Articles From September 2013

Empty leat

Leat maintenance

Posted in Hydro on Wednesday 11th September 2013 at 11:26am

Following this very dry summer we have made good use of the low river levels to do as much leat maintenance as possible while minimising the loss of potential electricity generation. 

The first, entertaining but time consuming, job to be done before we can work on an empty leat is to collect all the brown trout that usually live in our leat and pop them back into the river. This is a game of speed and skill like big kids fishing in the stream with big fishing nets! To do this we lower the water level so we can work with waders on to hand net the fish and transport them in buckets of clean water to the river. Once the leat is fish free we can pump out all the pools of water to work on a dry bed. We deal with any leaks that may have occurred in the bank, hand pull all the weed that has started to grow in the bottom of the leat and trim the vegetation along the top edge of the banks. We work as quickly and efficiently as we can to reduce the days it is empty and this year to ensure the leat is full of water for our next guided walk tonight!

Summer trees and leat

Hazy days of summer

Posted in General on Friday 6th September 2013 at 10:19am

For the first time since Miles was born at Old Walls he has seen otters in the West Webburn. The first sighting was two otters playing in the river near our tail race and the second time a single otter swimming and diving in our leat. Yet another protected species we have inhabiting our hdyro system and farm. They join the dormice which live in the wood and have an arboreal link of hazel across our leat to use, the Greater Horseshoe bats that use the river system and our leat to help them navigate while filling up on insects in our oak woodland and the Marsh Fritillary butterflies that nectar in our conservation field which was created by the leat dividing one big field which has now become part grazing, part woodland and part conservation grazing.