will be running all year round now this should keep pond full even in the height of summer and thereby providing an excellent fresh water habitat for a variety of wildlife.
The Sustainable Development Fund Officer, Richard Drysdale, was delighted to support this community project and added, ‘The Dartmoor Sustainable Development Fund is able to support a wide range of projects that have benefits to the environment, the local community and the local economy. This Skaigh Woods renovation project is just such a case as volunteers have brought back to life a feature that has long been overlooked, so the many people who enjoy these woods will now be able to further enjoy the wildlife that will be encourage to come to the pond.’ If you have a project that you think could be eligible for, and benefit from, sustainable development funding then please check the National Park Authority website for details.
Finally, we are not sure if National Park Ranger Ian Brooker is looking for divine intervention or thinks the DSDF grant was a manna from heaven but all (suitable) captions gratefully received!