Digging some scrapes to treat hot tub water and boost wildlife

We’ve been digging some scrapes that will become mini reed beds – these will help us turn the eco lodge hot tub water to a wildlife advantage!

All this dry weather makes it a good time to get digging – without wrecking the grassland near the eco lodges. One new scrape in the lodge field will be shallow, will be designed to slow rather than hold water, and will be where we empty the hot tub water from Beech Lodge. We’ve been planting it with phragmites (common reed), which is great for wildlife including nesting birds and harvest mice, and which is also pollution tolerant. So it should be able to cope with any salts left in the water from the hot tub. We’re just doing the one small scrape here for now, as it’ll look a bit messy for a while. But we envisage a couple more here in due course.

Ian barrowing the reeds, ready to be transplanted.

Over in the field below Balebarn Lodge we’re doing a few more. This field already has the wildlife pond in it, but the far eastern end is fairly boring grass with plenty of nettles and thistles interspersed. Maggie is getting fed up with having to mow it to keep these under control. So instead, we’ll have scrapes. We anticipate these too will soon become reed beds, meaning we can afford to keep the reeds at the big wildlife pond a bit in check, without loosing their wildlife advantages. Meanwhile, lots of insects and even things like lizards and grass snakes like a bit of bare ground to bask – so the digging will be an asset from the start.

We can’t realistically pump the Balebarn Lodge hot tub water that far though – it’s quite a distance. So instead, hot tub water will drain on the western side of the field, into the scrape we dug a year or so ago. This already has some reeds, though the overhanging trees are slowing their growth – we might have to do some cutting back in winter 2018/19.