Vic Tucker, the long-serving reserve manager at South Milton Ley, has never been renowned for seeking advice before embarking on new projects. So much so that he is often referred to locally as “Thick Tucker”, (or something similar but even more offensive)! So much of the management has either been ill advised, unnecessary or poorly executed. The latest saga involved the installation of a bench midway along the northern side of the reedbed.
What’s the problem with that I can imagine you asking? Well firstly, before any new project commences, there ought to be consultation with the management team, establishment of a need, agreement on location and equally importantly availability of funds. None of these basic criteria were met in this case and the first I knew about the project was when I noticed my spade had disappeared from the end of Marsh Ride. I use this to clear turf which tends to grow over the boards as summer progresses. Up until Vic’s intervention, it had survived without incident for eleven years. I located the spade, with its handle snapped in half about 200m further down the Ley where it had clearly been used to build a mound of earth. To this day Vic has never acknowledged helping himself to the spade or breaking it!
In September 2022, almost a year later a bench appeared on the said mound of earth, funded retrospectively by a member of the local parish council. All well and good you might think but the location chosen could not have been worse. There is only one 200m long section out of the entire 2,500m of perimeter path in the reserve which regularly floods when water levels are high. What better place to locate a bench than in the middle of this flood zone? Just to compound the issue, why not stick the bench behind a clump of willows just to completely block the view down the reedbed?
The photo above shows the path upstream of the bench, where water levels were over the top of my wellies. The bench itself was sat on its earthen mount, now grassed over, and completely inaccessible from either direction. Another success story!