20 May 2020 ali

River Clearing #3

Taking advantage of the lovely weather yesterday, a group of boaters from the Roding moorings took the raft upstream on the tide to continue clearing obstructions to the river.
This time we had one of our tougher jobs. So far we have mostly been cutting back overhanging willow that’s easy to cut and grows back well. Up towards Ilford there is one of the largest and most magnificent trees on the Roding- a huge oak with foliage that spreads across the river. Unfortunately that foliage was blocking the passage of boats along the river, which left a bit of a conundrum. Although taking off the riverside branches would leave much of the tree intact, it would spoil the stunning shape of the tree.
In the end we opted for the least invasive solution of creating a ‘tunnel’ through the oak. By removing the lowest branches nearest to the tree (many of which were dead/dying anyway as naturally happens with the lower branches of oak trees), we created a navigable channel through the oak, whilst still allowing its foliage to stretch across the river to the other side. So the tree is left as unscathed as possible, and boats can now navigate that section of the river for the first time in 50 years.
We also tackled a few more willow trees and had another piled-high raft by the end of the day. There’s now only a few obstructions remaining along the river until we reach the legal limit of navigation at Ilford Bridge.