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Wednesday 6th September 2007
In the morning, we worked in the river adjacent to Pets Corner. We removed sections of a tree that had previously been 'beached' near Pets Corner from a dead fall. 'Hooligans' had taken the trouble to dump these back in the river, causing a blockage of rubbish at the weir. They had also dislodged some of the stone capping from the weir and (for the second time this year) we retrieved 14-15 of these heavy shaped capping stones so that they could be possibly used to repair the weir later. Other pieces of rubbish (old wheel, traffic cone, etc) were also removed.
In the afternoon, we moved up to the area of the river near the mill. A section of the fence had been repaired a few weeks ago. Again presumably due to vandalism, some of the repaired section had been taken down and thrown in the river. We retrieved the section and (hopefully) improved the original repair. We also took out a huge piece of wood that had been brought down the river during the last flooding (a regular occurrence). Finally we removed some build up of rubbish (wooden pallet) and branches and then completed our river cleaning on smaller pieces of build up as we moved downstream back to Millfield House.

Wednesday 5th September 2007
In the evening (7:30pm-9:00pm) the rangers and four volunteers conducted a "dummy run" of the Bat Walk (see Events). We saw several bats flying around field near the pavillion, and we heard lots of bats calls using the rangers bat detectors although it was too dark down by the dene to see them.

Saturday 1st September 2007
A lovely morning - sunny and bright. Work today was around St Mary's Chapel. This is a romantic spot and often a venue for wedding photos. We trimmed the ivy from the gates and tidied overgrown branches and weeds. Although a roofless ruin The Chapel is still used as a place of contemplation and local people maintain vases of fresh flowers inside the building. After this, we went to St. Mary's Well and cleared back the undergrowth as well as dredging out the well itself and making sure the water was draining properly.

Monday 6th August 2007
A large tree had become wedged near the weir in the river just behind Pets Corner. This was blocking the weir and also causing a build up of rubbish behind it. In order to shift the position ropes were tied around the tree and then we all heaved so that gradually and bit by bit we were able to pull it onto the river bank. This was extremely hard work as some branches became stuck in the mud and impeded progress. At this spot the mud on the riverbank is deep, very soft and foul smelling. it is also rather slippy - so care has to be taken!

Sunday 5th August 2007
'People Counting Day' at Jesmond Dene. For several days this week lots of us including the rangers, managers and volunteers have been 'counting' to see how well the Dene is used. This is to collect information in order to show how much the green spaces of the Ouseburn Parks are used. The excercise will be repeated again in February.

Thursday 26th July 2007
ragwort picking again at Havannah. At least we can begin to see that our hard work is making a difference. Althought there always seems to be just as much around every bend!

Saturday 21st July 2007
We met up at Havannah Nature Reserve so that we could remove some of the ragwort which is very prolific. It is also extremely poisonous to horses, and since a bridleway runs through Havannah this could be a problem. First thing was to protect ourselves so everyone wore facemasks and made sure that gloves were used for handling the plants.
We filled so many black bags with the ragwort that the it took two visits to the disposal unit to dispose of them. In the afternoon we tackled general tifying up at Big Waters -just at the time when there was a cloudburst and it absolutely poured down.

Tuesday 6th June 2007
First thing we filled up several buckets with gravel, and loaded this into the van (gravel is very heavy so this is physically demanding work). Two of us took the gravel and infilled a drainage trench near Fisherman's Lodge. This was repeated several times until the trench was complete.
Meanwhile, a bunch of us went into the 'Nature Reserve' on the other side of the river. Unfortunately vandals had broken the fence and trampled over the meadow grass within the reserve. The broken fencing and wire were replaced and the area tidied up as best we could. There is a small wildlife pond in this area used by the Rangers to teach children on educational visits from schools. We would like this to remain as a tranquil place and foster it as a conservation plot.

Friday 25th May 2007
Split into two groups today. One group carried on with mending fences (this time beside the steps just after Millfield House) and the other group lopped back overhanging branches from some of the upper paths; and then cleared away mud and leaves using spades and brushes. It does look so much better though!

Sunday 8th April 2007
Carried two new wooden fence rails up to footpath just south of the Old Mill (too big to fit in the van). Most of our time was then spent chiseling out the cement founds of the old fencing support posts. This was Very hard work - we only completed one new post and had to carry the other fence rail back. One of us cleaned graffiti from Old Mill display boards.

Wednesday 20th March 2007
Went to The Pavillion and washed off the mud on the inside walls. Two of us cleared out the gutters on the roof and replaced some of the loose tiles, whilst some of us dug out the topsoil and made a deep hole just to the side of The Pavillion and filled this with gravel to improve the drainage. Then we went to pull out a large branch which had fallen into the river just above the waterfall.
The afternoon was spent cutting down trees on the upper paths to let sunlight onto the soil beneath. One of the felled trees became entangled with the branches of another tree and we had to heave and 'bounce' it until it came down. It was then sawn up into smaller pieces which could be removed.

Saturday 17th March 2007
Lovely bright morning but a definite chill in the air!. Our work was focussed in Armstrong Park. We split into two groups and cleared the paths of mud and leaves - some of us brushed and some used spades. We also tidied up several flights of stairs which had become encased in mud, soil and leaf litter. In addition, the drain at 'King John's Well' had become blocked, so this was cleared too. On the higher path, there was a lot of standing water which indicated poor drainage, so a lot of time was spent sorting this out. Then, just before leaving we went into the 'cattle run'. This had obviously been the venue of a drinking party. Unfortunately, not only had they left dozens and dozens of glass bottles, they had also deliberately smashed a number of these which meant the ground was covered with broken glass - leaving a terrible hazard to both children and pet dogs.

Wednesday 14th March 2007
A fairly cloudy, grey day, but, a good morning for litter picking. Bags and bags of it. Luckily the park keepers were there with their truck, so we could load it up with full bags of rubbish and they were able to take it down to the skip - this saved us time and effort carrying fairly heavy loads. Afterwards, we did some work at the weir in the river just behind Pets Corner. This had become blocked with rubbish and broken branches which had been swept down the Ouseburn - we removed a broken fence, several large branches and filled yet more bags with rubbish.

Saturday 24th February 2007
On our way from Millfield house to Castle Dene Bridge we stopped to clear leaves and other debris out of the pavillion, we noticed some roof tiles have been smashed. At the bridge we cleared some more of the fallen tree out of the river, but the bulk has now swung round to deeper water and is inaccesible. Two of us repaired a broken handrail on the steps down from Castle Dene Road.
The afternoon was spent dismantling and removing some old picket fencing on the west bank of the Dene opposite Pets Corner. This was hard work - we had to cut up the fencing into short sections, roll up, drag up a slippery bank with rope and carry back to the skip. It was also prickly work as there was barbed wire mixed in with the fencing!

Saturday 3rd February 2007
A lovely bright day. The first half of the morning was spent clearing leaves and other debris out of the empty pool a few hundred metres to the North of Millfield House. This was in preparation for possible site visits by contractors with a view to repairing the concrete lining and refilling the pool.
The second half of this morning was spent cutting back laurel trees to improve the view across the Dene from the path above Millfield house. Most of these cuttings were a couple of inches in diameter but we did remove one tree about 25 feet high and 10 inches diameter. Far right shows a log with a fine example of fungus growth.

Wednesday 24th January 2007
A fairly cold, damp day, and all of our work was focused on water! That is, clearing out ponds and taking out some debris from the river. The first pond is very near the 'Fisherman's Lodge'and has been cleared out several times. Lots of trees overhang the water and drop their leaves during autumn and winter. These leaves have to be removed because they rot and as they decay the pond looks milky and opaque, as well as emitting a horrible smell. The second pond was on one of the higher paths and suffers from the same problem. Nets are used to take off the surface leaves as well as scooping up the detritus from the bottom. This is piled into plastic buckets which are then removed. Both ponds look very muddy and dirty in the first instance because our work churns up the mud and silt. Once this has settled after about half a day, they will look much more pleasant.

Friday 19th January 2007
We noticed the steps adjacent to the Old Mill have been completed, they look excellent and should last for many more years. We also cleared huge quantities of leaves from the "rooms" of the Old Mill, if these were just left they would rot down to compost and the rooms would fill with this soil. Following the strong winds we made safe more fallen trees - that was is really hard work! Just over the river from pets corner there's a nature area with a small small pond so children can net and examine water insects, we did some work tidying this area.

Saturday 13th January 2007
Due to the very windy weather a lot of trees have been blown down, so all our work was concentrated on removing branches from the river and ensuring fallen branches as far as possible. The grappling hook was used to fish some smaller trees out of the river. However just below Jesmond Dene Bridge an enormous tree had fallen right across the river. This is too large to be removed all at once so branches and part of the trunk were sawn off and pulled out of the water via ropes. Most of the tree remains in the water but the water flow was restored to quite a large degree. We noticed that work had started on the repairs to the steps next to the Old Mill.

Wednesday 10th January 2007
It was nice to see everyone again, ready to start work after the Christmas Holidays. Work began at the ruins of St Mary's Chapel. Whilst some of us sawed and removed an overhanging tree bough, others cleared the steps leading to the chapel of leaves, mud and litter. The well, was also cleared out in the same way. Our final job of the day was to clear litter and do some weeding - it was good to see that many of the bulbs planted last year were coming up.

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