Beck Sub-Committee Report
by John French
This past year has seen the culmination of the long-awaited Beck restoration!
Since the Report in the 2016 Newsletter, the following works have been carried out:
Subsequent to the removal of ivy, the churchyard wall adjoining the Beck has been carefully repaired.
Last July, on the cessation of the flow of water through the large pipes into the outfall manhole, these pipes were sealed by the main contractor.
This in turn then enabled the outstanding ground works and landscaping within the Beck to be completed. Although it had been envisaged that all this work would be done by a single contractor, the majority was carried out by Graham Hutton, together with Andrew Robinson and other members of the sub-committee. This was of great benefit to the project as careful attention could be devoted to the design of these important areas, especially the embankment against the eastern and southern boundary walls.
The banks were then grass-seeded with a standard mix, whilst those areas subject to intermittent water cover were seeded with a submergent, wild flower mix. Thanks to Andrew, the banks look especially well!
Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days
The Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days on 10th and 11th September 2016 attracted some 85 visitors to the Beck. They were welcomed by members of the sub-committee, together with representatives from the Environment Agency and the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project who explained the Beck’s history, its ecology and the importance of its restoration.
The railings and gates adjoining Soutergate have been repaired and painted, and modifications done to the outfall manhole.
The two dilapidated benches on Beck Hill have been replaced with ones matching those in the viewing area, and a litter bin has been installed.
The trees on Beck Hill, adjoining the Beck have been ‘crown-lifted’ to open the vista of St. Mary’s and the Beck. Seeding of the verge and trimming of the yews is imminent.
Plaques have been designed and fixed to the sponsored seating.
Text and images have been provided for an information board which is to be fitted near the viewing area.
The water level which had fluctuated around the perimeter of the central clay-lined area for many months, rose rapidly from the middle of February 2017 as the flow from the artesian springs and the old brick culvert began. It was only days before the Beck regained its historic appearance, and water poured over the outlet weir! At the end of March, the flow had reduced slightly.
During the second week of April, the activity of the artesian springs greatly reduced and the water level in the Beck dropped – almost as quickly as it had risen – to around the perimeter of the clay-lined pond. This fluctuation is inevitable – historically, the level of water has always been influenced by the artesian springs – and recognised in the overall Project design.
Re-growth of docks and rapid development of pond weed have presented us with a substantial problem. The docks have been repeatedly sprayed and will, no doubt, eventually succumb.
However, the pond-weed is proving more difficult to control and spoils the intended unobstructed image of the Beck, mirroring St. Mary’s Church.
Sacks of barley straw – kindly donated by a local farmer – have produced some alleviation, but blanket weed is now being dragged out, almost daily thanks to energetic volunteer, Cyril Pallister! An ecologist from North Lincolnshire Council has visited the Beck and offered some initial advice; he is to take water samples before giving further guidance.
Routine litter-picking is being carried out by Cyril and Wendy Pallister; we are most grateful they keep the area tidy!
- Even though the design of the Beck is intended to be of low maintenance, some on-going work is inevitable, such as:
- Litter-picking and leaf removal
- Sweeping of viewing area and lay-by
- Cleaning of seats
- Grass- cutting
- Removal of blanket weed
- Recording wildlife
- Making a photographic record
- Making suggestions for further improvements
Friends of the Beck
A ‘Friends of the Beck’ group is being formed and several people have already offered to help. Please, let Andrew Robinson or any member of the Beck Sub-Committee know if you might be interested.
The Beck Restoration Project has met with much heart-felt appreciation from residents and visitors to the town, including J.King who writes:
“To all at the Civic Society. Thank you very much for making Barton Beck into a fantastic pond. My friend and I who walk to it regularly get great pleasure in it …”J.King
Edward Dixon, a former resident of Barton emailed:
“My first childhood recollections were in Soutergate and of gazing out of my bedroom window in the evening at the Beck … I was moved to see the status quo re-established and the Beck looking in fine form again and the tangle of weeds removed … I am writing my memoirs having just retired and will be including the pics you have sent me …Edward Dixon
I left Barton in 1964 to join the Army and see the world. I am however reminded of the words of T.S. Eliot, ‘ to go forth and explore and at the end of our exploring to return where we first started and know the place for the first time!”
Clive from Brianplant, one of the Contractors on the Beck works, phoned on 7th April to say how well the Beck looked; it was the first time he’d seen it full of water.
“A credit to all involved,”Clive from Brianplant,
And national recognition from Civic Voice:
‘I am delighted to inform you that Restoration of Barton Beck has been shortlisted for a Civic Design Award 2017. Many congratulations! The judges decided to shortlist nationally only four projects in the Public Realm category, so you should be very proud that your nomination has got to this stage …’
Very many thanks to all those whose vision, continued support and sheer hard work has resurrected this important focal point – and achieved the ambition of the founder members of the Civic Society!