Canal with railway bridge in distance and reed bed to the right

Down in the reeds again

I was scheduled to attend the Net zero conference in Gloucester, but didn’t confirm my attendance in time and my ticket got released. So I decided to join Stroud Valleys Project at the Ocean and work on a reed bed restoration.

This area of the canal was a historic winding hole where narrow boats would be able to turn around so it’s very wide. However, since the canal hasn’t been used for 100+ years, this has silted up and turned into an important reed bed habitat, full of bull rushes and other plants.

However, it does need to be managed. There was a lot of encroaching willow removed last year, but it grows very quickly and new seven foot saplings had re-appeared. There were also patches of bramble that shade out and overtake the reeds.

There were a lot of us today, maybe around 12 so we managed to clear quite a significant area over the course of the day.

Reed bed with tall willow saplings and house in background
One years willow growth
A trailer full of willow brash and a man stamping them flat
Loading up the cut material for removal

Most of the bed is floating on the water, so not a particular hazard to access. However, some parts were too deep, even for waders.

The material had to be taken away from site so it was stacked on tarpaulins through the day and then carefully loaded onto a trailer at the end.

There was quite a significant patch of bramble cleared from the back of the reed bed, so we used the existing seed heads to seed that area to encourage the reed line to go back further and hopefully crowd out brambles for next year.

clearing behind reed bank with scattered bull rush seeds
Seeding new bull rush plants in cleared bramble area

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