Wheldrake Ings

Today I went to a conservation volunteering work day at Wheldrake Ings, a huge area of floodplain meadows and reedbed bordering the River Derwent. It is still managed in the traditional way as it has been for centuries.

The flooding in 2012 destroyed much of the boardwalk leading to the bird hides. Last year we started on the reconstruction and now we’re on the final stretch leading to the last hide. With a large group of volunteers, we were able to split into three teams – fixing handrails to the hide steps, re-erecting a wooden screen and fixing chicken wire to the boardwalk to make it ‘non-slip’.

Organised chaos?
 
The screen going up
 
The chicken run

Throughout the winter months this place is teeming with wildfowl, but now they have gone north for the summer and it’s relatively quiet. The woodland areas along the riverbank are full of willow warblers, mainly heard and not seen. Curlews are calling across the meadows and mute swans are nesting in the reed-beds.

Nesting swan, oblivious to nearby construction work

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