Teamwork makes the stream work!
6 GoodGymers made their way to help the Maidenhead Waterways in Windsor and Maidenhead.
- Saturday, 14th of October 2023
What a gorgeous morning! Glorious sunshine, the beautiful scenery of Widbrook Common, views of Cliveden catching the sunlight across the valley, and another stretch of stream bursting with weeds for us to wrestle with.
All of this of course made even better with excellent company - Friends of Maidenhead Waterways volunteers Dominic, Tony, Ian, Phil, Mick and David, and GoodGymers Sheila, Alex, Clara, Tony and Dominic. Yes that's right, Dominic and Tony appear in both of those lists - superheroes are real!
As is usual for these Autumn/Winter work parties, our aim was to clear enough weeds from the stream (usually 1-2m width) to allow water to move freely, enabling a flow into the town centre streams and keeping the stream ecosystem healthy in the process.
It is always a laugh getting started - greeting familiar faces, dressing up in waders and other PPE, trudging out to the target area carrying equipment like rakes and pallets and listening to Dominic's safety briefing to try to avoid getting 'that sinking feeling.'
Then the real adventure began. We worked as a team to drag, heave, cut and yank weeds out of the stream and onto the banks, from where any disturbed critters could make their way back to the water. It is really heavy work and it is incredible how much vegetation can come out of one little stream.
Phil and Tony were like machines, harvesting great armfuls from the water, while the rest of us created a range of soggy weed mountains, marking where we had been. We agreed that the pointy rakes were better than the more rake-y rakes, but that it also works fairly well to 'get in touch with your inner hippo' and wallow around on all fours using your hands, arms and body weight.
We powered through the first hour or so motivated by the promised half time snack and hot drink - a Twix AND chocolate fingers plus coffee. It didn't disappoint - thank you Dominic! The second half also flew by as we really got into the flow and became fully immersed in the task (you didn't think I could get through the whole report without some watery puns did you!?)
A highlight of the morning was watching a little coot, who came along to see what we were up to and to feast on some of the wildlife we had churned up. Another was witnessing a different kind of wildlife: Tony's post-session yoga practice - a round of single leg downward facing dogs designed to empty half the stream out of his waders.
Thanks to Clara and Ian, who helped me look for my lost car key at the end. That'll teach me not to run, walk or cycle!
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Led by Amy L
Area Activator for Windsor and Maidenhead. Loves running & Pilates and runs to escape from her hoards of small children.
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