Tales from Gazen Salts

Progressions Forwards and Backwards Too

As lovely as these bluebells look, they are fast becoming the bane of the English countryside. These are Spanish bluebells and not the native English variety. These are invasive visitors growing wild in many locations around these parts, and one of our jobs is to remove them and replant the area with the native variety. Vast areas of the wildlife garden were plagued by these flowers and had to be forcibly removed.

It’s been a while since l wrote about matters to do with Gazen Salts – 6th April – so here’s an update to cover everything that has happened since the last episode in the series.

The Wildlife Garden is coming along in leaps and bounds, although to the casual observer, it still might appear to be an overgrown green space which in many respects it is. It has however more definition now, and there are deliberate plantings, and it now has more purpose and direction than it did a few months back.

Whilst l am keen for it, l have taken a back seat marginally. This was because it had a direction that strayed slightly from the original path l believed it was to take. Wildlife Garden, yes, it is, but an authentic wildlife garden it may not be.

The two ladies who are principally in charge of it now, however, are thrilled with the progression and let’s be honest, that is all that matters when it comes down to a volunteer project. It will take a few seasons before significant changes become more noticeable.

The second reason l have become slightly reticent to be more involved is that there is currently undergoing a significant council and environmental agency operation afoot, which will cause enormous problems for the garden. The environmental agency is a law upon itself, and they plan to de-silt further the Guestling Stream with which the garden sits beside.

It’s too politically complicated for a small progression post like this to address correctly. Still, in a nutshell, the de-silting process will mean that the dead wall that l built will have to be dismantled and either destroyed or resited into the garden itself, which will seriously damage all the work that has been carried out thus far. This was a major upset for me and has put me off working in the garden now, l’ll not deny it.

We need somewhere for the materials to go. This means that the materials are likely to be disposed of. Whilst l can see that many of the materials could go into the compost on the allotment, more importantly, it means that the dead wall must be taken down by myself and the volunteers in the next two weeks, which is when the work is due to be carried out on the Guestling.

The dead wall has become a prominent feature in the wildlife garden, with many visitors commenting upon it, especially the wildlife it draws to it. Many insects, birds and small mammals have taken it as their new residence. It will be a pretty sad time to see it gone.

There are further damnations to this operation than l write here. Still, it involves thousands upon thousands of tons of silt being extracted from the stream, and they are to be dumped into Gallows Field, which is, in fundamental terms going to be an ecological disaster for the wildlife in the field.

The work in Gallows Field was an enormous project in the making long before the wildlife garden commenced. Many volunteers, myself included, worked in that field last summer, winter, and this spring to make it a beautiful natural area.

I will write about this in more detail; however, it is distressing on many levels and is a real kick in the teeth for all involved with the Gazen Salts charity and volunteer group.

If we wish to save the wildlife garden from the heavy-handed boots of the environmental agency and their de-silting machinery, then all responsibility for the wall dismantling falls upon us. That is a considerable undertaking, given how many materials it took to construct it in the first place.

The third reason l have backed away from the garden is that l 1] am very busy in other locations outside of the nature reserve and 2] because l have become involved in a project that means a lot to me and l had years of experience with when l was working as a corporate merchandiser and advertiser in the nineties, and that is the marketing of the Gazen Salts charity and reserve itself.

I am working with a small direct team comprising four others, and it is our combined job to work on and create new opportunities for revenue for Gazen Salts through promotions and advertising.

This is an aspect l will cover in another episode, but it was something l was very interested in heading up, as some of you may recall from previous episodes in the series.

In addition, l recently took on board the responsibility for raising additional funds for the charity through sales of surplus to requirement materials and equipment we had in the hut that l cleared and cleaned up from September through to December last year. It’s a relatively minor role but essential on many levels, most notably – raising money and keeping things out of landfill.

Some of you who follow the series will also recall that we were, as a charity experiencing problems of significance with a neighbour that lives in front of the reserve on Strand Street. She was determined to have us shut down. She failed, but despite being charged and billed for every complaint she makes, she still insists on sending out twenty emails to the authorities complaining about the charity daily.

All she has genuinely succeeded in achieving is making any small win bitter to the taste. Goodness knows what she will make of this new operation of desilting the Guestling, primarily when the actual silt is deposited right behind her house!

The process will take out two metres of depth of silt from the stream – the exact measurements and quantities that will be deposited in two locations are quite beyond me. The stream section is roughly 800 feet long by fifteen feet wide by this two-metre depth!

Suggestions already regarding Gallow’s Field coverage talk of the silt, which will be pumped out directly onto the ground, measuring 300 feet long with a breadth of forty feet and a depth of a metre high!

I have suggested further that in addition to the negotiated compensation from the environmental agency, we might sell this highly nutrient-rich material to the local farmers and allotmenteers. It is too rich for our already rich soils – hence the damage it will create for our eco-environment -but having used silt-like materials before in composting, there might be some profit mileage.

In other reserve areas, the usual tasks continue – chipping paths and generalised maintenance. We are a few weeks away from the breeding season for the birds, and things will come to a semi-standstill in so far as cutting back and prunings and so on.

It’s an exciting time, and more so since the departure of the last chairman; things are changing; progressions are being made that finally allow the volunteers to have more say and decision choices.

So – All good and bad, but things will be right.

He says hopefully.

Various views from the Wildlife Garden and immediate areas close by.

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve is about my time and stories of my voluntary work with this project.

I’ll see you next episode. Thanks for reading.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Sandwich, Kent, England, UK

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

9 thoughts on “Tales from Gazen Salts

      1. Anything is possible when stupid people try to run things. You did a wonderful job and it was providing accommodation and sustaining many small animals and insects. Now with it gone think of the loss to the wildlife.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m sorry about all your hard work and dedication there. I know how much you worked on and loved that wall, and that preserve.

    Is hard when visions don’t match up.

    Well you will have to see how your complainer person does up against the environmental agency lol

    I do not think they will even entertain her lol / they may be her match

    We see

    Crazy how it all of the sudden got so busy when weather got beautiful lol 😮

    Liked by 1 person

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