Michelle Salter writes:
New benches, made from recycled plastic bags, had been donated to the Pond, with two earmarked for use at Kenilworth Viewpoint. This is a beautiful spot, which offers a wonderful view of the pond before the footpath takes you off into woodland. We wanted to install the benches at the earliest opportunity, so visitors could enjoy them during the summer months, but lacked the manpower – until Fleet Lions came to our rescue.
Jim Storey, Lions President, rounded up the troops and soon had a team willing to give up their Sunday morning lie-in and take on the task. A few of us did a recce of the site a couple of days beforehand and found the Rangers had already dumped a large pile of gravel for our use and outlined the proposed path edge and position of the seats. As well as assembling and installing the benches, we discovered we also needed to raise the level of the ground around the seating area and of the path leading down to it, making it suitable for prams and wheelchairs.
This was going to be quite a task, so we roped in a few volunteers from our regular conservation volunteer work party to lend a hand.
Ten of us met up at the workshop on the morning of Sunday 19th April and loaded up the tractor with all the parts needed to assemble the benches. On site, there was much scratching of heads as we tried to figure out the instructions. The benches didn’t need anchors as they were already part of the assembly (there is a T-shape on the lower end of the legs that is sunk into the soil), but a very deep hole was needed to make them secure.
We divided into two teams, with one half figuring out where all the nuts and bolts went and the other half on hole-digging duties. Once the benches were sunk into the ground more gravel was needed to level the area around them and raise the height of the access path. After many trips in the tractor to and from the workshop to obtain more rubble, and much shovelling of gravel into and out of the trailer, we eventually managed to create an even surface. Some flattening out with the manual and motorised tampers was needed to smooth out the ground before we were finally able to stand back and admire our handy work.
It was gratifying to receive appreciative comments from visitors to the pond that day, many of whom took the time to stop and thank us for the work we were doing. We hope that many more visitors will now stop to rest their feet at the Kenilworth Viewpoint and enjoy the scenery.
Read further details in the Star Courier, dated Thursday 30th April 2009.
Photo credits: Before and After: Michelle Salter and Group Photo: Vicki Jull.