Digging Up the Future at The Barlow

Sunday 2nd, 9th & 16 May 2021

Updated 19/05/21

The Barlow Institute was opened in 1909, in Edgworth, for the health and well being of the local community. It was dedicated to the memory of James and Alice Barlow by their children, one of whom was Sir Thomas Barlow, Professor of Clinical Medicine at University College London and the Royal Physician to Queen Victoria, Edward VII, and George V.

One hundred years later BCV arrived

2009: Barlow Institute, paths.
2009: Barlow Institute, paths.

In 2009 we held one of our residential weekends on the site and over 48 hours cleared blocked drains, cleaned out silted up ponds and installed new drainage near the river. Although the site had huge potential for wildlife we didn’t get to go back to do any further work. The grounds contain numerous trees and wild flowers including wood sorrel, wood anemone, lesser celandine, marsh marigold, bluebell, and a range of wildlife.

Wood Sorrel
Wood Sorrel

2nd May
Fast forward to 2021 and the Barlow Institute has been re-branded as The Barlow, and they have plans to develop and improve the site. The original 10 acre site contained an open air swimming pool and a boating lake. It’s at the site of the old boating lake that most of our new work is being done with one team there, and another team working on de-silting the pond we worked at in 2009.

The boating lake had silted up and was completely overrun by a dense patch of willow carr, this needed to be removed before the new ponds could be dug out. The new ponds will create habitat for amphibians and dragonfly when finished. Everything we took down was used to create a dead hedge along the footpath which will create temporary habitat for wildlife. The down side of dead hedges is that because the material isn’t living it decays over time, but it’ll work for now.

9th May
Our second task at The Barlow continued the work we started the week before with the rest of the old boating lake being cleared and the duck pond also being de-silted. Paul shot a short video of the work which can found HERE.

16th May
A slight change to activities today. We were joined by the Barlow Legends to tidy up the hedges and prepare them for a planting session with the local kids, who’ll be filling in the gaps. Also, today’s work also prepares the hedges for laying later in the year. As usual all of the brash was used to create a dead hedge, this provides additional habitat for wildlife. We’ll be back at The Barlow later in the year to continue the work.

Many thanks to Paul Allen, and the other Barlow Trustees for inviting us to work on the site. Also well done to the BCV crew for doing the work, Tom & Caroline for organising, and Francis for stepping in as a team leader while Rick is out of action. If you want to know more about The Barlow visit their website at thebarlow.co.uk.