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The “S” word…..

November 6, 2012

I think that you will all be aware of the sewerage spill that occured back in september at the Chase and I realise that I havent had a chance to upload any information about it yet. We did have a spill from broadlayings pumping station that affected the minor watercourse which runs past the newt pond along its entire length, unforunately this then meant that the newt pond acted as a silt trap and has been very badly harmed with high ecoli levels remaining even after the pond was dredged and flushed. This is why it is still fenced off and will be for some months whilst Thames Water do their best to return it to a safe coniditon with doses of special microbes.

The Chase has seen many bad times but nature has a way of wanting to right itself and we all keep our fingers crossed that it will do so as quickly as possible having been helped along as much as possible already. There are still remediation works to continue, some of which will have to wait for drier weather but we will get there…eventually.


Guided walk

September 18, 2012

Sunday 23rd September


Join the National Trust Warden to explore the nature reserve and its interesting trees.

Meeting at the car park.

Bring stout waterproof footwear.

Sewerage spill update

September 16, 2012

Thankyou for your patience whilst the site has been closed due to the recent sewerage incident at Broadlayings pumping station. The stream has now been cleaned and remediation of the paths is taking place. We hope to be able to open the site tuesday at the latest though the newt pond will be fenced for the coming months to allow for bioremediation to continue.


September 6, 2012

The Chase is now closed until further notice for environmental heath reasons following a sewerage spill on site. This spill was caused by a fault with the pumping station, it has been contained and is now being cleaned by Thames Water. The woods will re-open when the water quality is of a sufficient standard. Thankyou for your co-operation.



BBC filming at the chase

July 31, 2012

The summer sun came just in time when the BBC decided to spend the day filming tadpoles in the newt pond at the chase for a documentary on metamorphasis that will air this coming winter. The team of six crew got stuck in and had a great day stood the beautiful alder carr, though even the hardened crew that had come down from scotland were struggling with the insect bites and stings!

Journey of a livestock looker – July

July 16, 2012

Summer presents new challenges for the Livestock Lookers in the Chase. This is July but it is not summer as in bright sunny days and balmy evenings spent in a chair on the patio with a glass to hand. No – this is summer as in bracken now having grown taller than the height of the back of a Shetland cow, as in heavy foliage on the trees making the understory quite dark and difficult to see through and this is summer as in extremely boggy patches much loved and frequented by the aforementioned Shetland cows.

If you are following me here, you will have grasped the fact that it has become increasingly difficult to find our four legged friends in the Chase these days. The cows have become much more adept at games of hide and seek. Indeed we think that they may well have decided that it is quite good sport to spot the lookers before the lookers spot them and then to follow along at a respectful distance behind the lookers so that said lookers never quite manage to see the four legged ones at all. We have had several frustrating forays lasting more than an hour, following the perimeter fence then crossing and re-crossing the Chase without seeing hide or hair of our charges. We tend to give up after an hour or so and then return later in the day, sometimes to be greeted by the sight of five contented cows lying down chewing the cud by the stream, possibly accompanied by the bovine equivalent of tittering behind the hand (sorry, hoof).

One morning after an hour long fruitless search we chatted to some walkers explaining our dilemma before returning home. Imagine the joy of a telephone call a short time later from Heather, our National Trust warden, to say that the cows were now just by the meadow. I hot footed it back to the Chase to find the ladies innocently tucking in to the juicy grass as though they had been there all the time.

Sharp eyed walkers may have noticed that Whitey has a sometimes angry looking abscess on her rump. She has been seen by the vet who has administered antibiotic on more than one occasion, which helps for a while but unfortunately the inflammation recurs. Three of us spent some time one morning persuading the cows to go into the meadow so that Whitey could be penned in the crush later to receive her antibiotic. The cows were not tremendously co-operative so it did take us quite some time but our patience was eventually rewarded and one by one they agreed to go in the meadow. Later that day we were called back to help persuade Whitey into the crush. By now there were six of us and under the expert guidance of Heather we achieved this with text book efficiency, driving them slowly up the field, along the hedge line, round the top of the field and into the crush went Whitey. A short time later having been sprayed with antibiotic and fly spray she was ready to join her companions in the field. Job done – another small triumph for the Livestock Lookers.

May 30, 2012