26-28th January 2024
When we first came to the Anderton Centre on Lower Rivington Reservoir in January 2007 the site was dominated by rhododendron. It took us 4 years to bring Ragnarok to this poison sea of green, using bow saws, mattocks, winches and brute muscle power. Over several years we returned to do other work to help both improve the site for wildlife and as an outdoor education centre by planting trees and hedges, repairing walls, building footpaths and habitat management. This year we returned again for our Winter residential, or resi as we call it. Our work this season would involve repairing dry stone walls, laying hedges, planting hedges, and felling dangerous trees.
The trees we were removing had died through disease and had become brittle and unstable. As the site is used by visitors to the centre they posed a danger to safety and so need to be cut down. Tom used a chain saw to fell the trees which were then cut up stacked on habitat piles out of the way.
The wallers repaired several sections of wall along the front of the reservoir. Why the walls had collapsed is anyone’s guess: livestock rubbing against them, people climbing over them, tree and root growth, land movement, or a combination of factors.
The hedge layers were a bit stuck for work but managed to do a few bits. Any gaps in the hedge were filled in by new plantings.
Well that’s the work bit done, but the other reason people go on resi’s is the social angle. For those staying over-night there was plenty of time to fill, and most of that time was filled with beer, banter and being silly. After work on the Saturday we hurried through the cold and dark to The Bay Horse. Like Hobbits at the Prancing Pony we sampled the ales and then had to change rooms, not because of hooded figures with pointy swords but because the room had been pre-booked by another party. After much merriment we rushed back for Lynn’s evening meal. Meaties and veggies both being catered for with Quorn and ham, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, carrots, fruit crumble and custard, cake, flapjacks and more beer. After food there was fun. Jenga, card games, weird impersonations, more beer, and running from sleep. Eventually sleep caught up and said, ‘Your it, close your eyes and count till dawn.’ Which we did.
The morning came and kicked everybody out of bed into the kitchen for breakfast and second breakfast. Between breakfast and dinner, or lunch if you prefer, we finished off the walling and planting. Then cleaned up, packed up and made or merry way home.
Many thanks to Rick, Tom, and Caroline for organising, the Anderton centre staff for having us back and to everyone who attended the weekend. Special thanks to Lynn for catering, doing a great job as always.