Showing posts from April, 2018

Thames 21 and Kingfisher

Paul and Caitlin with Kingfisher   Thames 21 are an organisation that aims to: connect local communities with their rivers; demonstrate what is happening to them; and design bespoke solutions for them. I have blogged  some of their amazing projects elsewhere see Rainscapes in Enfield       Ewell storm tank outfall We are lucky that one of their research projects - using robot boats to  measure water quality- includes  the Hogsmill,  and a boat known as KINGFISHER. The hulls are  made by a company called Platypus' and the first step is to install and calibrate  its monitoring systems. We met last Friday to introduce the superboat to the range of different chemical and other influences presented at different stretches including the various outfalls along the Hogsmill.This included the Ewell Storm Tank outfall   where water quality can be affected by sewage overflow. sediment from the Bonesgate   The floating labs offer benefits for rivers and local communities and want to

Reptiles in the borough

  Highlight of the week: looking for sandmartins at Kingsmeadow and finding slow worms along the Hogsmill. Now the weather is warming it is a good time to spot slow worms. One was seen slithering across the path near Dickerage Lane recreation ground close to where strimmed dead animals are sometimes found.   Last weekend I visited Risborough Green - near the Beverley brook - where these animals have been recently recorded. The last comprehensive reptile  survey of the borough was carried out by LEHART as they were then  known (now the London ARG) by Will Atkins. It is thought that Risborough Green  was known as Kingshill Conservation Area in these surveys. Risborough Green, W.Park    The rough grass on sunny banks, should be retained for them as there are few places - other than allotments - where we have recent records except Tolworth where there are records of slow worms and common lizards. The latter species was recorded during surveys prior to the development of Tolwo

Walk the Hogsmill along Hogsmill Open Space

The importance of old maps Participants largely from Malden Manor and the Sunray Estate community  groups, joined me for a  three hour walk along the Hogsmill  organised by the Sustrans. Sharing information about our open spaces can assist in their protection. Furzeland House   We began by looking at old maps revealing how the river had been straightened in three sections; and how former land-use was reflected in the names of local streets and buildings such as at Furzeland house, which would have been built on the site of common land  growing gorse.  We discussed two corridors additional to the river that are considered important for animal movement: the railway used by reptiles for basking on substrates;  the pylons, where the vegetation beneath requires annual management for access and maintenance. The latter attracts species totally, dependent on  the type of management employed (ranging from traditional coppicing at Castle Hill Local Nature Reserve (LNR) to bulldoz