The Penllergare Trust’s monthly project review and planning meeting took place in the Woodland Centre on Thursday 18th July. There were also contract review meetings with both W B Griffiths (Car park/ Visitor Centre and Llewelyn bridge) and also Kingcombe Aquacare (lake works). Here’s a progress update:
UPPER LAKE & ARCHIMEDES SCREW
The contractors for the lake works have started on site. Their first job has been to upgrade the tracks leading to the waterfall via the upper haul road and the ‘red ash track’. They have relocated their site office to next to the waterfall to enable them to work on the sluice gates and the Archimedes Screw hydro turbine.
They have constructed a ‘coffer’ dam – a temporary structure in the lake that will enable them to work on the sluices and the dam in the dry. This structure will be removed once the work has finished. They’ve started digging out the lake immediately adjacent to the drainage sluice valves. A careful inspection of the condition of the valves and the dam wall has been carried out. New valves are to be fitted to enable us to occasionally drain the lake if required in the future. Desilting the lake will start later in August.
The current projected date for arrival of the turbine on site and installation is early October. The level at which the turbine will take water from the lake is to be set above the level of the waterfall – so in times of low water flow, the waterfall will always be flowing whereas the turbine will stop running.
We apologise for any inconvenience these works cause and ask that visitors bear with us. Various roads will have to be closed from time to time, and where possible, diversionary routes will be signposted.
CAR PARK AND VISITOR CENTRE
The car park contractors have been attending to the finishing touches on the site. The final tarmac was laid on Friday! We should have possession of the building next week. We can then move in to fit out the building in readiness for opening in September.
We are still on the look out for Volunteer Visitor Centre Assistants to help out. If you’re interested in giving a few hours of your time serving light refreshments or welcoming visitors, please do get in touch.
The stonemason, Selwyn Jones, is placing the capping stones on the lower terrace wall to finish this work off. He will then move on to repair the main steps before going to the Llewelyn bridge. Selwyn and his team are doing a great job!
Mike Thurlow, horticultural consultant, joined project staff for a familiarisation session on a replanting scheme for the Terrace Gardens this month. Mike commented on the impressive progress made by volunteers and staff on clearing the laurel and reestablishing paths. He urged retention of the older ‘sculptural’ laurel, but advised bringing the canopy down in order to open up views of mature trees, the lake and distant views. Armed with the earlier work of the volunteer research group, he will shortly advise on suitable plants in readiness for the autumn planting season.
The work of the volunteers on the upper garden paths is impressive – even in this baking hot weather, a substantial length of stone path has been laid. Thankfully, the tree canopy offered a bit of shade, but it is now clear for all to see the potential pleasure that people will get from strolling in this area in the future. The Trust would like to acknowledge the achievement of the woodland volunteers to date on this work and offers its great thanks for their support and commitment. If you would like to get your hands dirty and volunteer in the woods on a regular basis with our woodland team, do get in touch.
To respond to and answer questions and concerns about the work going on in the woods at present, it is planned to hold monthly informal meetings in the Woodland Centre. These meetings are open to anyone. The first of these liaison meetings will take place in the Woodland Centre at 4.30 pm on Wednesday 7th August, for about an hour. Tea and coffee will be available! We look forward to seeing you.
The hot weather of late clearly demonstrates the very great value of woodlands and trees to society. While people were sweltering elsewhere, visitors to Valley Woods could enjoy a cool walk in the woods and a comfortable stroll along the stream side – it’s a truly wonderful place to visit and its getting better all the time!