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July 2018 Monthly Update

We have spent much of July talking about the weather, with some of those working on site delighting in the sunshine and others keeping their fingers crossed for a bit of rain.

Those of us who work in metal portacabins have been suffering from the heat in the afternoons but have to take our hats off to those laying the metal roofs on the Deanery and Hall and Woodhouse pub/restaurant who have definitely had it worse. 

The dry weather has allowed quick progress to be made on the new road where it was a welcome change from the wet conditions earlier in the year, which are particularly challenging in the clay soils at Wichelstowe. It has also allowed both the school and pub/restaurant lots of time to complete their weather proofing without any unwelcome rain.

There are however a few areas where the lack of rain is causing us some issues.

We have had to delay some of the planting works and have experienced more planting failures than we might have expected even with the additional watering that has taken place. We have also had to pause on the great crested newt clearance as it is too dry and the newts are not active. We got our hopes up in the middle of the month when a storm approached Swindon and were ready to send a photo to our ecologists Keystone with proof it had rained. We saw lots of reports of heavy rain in the town centre and even Old Town but in Wichelstowe whilst we heard the rumbles of thunder it remained bone dry.

The other area where the dry weather has affected our programme of works is the canal restoration. We have started to spray sections of the restored canal with water as well as pumping from the southern section in order to keep the banks damp and protect the clay. The works to the canal north of Foxham Way are now at the stage where we would like to start introducing some water back into the base of the canal so a bit of rain would be useful. 

When it does rain, water is fed into the canal from Waitrose and its car park.  As each new development parcel along the canal is completed it will be connected into the system increasing the water supply. Unfortunately the water all currently accumulates in the southern section, where we don’t yet want it, so the pumps were up and running again following the recent rainfall. 

Despite these issues, it won’t be long before our site boots are caked in mud again so we are making the most of this summer whilst we can.

July's time lapse film