Moses (Gate) Hidden in the Reeds

Reedbed

Moses Gate Country Park, Reedbed Management, 23rd August

Phragmites australis, or common reed, reedbeds are a declining habitat, this is a shame as they support over 700 species of invertebrate, at least 6 red listed bird species, 4 reedbed dependent bird species, as well as amphibians, fish and the several mammals. They are hugely important for maintaining water quality and can also provide some degree of flood defence. The pressures created by land drainage, water abstraction and poor management are just a few of the reason why many reedbeds have been lost. If they are lost then we also lose the species that depend on them.

Reed Bunting
Reed Warbler

Many thanks to John Loder for the reed warbler photo.

Samuel Crompton’s old workshop became the promised land of reedbeds thanks to BCV. Over the last couple of decades we have planted reeds at different points around Crompton Lodges. Starting from a few square metres the reeds have expanded and spread to cover a large portion of the top lodge. But it isn’t enough, we want more. We have the space but there’s not enough water, so, what can we do to fix it?

With the permission of Bolton Council, the plan is to alter the flow of a small stream running into the candidate area by digging ditches across the site to re-wet the not-so-wet swamp. We will also need to do some planting, the good thing is that planting new reedbeds is fairly straight forward, read BCV’s own guide by clicking the button below.

Some of our soggy six believe this was the wettest task ever, but I can remember tasks at Blackleach, Cox Green, Wigan Flashes and several Anderton weekends which were at least as bad. Not to mention last year’s Bolton to Darwen walk.

So, what did our mud monkeys do? Around the perimeter of the site there’s a ditch that intercepts water entering the proposed reedbed which isn’t ideal as we want more water not less. The plan was to cut irrigation channels and allow more water to access the reedbed area from the ditch. Using a digger would have been more convenient but volunteers are easier to replace when they get damaged. Well done to all on an impressive piece of digging.

Photos: 23rd August – Tom Bruce/Francis Williams