Recycled wheelie-bin saves orchard from flooding

Posted on June 26, 2013

IMG_3807I’ve commented in  earlier posts on just how wet my allotment has been.  It hasn’t been confined to my plot. The whole site has suffered in the past 18 months. Apart from the obvious – its rained a lot, there has be quite a bit of puzzlement as to just why it has been so bad, with plotholders resorting to the construction of deep channels around and across allotments and months of suffering flooded plots and lost crops. The conclusion has been that the 100 year old clay land drains in the area have either got blocked by tree roots or similar, or crushed in  nearby construction work and no longer function. Either way the result has been severe flooding on the allotments as water has drained down the hill.

Now, bless them Oxford City Council Parks Department have spent four days on site installing  a new one. The risk has been that in running it across my orchard plot  to reach the existing access and drainage system, quite a few trees would have to go, or be significantly damaged.  I’ve taken a deep breath and recognised that this was for the greater good, including mine. But the line of the pipe is actually parallel to the allotment boundary and straight through the very scrubby hedge at the back of the plot. In the process of connecting to the Bartlemas hamlet pond the Parks Dept staff  have selected a route that misses all my trees. Brilliant! And in a charming example of the new thriftiness in local government, the sump is a recycled wheelie-bin (see picture). Fantastic!

The work is now complete and  far from causing lots of grief, it has opened up several opportunities. The hedge will need to be replaced and the plan is to plant hazel the whole way along and coppice it for pea and bean sticks. Although it will involve quite a bit of hard work in clearing the old hedge line roots and parts  of the hedge that have been ‘stranded’ in the orchard by the line of the new drain, the work has opened up such a large new space, that it looks as if there will be room for three, possibly four new trees in the orchard.  I’ll let you know what I plant.

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