Blue Flower

Saturday 4/6/22  I cleared the visitor centre, started the video of the wheel turning on the screen and switched on the nest camera with the Jackdaw chick ready for visitors expected later. David strimmed the nettles, Emma and I cleared out the store room, Emma then removed soil near the compost bay and put it down in front of the shed to give a level entrance. I made an information sign with a picture of Airmen swimming from the upper lock to go with the sign on the bank on open days. 

Fred and Debra came down in the digger and asked me what I wanted them to do, so I asked if the soil heaps could be spread out to make a landscape for the wildflower meadow. Fred started by levelling the entire wasteland and putting the soil in a heap, then dug out the trench between the blacksmith shop and wasteland. David, Emma and Debra cleaned the trench exposing the walls and tunnel ends.

Fred then started riddling the soil heap as there was a lot of rubble amongst it. The riddling bucket has slots to allow soil to fall, keeping rubble in the bucket. The sifted soil will be used for the top layer of the wildflower meadow, some rubble will be used to form a slope up to the river bank. David and I had a go on the digger but Fred did most of the work, making good progress with the project.

Owen, Maria, Andrew and their visitors arrived in the afternoon so I showed them round and explained the history of the mill and our Green Grant and Wildflower Meadow projects. Owen has kindly agreed to lend us his towed sweeper as we will need one to clear cuttings from the wildflower meadow and the type we need are out of stock until October.

David used a metal detector on the exposed soil, finds today were a large iron hinge post, part of a control wheel, and a nut & bolt. 'Eyes Only' finds were 3 slate ridge caps, a large piece of grindstone and a bone found when digging the trench.

I removed the work bench with vice from the visitor centre store room and fitted it in the new shed, the store room will become part of the main building and be used for displays of items found when making the wildflower meadow. We saw lots of Trout in the river. 

Thursday 9/6/22  Geese were near the railway piers in the morning and by the lake when we returned. On site Eddie and I looked at the new wildflower earthworks and exposed channel which was cleared on Saturday. 

The first job was testing the water pump in a bucket of water and filling up the header tank in the visitor centre from the stream. Grey Wagtails were flying around catching Damselflies, we think they're using one of the nest boxes fitted to the wall, as we see a lot of activity near it. Eddie filled the bird feeders, we checked the nest cameras and the Jackdaw chick has now fledged, maybe Barn Owls will use the box which was intended for them, as they breed until August.

After lunch outside we started to clad the wall in the new display area with leftover featheredge boards from the shed, using the tools and box of nails donated by Eddie’s mum. We then put picture displays up in there, we may use the room for other types of exhibits in future. 

The insect hotels were moved to the lawn as they were too close to the bypass channel, so its now safer if children want to look at them. We briefly metal detected the wildflower area but did not find anything interesting, we will continue to explore it as work progresses.

Saturday 11/06/22  Fred had an early start on the digger riddling the soil heap, I took the tractor and trailer which was filled up with 3 loads of rubble, taken along the river and tipped in the yard. I took over on the digger when Fred had to go off site in the morning, and again later to cover his lunch break. Most of the soil heap has been processed so we have a very large pile of sifted topsoil to spread on the meadow. Fred found a paddle and the metal centre of a grindstone in the soil. See the Landscaping article for the next phase of the project.

Emma joined us and helped me re-instate the fence which protects the drop into the newly excavated trench. Emma weeded the gardens, the compost bay was used for weeds and banana skins from our lunch. Emma cleared more soil from around the compost bay and put it in front of the shed again as it had settled since last time, a piece of thick curved glass was found there, this was from jars used to store sulphuric acid for making fertilizer. Henry, the black Labrador was with us all day, He kept pulling stalks from the compost bay to be thrown for him to fetch, but we don’t throw them very far as he has arthritis.

I put silicone sealant on the screw caps of the glass panel over the brick floor, as they keep popping open, and used some to stick the spirit levels back in our carpenters level, as they fell out. I saw a Small Magpie Moth on the visitor centre window, they like areas with nettles.

Walkers on the Nar Valley Way said the footpath is overgrown and narrow with tall nettles. I told Norfolk County Council, but if you use this footpath please report it as well, as they are more likely to cut it if lots of people tell them.

Graham Bartlett                

Interactive Plan   Activity   Heritage Open Days   Green Grant   Wildflower Meadow   Volunteer    Previous Next

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