One of the very decorative panels that form part of the picnic table setup has rotted at its base and finally collapsed, or perhaps been pushed over. In view of its popularity, the decision has been taken to reinstall it, the work to be carried out by Steven Portchmouth, the artist who designed and created the original structure. Preliminary excavations found that, in addition to much concrete, there were thick angle irons buried in the ground to provide support for the panels. The concrete will have to be broken up in order to remove these anchors before Steven can reinstall the work. Although he has agreed to do the work at a reduced rate, in view of the fact that the wood should have lasted much longer, this unexpected work will involve considerable extra cost, and we are grateful to Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership for providing £250 towards this.

Seven sections of tall riverbank vegetation, totalling 275m, were cut back so that visitors could enjoy views of the river from time to time. The nettles, hemlock water dropwort and various other tall plants provide valuable food and cover for a range of wildlife from invertebrates to birds, so we wouldn’t want to remove this habitat wholesale. Some of the emergent vegetation has been retained, so the end result isn’t too raw.

Litter collection is an ongoing task, worsened by the increased visitor numbers during lockdown. Inevitably, some of the rubbish ends up in the river. Please take your empties home with you!