Friday, 6 April 2007

Early Days 1996 (Sparrow Castle)

(Project 1 on Projects Map)

Work began on the 'hump' opposite Sparrow Castle Pumping Station by the side of the Manston Road on Saturday 9th March 1996. The picture above shows clearing and preparation in progress and you can make out the outline of the trees around Cleve Court in the distance to the west. Although it was late in the season, after years of accumulated rubbish and huge thickets of brambles had been cleared, 124 trees and shrubs were planted. This view has now been lost forever as TDC allowed Cummings Diesel to build a huge modern factory on agricultural land 800 m to the west of the 'hump'. Not only was a lovely view lost forever but Thanet's remaining upland chalk plateau has now effectively been ringed in by development from Manston-Cummings-Acol -Birchington and wildlife movement restricted as a result.

The following 31 young people were involved in the project: Luke Appleby, Edward Dutton, Conor Grogan, Niall Grogan, Carolina Lameiras, Philip Mhango, Themba Mhango, Sarah Gwonyoma, Dominic Peachey, Richard Roberts, Anne Ogunniya, Yorquabel Soquar, John Sumner, Sean Sutcliffe, Brian Tsui, Nicholas Wake, Matthew Piper, Phillip Neale, James Robertson, Alan Tsui, Rupak Das, Richard Orchard-Smith, Hannah Dearling, Daniella Ardolino, Eleanor Shaddick, Warren Brayn, Catherine Clowes, Peter Rose, Antonia Salter, Sarah Barnes and Dominic Huxford.

Thanet Times came to take a picture on 5th May as the last two trees were planted. As it was early days the future problems of moisture retention and weed control to reduce water loss from the soil was not addressed and no mulch sheeting was put down. This, together with late planting and a poor soil (railway ballast and chalk) meant a slow start and a high casualty rate.

The problem is illustrated here! This was Summer of 2001 and growth after 5 years was slow! Note the fence (courtesy of TDC Grant) and how Cummings' factory has cut out the view to Cleve Court. The tyre in the foreground is not fly-tipping! It marks a field irrigation point of the pipe-line installed on the west side of The Manston Road.

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